How to Increase Enrollment at a New Private School

How to Increase Enrollment at a New Private School

September 8, 2021
(Reading time: 7 - 14 minutes)

Are you struggling to increase enrolment in your private school? Many schools face this challenge, and it is not only about their enrolment. They face difficulties in their marketing efforts, too. 

Marketing struggles private schools deal with include: 

  • Low site traffic
  • Inability to increase public awareness
  • Disorganized accommodation of parent and student visits
  • Low engagement in social media

But you can do something to turn things in your favor. Start with a clear understanding of how students and parents choose schools. 

Study your target market. Are the core values of your school aligned with your audience? Do you express such values through various forms of outreach? Are your curriculum and activities relevant to the needs of your prospective students? 

Mentioning mobile EHR products, this is what Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book Market Research, had to say:

In advertising, not to be different is virtually suicidal.

Bill Bernbach

 

Also, hire a digital marketing agency. There are many enrolment strategies for private schools that marketing agencies use to help their clients with techniques, such as telling stories about graduates and alumni and offering services and values not seen elsewhere. 

A marketing agency can help with improving your website too. Professional website designers make websites easy to use, SEO-friendly, and rank high in Google searches. 

Work with a professional service to achieve your goals with these private school marketing strategies. 

Market Research 

Market research is crucial for understanding your target audience better. 

  • Who will go to your school and enroll? 
  • What is your ideal customer persona? 
  • What are their criteria for choosing a school? Distance from home? Curricular activities? Affordability of fees? Preparation for future employment? 

Knowing the needs of your audience allows you to target those needs better than your competition. Aside from identifying needs to target, market research also helps you gain valuable insights like age, income, gender, and location. That is the key to creating effective and tailored marketing and pricing campaigns. 

For all types of businesses, market research is the best way to understand customer demands, identify business opportunities, and outline a marketing plan. It is also the perfect strategy for minimizing losses and keeping track of and outmaneuvering the competition. 

Also, market research works for predicting changes in the market. The fall of Nokia and Blockbuster is attributed to their failure in their market prediction. As a result, these once-flourishing companies are nearly forgotten by consumers these days. 

Always stay relevant by not only anticipating change but by predicting change too. That is how effective your market research team should be. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing works because it uses techniques, such as target market analysis, which also works for market research. Social media marketing also allows schools to identify objectives in behavioral changes, tailor messages, and promote branding. 

One study published in 2018 explored the potential approaches to social media strategy development for schools. It found that: 

  • Utilizing social media is an effective tool to fulfill marketing, student engagement initiatives, and recruitment. 
  • Effectively utilizing social media is contingent on a developed strategy well-positioned for success. 
  • A sustainable social media strategy requires the ff. components:  
    • Establishing objectives
    • Identifying the target audience
    • Conducting channel analyses (which social media channel is more effective). 
    • Content strategy development
    • Planning of activities
    • Role identification (adequate and efficient staffing for social media)
    • Planning for budget and resources
    • Analysis of ongoing performance

Analysis of ongoing performance in social media and digital marketing for schools involves evaluation of actionable metrics, including: 

  • Engagement rates 
  • site traffic 
  • audience growth
  • post clicks
  • share of voice (gauges audience engagement compared to the competition)

Facebook 

Facebook allows reaching out to your target audience for a few dollars per day and offers unique benefits, such as user-friendly dashboards and advanced targeting. You can also use the platform starting with a marketing budget as low as $10 – $20. 

Use these strategies: 

Promote your school content to build your brand.

Create Facebook ads, but you need to focus on content because it is what people love, not sales ads.

There are many ways to do this, like blog posts from your website, engaging videos, informative articles, and broadcasting Facebook Live videos. Promote content that your followers enjoy. 

Capture leads.

Capture warm leads like those who “like” your content, visited your website, or “like” the content of your competitors. 

Get a positive ROI.

You can get results by targeting your “warm” Facebook traffic. These are people who already know your school and have received lots of value from you. 

Take advantage of the many platforms Facebook offers – Facebook Messenger, Audience Network, etc. 

Instagram 

Instagram is a photo-sharing app, which you can use to present the human side of your school business. Along with the photos you share, show details of special events, activities, contests, and Open Days. 

