16 Strategies to Boost Lutheran School Enrollment

16 Strategies to Boost Lutheran School Enrollment

June 20, 2022
(Reading time: 6 - 12 minutes)

Are you struggling to increase your private Lutheran school’s enrollment? Are you worried about increasing your enrollment now that things are starting to open back up? If you aren’t alone, many private schools are in the same situation. The problem isn’t the aftermath of the pandemic or low enrollment. To be honest, it is more than likely your marketing efforts are inefficient.

Here are sixteen strategies to boost your Lutheran school’s enrollment:

1. Develop and Share Your LCMS School’s Brand

The brand of an LCMS private school is much more than a logo and a mascot. It is what distinguishes you from the educational offerings. It also communicates to parents and students what this school is all about.

When trying to increase your Lutheran Private School Enrollment, you need to define what you offer and communicate them openly. If you provide financial assistance, unique classes, STEM, STEAM, reputable organizations, sports teams, or other benefits, now is the opportunity to tell prospective families about it. It can pique parents’ interest who are searching for the best LCMS schools in their area.

2. Provide Strong Leadership

With the appropriate leadership, a Lutheran private school can thrive. Look for staff and teachers whose vision is personal and visionary—people who are dedicated to providing a pleasant education experience.

When your Lutheran private school is regarded as the best private school in your area due to your leadership, you may expect increased interest and enrollment. Parents always want the best for their children, and your leadership can influence their decision.

3. Set Enrollment Goals

A crucial part of your Lutheran Church Missouri Synod private school marketing plan is to set your enrollment goals. This will allow you to stay focused and maintain momentum. When you’ve accomplished your goals, you’ll have cause to celebrate.

Enrollment goals might help you move from where you are to where you want to go. They allow you to determine what you want and how you’ll get it. Concentrate on your goal and be open to LCMS private school marketing methods to help you achieve them.

4. Research your market

Every LCMS private school needs market research, which is an essential component of building a marketing plan. Market research is a time-consuming activity to do. But it will give you the data on the needs and priorities of your target families. 

Market research can also give you pertinent data that you can use to segment your market. After data analysis, you will now have a particular segment to focus on your marketing resources.

Also, the data you will collect can help your team to create personalized messaging. 

For gathering data, you will conduct surveys and interviews, check activities on your website, and jot down demographics of people that showed interest in your Lutheran school, such as: 

  • Website visitors’ locations
  • Age and gender
  • Socio-economic status
  • Employment of parents/guardians
  • Social affiliations
  • Ethnicity

Some questions to ask your research respondents include: 

  • Have you heard of (our school)?
  • Would you recommend (our school) to associates or other parents?
  • What is the best thing you have heard about (our school)?
  • What is the worst thing you have heard about (our school)? 
  • If (our school) is not available, which school would you be interested in and why? (to gauge customer priorities and market competition)

With market research, you can identify problem areas in your school operations. With a better understanding of areas of vulnerability, you have an opportunity to improve your weak points to build a more solid reputation. 

Keep in mind that market research does not only give you numbers. It helps unravel market sentiments and behaviors, which, in turn, help in creating personalized messages, identifying the choice of ads your audience prefers to see, building the kind of engagement students and parents would want to experience with schools, etc. 

5. Utilize Word of Mouth for Private School Marketing

As a private Lutheran school, you are most likely targeting a local audience in the community. Word of mouth marketing can still be an effective strategy. By leveraging the power of word of mouth, both students and parents can recommend your school to their family and friends.

Word of mouth can significantly influence up to 50% of local businesses and abroad purchase choices. This is also no different for your Lutheran school; because of the power of word-of-mouth marketing and the importance of local marketing to your area, you should give this technique some serious consideration and allocate significant resources to it.

6. Follow-up With Enrolled and Interested Families

Current families enrolled in your LCMS preschool or other grads should be the first to be offered enrolment for the following year. By recruiting the same students, you can continue to fill seats. 

Having a limited number of seats available to new applicants can make your school more desirable. Nancy Kalina Gomez, Clinical Psychologist at CouchIssues, says, “People usually value something more if it is more difficult to acquire.” She says, “In marketing, the scarcity principle is used to trigger this feeling of hunger and the fear of missing out (FOMO).” Therefore you can use this to your school’s advantage.

When parents express interest via the contact form on your website, you should follow up quickly through a comment or DM on social media, phone, or in-person. They will see you as a professional and appreciate your ability to communicate quickly and effectively. Just be sure to use the FOMO to communicate the limited availability of seats you have for the coming school year.

7. Use Automated Emails

The past few academic years have been the hardest ever for administrators, teachers, students, and parents alike. Many school professionals are still dealing with significant burnout. Email workflows are a wonderful place to start if you want to improve your email marketing approach while saving time. 

