How to Increase Student Enrollment at Private Schools

How to Increase Student Enrollment at Private Schools

November 27, 2023
(Reading time: 5 - 9 minutes)

As administrators, staying ahead of where parents are searching for private schools like yours is critical for putting your admissions efforts in the right place at the right time. With most of today's parents leveraging online resources in their children's school selection process, making sure your private school stands out digitally is no longer optional - it's a must.

While you might see this as a hindrance, it grants your admissions and enrollment teams a pivotal opportunity to capture parent attention. By conducting metrics analysis to zero in on parent personas and trends within your school's applicant funnel, you can gain data-driven insights to craft targeted outreach campaigns that speak to precisely what incoming parents are looking for as they evaluate school options for their children.

Equipped with these insights around personalized messaging, your coordinators can tailor digital touchpoints to showcase your school's strengths with relevance to parent priorities - ultimately driving more enrollment conversions. This post breaks down key enrollment drivers and practical growth tactics.

The Private School Enrollment Challenges

Private schools have historically boasted small classes, high-quality academics, and exceptional college placement. But tuition fees often deter middle and low-income families. Compounding this, the pandemic exacerbated birthrate declines and budget cuts. As alternatives like charters emerge, private schools must prioritize branding, outreach, and value communication to attract more students.

Unveiling Your School's Uniqueness:
The Power of Knowing and Sharing Your Unique Value Proposition

In the fiercely competitive landscape of private education, understanding and effectively communicating your school's unique value proposition (UVP) is pivotal for attracting and retaining students. Your UVP is the distinct set of qualities and advantages that sets your institution apart from others. Here's how you can harness the power of your school's uniqueness:

  • Identify Differentiators: Conduct an audit to pinpoint specialized programs, teaching approaches, facilities, and other qualities that make your school exceptional. Gather input from students, parents, faculty, etc., to ensure a well-rounded perspective.
  • Articulate a Concise UVP: Synthesize findings into a crisp, meaningful UVP statement that spotlights your strengths and resonating benefits for students.
  • Optimized Website: Ensure your school website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines. This serves as the virtual front door to your institution and is often the first point of contact for potential families.
  • Engaging Content: Regularly update your website with informative and engaging content. Highlight academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and unique offerings. Blog posts, videos, and photo galleries can showcase the vibrant life within your school.
  • Utilize Multiple Channels: Spread your UVP across various communication channels, including your school website, social media, and marketing materials. Consistency is crucial for reinforcing your message.
  • Tell Compelling Stories: Share success stories that embody your UVP. This could include achievements of current students, unique projects, or testimonials from satisfied parents. Authentic narratives resonate with prospective families.
  • Gather Feedback Continuously: Regularly seek feedback from enrolled families and analyze their experiences. This ongoing dialogue helps refine your UVP based on real-world insights.
  • Keyword Strategy: Implement a strategic approach to keywords relevant to your school's private education initiatives and goals. This ensures your school ranks higher in search engine results, increasing visibility to potential enrollees.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth: A Guide to Effective Marketing for Private Schools

In the realm of private school enrollment, word-of-mouth marketing has always been and remains a potent and authentic strategy. Harnessing positive testimonials and encouraging organic conversations can significantly impact the decision-making process for prospective students and their families. Here's how private schools can leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing:

  • Exceptional Education and Services: This forms the bedrock for positive word-of-mouth, from stellar academics to caring staff and engaging activities outside the classroom, ensuring these fundamental pillars raise the chances of organic recommendations.
  • Personalized Approach: Taking custom learning styles into account makes students feel valued. Tailoring teaching methods and academic plans to individual needs and strengths leads to deeper engagement. This personalized attention ties directly into happy student experiences and the school's advocacy. 
  • Request and Showcase Testimonials: Actively seek current students, parents, and alumni feedback. Display these testimonials on your website, marketing materials, and social media platforms to build credibility.
  • Video Testimonials: Enhance the impact by creating video testimonials. Visual content is compelling and allows for a more emotional connection, making it a powerful tool for conveying positive experiences.
  • Parent Ambassadors: Identify and empower parent ambassadors who can share their positive experiences within their social circles. These ambassadors can serve as authentic advocates for your school.
  • Community Events: Host events that foster a sense of community among students, parents, and faculty. Positive interactions at these events create memorable experiences that lead to positive word-of-mouth.
  • Encourage Online Reviews: Prompt satisfied parents and students to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and other relevant review sites. Positive online reviews enhance your school's reputation and visibility.
  • Social Media Advocacy: Activate your school community on social media. Encourage the sharing of positive experiences, achievements, and noteworthy events. User-generated content is a powerful form of endorsement.
  • Acknowledging Advocates: Recognize and appreciate individuals who actively promote your school. This acknowledgment can be through newsletters, social media shoutouts, or special events.
  • Referral Programs: Implement referral programs that incentivize current students and parents to refer others. This encourages word-of-mouth marketing and rewards those who contribute to the school's growth.