Here are ways to market on Instagram: 

  • Use a unique hashtag
  • Post challenges for parents and students
  • Market with influencers in your area of operation
  • Engage with your alumni
  • Post stories
  • Let students manage and promote
  • Use paid Instagram promotions

LinkedIn

With the LinkedIn platform, you can build a profile for your school and capture members of your alumni. The trick is to re-engage with these people and use them as influencers in their social circles. 

Start by clicking on the button marked University. Type the name of your school. Upon access to the page of your school, click on the button Students and Alumni. 

The feature allows users to filter the list. You can filter your alumni list based on: 

  • Type of connection
  • Skills they are good at
  • What they do
  • Where they work
  • Where they live

Twitter 

Twitter offers a massive reach for your campaign. In 2019, it recorded 81 million monthly users. Make sure you use Twitter to promote brand awareness and increasing your online presence

Twitter advertising is beneficial because: 

  • The platform is simple to use for your private school marketing. Since it has a maximum character count, make sure to catch attention using a short initial statement and provide a link afterward. Link your audience to your blog, website, or articles. 
  • Twitter also allows you to measure your reach based on the number of impressions and engagement with your posts. 
  • You can also establish loyalty via Twitter. Use this platform to interact with your potential customers directly. 
  • With Twitter, you have a place to build relationships with experts and influencers in the education niche. 

Pinterest 

Using Pinterest also gives many advantages for local businesses, so incorporate Pinterest to see if it can also help increase your enrolment.

According to Moz, Pinterest has a commanding base of users numbering to a monthly average of 150 million unique visitors, and has an enormous usage via mobile. 

Tactics for Pinterest marketing include: 

  • Pinning at least once a day
  • Pinning from many sources (pay attention to schools and individuals you want to notice your own school)
  • Creating well-targeted Pinterest boards (content segmenting works both for fans and ranking high in search engines)
  • Monitoring what people publish from your website (Pinterest publishes websites with at least one piece of content pinned)

Snapchat 

Snapchat is not inferior to other social media platforms, considering that it is one of the most effective channels for engaging with the younger demographics. 82% of Snapchat users are 34 years old or younger. 

Also, as of January 2020, daily users of the platform numbered 218 million. That means millions of Snaps are created and seen each day. 

Strategies for Snapchat marketing for private schools include: 

  • Geo-filtering – promote your school using your logo
  • Promote your Snapchat account to prospective students
  • Purchase ads that you can run alongside your content
  • Shine a spotlight on student life
  • Appoint students as online tour guides
  • Consider a Snapchat takeover – If you have a free offer or a new service to offer, you can invite a student to take over your account and host a live Q & A or a one-on-one interview. That can help grow your traffic and generate interest in your target audience.

Website Optimization

Optimize your website for SEO. Website optimization means helping your site visitors feel satisfied when accessing, browsing, and reading content on your website. An optimized website allows your visitors to accomplish tasks fast. 

Strategies for website optimization include: 

  • Keyword research – Consider the uniqueness of the language in your area. Make your website multi-language and use keywords unique to your niche. Some examples are "private secondary school near me” or "best private schools in (location).”
  • Generating long and value-rich content – Long-form content ranks high in Google because it allows offering high-value content and encourages visitors to spend more time on your site. 
  • Speeding up your pages – Fast loading pages help improve bounce rates. 
  • Getting quality backlinks – Linking to authority sites within your industry is favorable for driving traffic to your site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

With SEO strategies, you need to understand how Google ranks web pages. Although Google does not reveal its complete criteria in ranking websites, what we know for now is that it sends a team of robots to crawl, index, and link websites. 

The best technique here is to find ways to make Google understand the structure of your website fast. To do that, focus on: 

Content

Create informative and relevant content that can help increase engagement. The more time your audience engages with you through your site, the higher Google will rank your pages. 

Internal and external links

Internal linking is your way of encouraging your audience to browse from page to page within your site. Again, longer engagements translate to a higher ranking. 

External links, on the other hand, work for building authority. Use linking strategies that can help connect your site to authority sites like Wikipedia. Imagine if Wikipedia provides a link to your site to its readers. 

Always create valuable content that authority sites will use to provide more information to their own readers.

Speed

More and more users are accessing online information through mobile devices. Use specialized tools to increase the speed at which your pages load. 