Automated emails are also referred to as “email drip campaigns” or “email workflows” and should be considered part of a school’s content marketing strategy. These automated emails are automatically sent based on a subscriber’s contact information, preference, or behavior. For example, an automated email workflow can be triggered by a contact submitting an inquiry form, but it can also be initiated by a student’s enrollment year or the parent’s persona.

8. Maintain School Website with Resources

Every business and school seems to have a website. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to build and maintain it. Now there are many DIY website builders out, you can hire one of your students who has an interest in web design, or you can hire an expert who specializes in K-12 Private School Marketing and Websites to make it for you.

When developing and managing a website, it is critical to have lots of online resources and update it regularly. A parent may be discouraged from enrolling their child if links and pages are broken, or the site isn’t mobile-friendly. You can enhance enrollment by making applications and information available online.

9. Consider Redesigning Your Website

There is plenty of research across numerous industries that proves that a poorly designed website can be the weak point of Lutheran private schools. A bad website experience, especially for mobile users, can kill your school’s reputation and lead to poor engagement, site traffic, etc. 

Consider these stats:

Here are a few reasons you might still want to consider redesigning your LCMS schools website or at least giving it a good update:

  • The website is three years old or more
  • The website is not mobile-friendly or responsive
  • The website “looks old” in comparison to other schools
  • It’s difficult to navigate
  • It isn’t ADA-compliant
  • It’s difficult to update

10. Optimize Your Website for SEO

Check on Google how your website performs in search results. For instance, type in the Google search box the keyword “North Carolina private school” or “Lutheran Private School North Carolina,” assuming your school is in North Carolina state. 

Do you see your school’s website or pages in the search results? How does it rank? Your pages should at least be on the first page of the search results. 

If not, check performance using other keywords. For instance, include the word “Charlotte” if you operate in that city. If you still don’t appear on top of search results, you might want to consider working on your SEO. That means you optimize your website for ranking on Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

11. Use Google Ads to Drive Search Traffic

Using Google Ads, you can create optimized campaigns that drive high-quality and relevant traffic to your LCMS school website. Google Ads: Search and Display

Google Ads are split into two enormous networks, Search and Display.

Google Search Network

There is a significant chance that most families are using Google to look for private schools near them. There may be a chance that they see a search ad from the Google Search Network (GSN). These search ads are the text ads usually seen at the top, bottom, or both of the search results page (SERPs) above and below the organic listings. These ads look similar to organic search listings except for the tag "AD," which is to help differentiate them from organic listings. Fortunately or unfortunately, WebFX says that "50% of users can’t tell the difference between a paid ad and an organic listing."

Google Display Network

To understand what the Google Display Network (GDN) is, indulge me with a brief history of how we got here. In 2007-2008 Google bought DoubleClick, which was the largest display ad network in the world. They paid $3.1 billion for it. In Q1 of 2021, their total revenue from Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) was $44.7 billion! I care to bet that a small fraction of that is contributed to the GDN.

With the GDN, your private school can advertise on more than two million websites. Including sites such as Oprah.com and ESPN.com. You can even advertise down to niche websites, forums, and the smallest blogs.

12. Google Business Profile

Because your LCMS school wants to reach out to potential students in your area, it's good to focus on localized digital marketing. Google has the right platform for that, Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business or GMB.

13. Communicate Through Email Newsletters

You can use email newsletters to communicate with your current families and target ones. The idea is to keep in touch while updating your information on school events and developments. 

Here are five of the most popular email marketing service software as a service (SAS) platforms in no particular order:

  1. HubSpot
  2. ConvertKit
  3. AWeber
  4. GetResponse
  5. MailChimp

See ten of the best email marketing platforms here.

14. Social Media

Social media engagement such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms you can use to increase your branding. You can also use these platforms to improve your parent engagement by choosing the best social media platform for where they are at.

Marketing for Lutheran private schools means you need to be helping families find your school as they start searching for institutions that give the best academic services like what you provide.

15. Spend More Time and Money on Video

Incorporate video into your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns to get the most out of this compelling content.

If you're already short on time and resources, there’s some good news! It’s never been simpler to make a video, and after a year of communicating via low-resolution video, no one expects Hollywood-level quality.

Consider the following if you want to include more videos into your school marketing plan this year:

  • Start small and upload one new video on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram each week.
  • Create a list of video ideas such as tips from teachers, testimonials, and interviews to make fun and engaging videos.
  • Enlist the help of students as they are great resources for creating video content.

Bonus: Hire a Professional

Hiring a professional digital marketing service for your Lutheran Church Missouri Synod private school can help you get on the right track and stay on it. When you’re unsure how to do something, you should leave it to an expert. This will ensure your marketing is done correctly and get you a good ROI.

It’s Time to Educate Parents About Your School

Now that you've learned these 16 strategies for increasing private school enrollment, it's time to begin your LCMS private school marketing plan. Parents need to know what you can offer and why they should choose your school over other educational options. 

I am here to help you improve your website and marketing campaigns so you can get your message to your target students and parents. Contact me today for a free consultation!

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  June 20, 2022

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