School Marketing
children wearing backpacks and running down a hallway

When it comes to school marketing strategies—whether it’s a private school, public charter school, or any other type of choice school—the goal is simple: increase student enrollment numbers. You want to ensure parents and students choose your education institution over others.

But in an age where people have more choices and information than ever, it can be challenging to make your school stand out. So, how can you increase your school’s appeal and, in turn, its enrollment?

Here are nine marketing strategies for schools that should be part of your enrollment plan:

kids standing in front of a chalkboard with their arms raised

1. Share Your Value Proposition

In any competitive market—and let’s face it, school choice is an incredibly competitive market these days—it’s crucial to communicate what sets your school apart from the rest. That’s your value proposition. This isn’t just a tagline or a couple of buzzwords; it’s a clear statement that answers the question, “Why should a student enroll here instead of somewhere else?”

Your value proposition should touch on unique programs, exceptional faculty, or perhaps a specialized curriculum that is not readily available at other schools. It could also relate to your school culture, community involvement, or any other aspect that adds unique value to the educational experience you offer.

Sharing your value proposition effectively isn’t just about plastering it on billboards or making it the headline on your homepage (although those can help). It should be the foundation of your school marketing campaign and woven into every piece of marketing you produce. Feature it in all your marketing channels—blog posts, newsletters, social media updates, and even in the testimonials you collect.

Don’t just tell prospective families and students about your value proposition; show them. Use success stories, awards, and other tangible evidence to back up your claims. This adds layers of credibility and makes your value proposition more than just words—it makes it a promise that you have proven you can deliver on.

2. Build a Strong Online Presence

A strong online presence is more than just a modern-day business card; it’s the gateway to your school’s brand. In an era where the majority of people turn to the internet for information, having an effective, user-friendly website and active social media channels can be the deciding factor for prospective families evaluating their options.

A well-crafted online experience serves as a powerful tool for both attracting new families and keeping current ones engaged, making it an integral part of your online marketing strategy.

Provide a User-Friendly and Mobile-Optimized Website Experience

Your website is essentially your school’s online headquarters. It’s often the first place parents and students will go to learn about what you offer. You want to make sure the online experience they have is a positive one, or you risk losing them to another school that does it better. Your website should be more than a beautiful design; it should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and quick to load.

Make sure it’s optimized for a positive mobile experience as well. With so many people using smartphones to access information, a mobile-friendly design is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a must. From the homepage to the contact form, every element should be accessible and look good on a small screen. And make sure your content is up-to-date, clear, and provides compelling information about your programs, staff, and facilities.

Strong SEO Presence (Search Engine Presence)

Visibility is key when it comes to online marketing for schools. You want your school to show up in search results when parents start Googling options for their children. That’s where a robust search engine strategy comes into play.

Organic SEO

Start by optimizing your website content for search engines. This involves using keywords that potential students are parents are likely to search for, but don’t just stuff them in there. The content should be readable and offer value. A blog section on educational tips or student success stories can provide useful content that also happens to be rich in keywords. Make sure you also optimize meta descriptions and headers. It’s details like these that can help your website rank higher in organic search results.

Paid SEO

While organic search engine optimization is more of a long-term investment, paid SEO offers quicker results. Platforms like Google Ads allow you to place bids on specific keywords, so your site shows up at the top of search results as a sponsored link. When done well, this can provide immediate visibility and bring in targeted traffic.

3. Leverage Parent Testimonials

When it comes to making important decisions like choosing a school, word of mouth remains a powerful tool when it comes to actual conversion rates. Testimonials act as personal recommendations, providing social proof that your school delivers on its promises.

Start by reaching out to your satisfied school community—parents who are happy with the education their kids are getting or students who have had memorable experiences they’d like to share. Make it easy for them to provide testimonials, whether through a simple online form or via quick interviews.

Then, leverage these testimonials in your school marketing efforts. Make them prominent on your website—consider a rotating testimonial section on the homepage. You can include them in your printed brochures and direct mail pieces. Video content can also be a part of a larger marketing campaign, shared across social media platforms and included in email blasts.