Besides website linking, you can also distribute your links through various channels, such as Facebook ads, offline strategies (email, brochures, pamphlets, local billboards [both outdoor and in-store, etc.], and videos. 

Forums 

Participate in educational forums, particularly those that target local audiences. Academic discussions allow you to demonstrate your authority in the field. Attach links to informational pages that provide more school marketing tips and guidance. 

Guest Blogging

Use the technique of email outreaching. Look for authority sites targeting your local audience, and ask them for a chance to contribute your own ideas. 

It may need building relationships first before you can be allowed to contribute. Do your best to connect yourself and your business to these local influencers. 

Google Ads

Since Google is the primary search engine that people use, it is not unwise to put your resources on it and take advantage of all the marketing vehicles it offers. 

One of these is Google Ads, which is, like Facebook Ads, a pay-per-click advertising platform. Once you acquire this service, your ads will appear on: 

  • Google search results
  • Third-party websites

That, in a way, allows you to put your message right in front of your audience when they search for services and information using the Google engine or visiting websites such as Yahoo or YouTube. A banner ad will appear for users accessing third-party websites. 

Local SEO - Google My Business

Since your school business targets a local audience, it is only appropriate to give your efforts to localized digital marketing. Again, Google provides business owners another platform for that – Google My Business or the GMB platform. 

The best part about GMB is it is free. You are free to use this platform to generate local engagement and community relationships. Also, it is one of the best ways to display your school information, such as: 

  • School description
  • Hours of operation
  • Directions going to your location
  • Pictures of your school

GMB also allows users to have a call to action within their page on the platform. 

The GMB platform is connected to another Google service – Google Search and Maps. If a family is looking for “schools near me,” Google will find your school and show it to these searchers. 

As a local school owner, you will make sure that your GMB profile is accurate and up-to-date. 

Make sure the following are accurate: 

  • Business name
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Address
  • Category
  • Description

Update these details regularly: 

  • Working hours
  • Questions and Answers
  • Photos

Email Newsletters and Email Marketing

Emailing is not an outdated mode of marketing, and experts say it is still one of the most effective strategies in 2021 and beyond. That is because it offers tailored and personalized messaging that allows businesses to touch the pain points of their target audience. 

What are the pain points you must target in your email messaging? 

What is it about? 

  • Student security – Do parents look for highly-secured school vicinity? Then try to amplify that in your message, though you need to make sure you can provide proof for that. 
  • Student specialization – Are they particular with skills, such as sports, music, the arts, etc? Then provide testimonials relating to that. 
  • Student holistic development – You can outline the topics, subjects, and activities to show your holistic approach. 

Make sure that you study attention-catching subject lines to use in your emails. What kind of words can you use to generate interest right from the beginning of the email? 

Try using the following: 

  • Your search is over
  • Best for Your Child Is best for You
  • We’re Thinking of You

Word of Mouth

Nowadays, businesses can do the word-of-mouth strategy digitally. You can use influencers and current students to spread the word about how good your school is via social media platforms. 

Write fresh content and send it out as frequently as you can. Parents want to know how adept you are in educating their children and how willing you are to connect with them. Write about those in your content. 

In all, you need to generate a buzz for your school, where people talk about you, share things about you with other people, and recommend you on social sites and with their immediate friends and family. 

Word of mouth is influenced by positive (or negative) customer experience. You want consumers to talk about your brand. But for that to happen, have a genuine connection with them first. 

The voice of the customer matters a lot to your school. Be mindful that any negative feedback from them can obliterate the good things and services you have given so far.  

Giveaways

Market your school like the politicians market themselves. Especially if you are still introducing your school to people who have no idea that you exist, going out there is the best way to go. 

Distribute goods to families that need goods. Donate money for local projects (You might need to coordinate with local leaderships and businesses for this purpose.). 

Create free seminars that talk about generating a livelihood, personality development, or personal financial management. Anything beneficial to your audience is a vehicle for growing your school. 

Conclusion

No matter what type of business you are in, be it a small business or a private school, market research is the best way to understand consumer demands, identify business opportunities, and outline a marketing plan.

If you are still struggling to increase enrollment for your private school after reading this, I strongly suggest you consider hiring a digital marketing agency. An agency such as ourselves can help with improving your website and marketing to reach the parents and students you are looking for. Contact us for a free consultation!

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  September 8, 2021

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett