How to Market Your School Part 1—The Fundamentals of Marketing

Tips on how to market your school

Abeka Front Office provides free resources on how to market and manage your school. You might be lacking the time, budget, or marketing knowledge needed to get started. Today, we are walking you through basic marketing concepts. This is a three-part series on how to market your school. 

You don’t have to know it all, just where to find the information. This three-part series will give you all the information you need to master your school’s marketing strategy and increase enrollment. 

Abeka provides free marketing materials on Front Office that can be customized for your school, complete with your own logo. We have everything from email templates, newsletter ads, printed mailers, printed ads, social media posts, to videos. Request materials for your school.

Fundamentals of Marketing

Marketing boils down to getting the right message to the right people at the right time.

Right Message 

Your message explains what is unique about your school. What do you do that no other school in your area does? What is your school’s differential advantage? You might have strong academics, an amazing sports team, or a low student-to-teacher ratio. Figure out what makes your school appealing and tell people about it. 

Take the time to communicate the value of your school with your students’ parents. It may benefit you to conduct anonymous surveys at your school. This data will tell you what really sets your school apart. Once you understand your school’s differential advantages, you can deliver the right message to the right people. 

Right People 

The right people consist of several different demographics. The first key individual is the decision maker. Who makes the decision about a child’s enrollment? Who answers the phone when the teacher calls? 

Look at your current students and pick out who’s coming to the office and filling out enrollment paperwork. Often, the key decision maker is the mom, typically between the ages of 25 and 40. However, demographics differ in each community. 

Pensacola, Florida, has a large military community. Often, military families enroll their children in private school. You would target this group of people a little differently. Let them know that your school has an easy transition process and a welcoming environment. 

If your community has larger families, you will want to let them know about multiple student discounts. Each demographic cares about different things. It’s up to you as the school marketer to figure out what matters to your people. 

With demographics, you have to think about where the student is at. If you are a preschool, you are welcoming students who have never attended school before. This group of people needs to be reached earlier with more information. The same tactic would not apply to a high school. It’s all about reaching the right people with the right message at the right time. 

Right Time 

A lot of schools start the re-enrollment process for current students in February. As the spring months approach, messaging is targeted towards new students. It’s important to understand what that timing is for your school. Based on where you live, it will vary.

Look around and take advantage of what’s going on in your community. For military families, how are you reaching them during a busy time when they’re moving to a new town? 

Or, there could be a new company setting up shop in town. They’ll bring a lot of new employees to your community along with new housing developments. How is your school going to target the new people moving to your area? This can be accomplished by using the right channels. 

Communication Channels 

Email 

Email is a crucial communication channel for marketing your school. We recommend putting a lot of time into creating an email platform and email strategy. It’s important for admission follow-ups, regular communication with parents, and a reliable flow of information. 

Email is a reliable form of communication that can house a lot of information. If someone requests information on your website about the admission process, there should be an automated email that provides them with the next steps. Have someone proofread your emails and content before they are sent or published. 

Email is key for regular communication with your students’ parents. You could have a great school with wonderful teachers and programs. But, if you aren’t communicating regularly with your parents, they’re going to enroll their children elsewhere. 

It’s easier to keep current customers than find new customers. The same concept applies to students enrolled in your school. Communication is a great way to keep your students and parents happy. You need to communicate with your school’s parents so they can set expectations for their children. 

With COVID-19, communication has become more important than ever before. Email has proven to be a reliable and private vehicle to let parents know their students are safe. The contents of emails and social media posts vary. You wouldn’t want to blast private information in a social media post to the whole community. That’s the beauty of emails. Abeka Front Office has several free email resources

Website 

Your school’s website is one of the most important marketing tools. Often, parents are researching schools at night. You might not be available 24/7, but your website is always there. 

Be intentional about the content that lives on your website. This is your school’s main information hub and marketing tool. A website communicates what’s going on at your school. Your website should have an about page detailing your school’s history, what you believe, your philosophy. Create pages for your school’s academics, curriculum, sports, calendar of events, and tuition. 

It’s important to attract new families and market to current families with your website. If you have a learning management system (LMS), your website could be the portal into your LMS. An LMS allows families to view more information about your school and student grades. 

Your website is where you should spend the most time and money. Prioritize making your website easy to find and use. Ensure your school is listed on Google as a business including hours of operation and a short bio. This is a free resource. 

There are several resources online that allow you to create a website with a user-friendly template. Some platforms include Shopify, WordPress, or Wix. It’s important to get started with a simple, functional website. You can add additional bells and whistles as you advance. 

Before creating a website, make a two-to-five-year plan. Set attainable goals for your website. There are blogs on marketing, marketing your school, and marketing for education. Check these out as you achieve your goals. 

Search the web for free resources to gain marketing knowledge and the latest news on an ever-changing industry. The options are endless. We like HubSpot, Google Academy, LinkedIn Learning, Facebook’s learning platform, YouTube videos from marketing experts, and the “Marketing School” podcast. 

We live in a digital world. Your website serves as a landing page for your social media accounts, ads, and emails. All marketing information for your school should direct back to your website. Thus, it’s important to keep your website up to date. 

Social Media 

It’s important for your school to have social media. Don’t be intimidated; social media is user-friendly and geared towards people with zero experience. 

Social media is a great way to reach new audiences and collect data for future students. If your goal is to reach the decision makers in students’ households, often women 25-40, you can run ads for your school and target that specific demographic. 

You can target ads in a specific area. If a new housing development with young families opens, you can enter a zip code or draw a circle around the area you want to target. With people staying in during COVID-19 and skipping events, social media provides a huge opportunity. 

Social media is a place to distribute memorable and shareable content. When you share memories on social media, families will re-share the post with others. It gives your school a positive outlook and builds trust with those families.

Your students participate in activities at school that their parents don’t get to be a part of. Parents like to see what their children are doing. Viewing these posts makes parents feel like they are part of what’s happening at school. 

Have you ever asked your children how their day went, only to be met with a blank response? Parents can ask their children about different activities because they saw a photo of it. 

Social media profiles can be set up for free. We recommend asking a few different people in your school to take photos for social media. Social media builds community, which is what people are looking for these days. As a school, you should seek to provide opportunities for students and parents to connect. 

Front Office has a few social media resources available, including customizable Facebook covers and optimized social media posts. Abeka Front Office also provides free resources to help you manage and market your school, including live webinars and events. Check out all the resources available to you and request materials for your school today. 

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