Capitalizing on Social Media: A Strategic Guide for Private Schools

Social media presents a vital opportunity for private schools to engage prospective families, highlight offerings, and build community. By taking a strategic approach, institutions can maximize enrollment growth:

  • Conduct Audience Research: Identify which social media platforms your target demographics are most active on. Tailor content accordingly - visuals for Instagram, longer text for Facebook, etc.
  • Showcase Student Experiences Visually: Use rich photos, videos, and photo galleries to spotlight student life, activities, and achievements.
  • Targeted Ad Campaigns: Invest in targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Utilize parent personas to reach specific age groups, locations, and interests.
  • Leverage Unique Aspects: Craft content around specialized programs, state-of-the-art facilities, renowned faculty, and other differentiators.
  • Ensure Visual Consistency: Maintain the same logo, colors, and imagery across platforms to reinforce branding. Review for alignment.
  • Unified Messaging: Ensure all captions and text-align with your defined unique value proposition and strengths.
  • Foster Interaction: Use polls, contests, and questions to encourage comments and shares. Respond to messages promptly.
  • Provide Value: Share advice, insights, and multimedia content that provides value for parents and students.
  • Track Performance: Utilize free analytics tools to gauge content resonance and campaign effectiveness. Refine accordingly.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media Advertising for Private School Enrollment

For student recruitment, social media advertising is a dynamic and effective strategy for private schools aiming to boost enrollment. These platforms offer unparalleled opportunities to connect with prospective students and parents, showcase the unique offerings of your institution, and foster engagement. Here's a detailed exploration of how private schools can strategically utilize social media for advertising:

  • Target Audience Analysis: Use your parent personas to help identify the demographics of your target audience and choose platforms accordingly. For parents, platforms like Facebook may be impactful, while platforms like Instagram and TikTok might resonate with prospective students or younger parents.
  • Visual Storytelling on Visual Platforms: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest thrive on visual content. Utilize these channels to visually narrate your school's story, showcasing campus life, events, and student achievements.
  • Showcasing Uniqueness: Use social media as a canvas to highlight the distinctive features that set your school apart. Whether it's specialized programs, renowned faculty, or exceptional facilities, showcase them through compelling content.
  • Multimedia Variety: Diversify your content with a mix of images, videos, and infographics. Engaging multimedia content captures attention and encourages sharing, extending your reach within social networks.
  • Visual Consistency: Maintain a consistent visual identity across all social media channels. This includes using the same colors, logo, and tone. Consistency reinforces your school's brand and fosters recognition.
  • Unified Messaging: Ensure that your messaging aligns with your unique value proposition. Consistent messaging builds a coherent narrative, reinforcing the key aspects that make your school stand out.
  • Targeted Ad Campaigns: Invest in targeted advertising campaigns, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Leverage the powerful demographic targeting options to reach specific audiences based on age, location, and interests.
  • Promoting Events: Use paid advertising to promote key events such as open houses, campus tours, and information sessions. These campaigns can significantly boost attendance and engagement.
  • Interactive Strategies: Encourage interaction through polls, quizzes, and contests. Interactive content fosters a sense of community and engagement among your social media followers.
  • Active Response: Actively respond to comments and messages. Engaging with your audience on social media builds a sense of connection and demonstrates your commitment to communication.
  • Analytics Tools: Utilize analytics tools provided by social media platforms to track the performance of your campaigns. Understand what resonates with your audience and optimize your strategy accordingly.
  • Experimentation: Engage in A/B testing by experimenting with different types of content and posting schedules. This iterative approach allows you to refine your social media strategy based on real-time insights.

Private Schooling: The Trusted Choice for Quality Education

Despite today's challenges, private schools offer unmatched academic quality, small classes, and university placement. By showcasing their strengths creatively across digital and real-life touchpoints, private schools can boost enrollment and deliver on their promise to students. The abovementioned marketing strategies drive interest, engagement, conversions, and retention. Their effective orchestration can help position private schools for sustainable growth.

If you need help increasing the number of students in your school, contact me today. I want to help you and your private school grow!

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  November 27, 2023

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

See Chad Treadway's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/chad-treadway