4. Host Open Houses and School Tours

When it comes to choosing a school, sometimes seeing is believing. Open houses and school tours offer prospective families a first-hand look at your campus, providing a more tangible experience than any brochure or website could offer. These events are an opportunity to showcase not just your school’s physical features, but also its vibe, its values, and its people.

Try to schedule open houses or tours during times when parents are most available—perhaps on weekends or during evening hours. Make sure the campus is clean, well-organized, and equipped with signage directing families to key locations like the gym, library, or science labs. Prep your staff and faculty to be on hand to interact with visitors and answer questions.

Use Parent and Student Ambassadors

Consider having current parents and students serve as ambassadors during these events. Who better to share insights about the school community than those who are part of it? They can provide genuine testimonials and answer prospective students’ questions from a non-administrative perspective, which can be incredibly valuable to potential families.

5. Use Targeted Advertising

In the age of online marketing, generic advertising campaigns that aim to reach everyone can often end up reaching no one effectively. The beauty of digital marketing campaigns is the ability to hone in on the specific groups you want to reach. Whether it’s parents of high school students or families new to your area, targeted advertising ensures that your message gets in front of the eyes that matter most.

Facebook and Google Ads

Platforms like Facebook and Google Ads are great tools for this kind of targeted outreach because they have vast amounts of data and advanced algorithms that help you pinpoint your audience with incredible accuracy.

Social media ads allow for very nuanced demographic targeting—you can aim your ads at parents who are of a particular age range, have children in specific age groups, or even those who have shown an interest in a wide range of topics related to education. Google Ads, on the other hand, lets you target keywords that prospective parents might be using to search for schools, offering an excellent way to get seen at the moment people are actively looking.

Geographic Targeting

One of the most effective features of digital advertising is the ability to target specific geographic locations. If your school serves a particular city or region, geo-targeting ensures that your ads only appear to people in those areas. Especially in the education sectors, this is an excellent way to focus your advertising spend on audiences most likely to convert, rather than casting a wide net and hoping for the best. Including geographic targeting into your digital marketing strategy can be a game changer.

6. Engage in Content Marketing

Content marketing is a way to provide real value that can elevate your school’s reputation and build trust within your community. Essentially, you’re offering useful information that addresses the concerns, questions, or interests of your prospective students and parents. This not only establishes your school as an authority in the educational field but also serves to keep your existing and potential school community engaged over the long term.

Incorporate Blogging Into Your Marketing Plans

A blog is one of the most straightforward platforms for your content marketing efforts. Blog posts allow you to dive into educational content in a way that’s both informative and relatable. Whether you’re discussing new educational trends that your school is adopting or offering parenting tips for homework success, the key is to produce high-quality blog content that resonates with prospective parents, students, and even your broader school community.

7. Send Regular Newsletters

Newsletters might seem like an old-school communication strategy, but email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to maintain ongoing communication with your community. While much of the focus in school marketing tends to be on attracting new families, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of retaining current families as part of your marketing goals. After all, a satisfied family is more likely to spread the word and contribute to a positive school culture, which can be just as impactful for enrollment numbers as bringing in new students.

Your newsletters should cater to two main groups: prospective families and current families. For prospective families, the newsletter can serve as a monthly reminder of your school’s offerings, keeping you top of mind during their decision-making process. For current families, regular updates help them feel connected and engaged with the school community, which is key for retention.

Bonus tip: Make sure you send paper copies of your newsletter home with students, too. Even in today's world where digital interactions are the norm, offline communications are important, too!

8. Implement a Referral Program

While digital marketing and traditional advertising strategies have their place, sometimes the most persuasive message comes from someone you trust. That’s where a referral program comes into play. By encouraging current families to become ambassadors for your school, you’re not only amplifying your reach but also lending an authentic voice to your marketing initatives.

Think about it—when current families are raving about your school to their friends, relatives, and neighbors, they’re offering something that even the most effective marketing strategies can’t: genuine, personal endorsement. Trust plays a huge role when parents are choosing a school for their children, and recommendations from people they know carry significant weight.

9. Measure and Adapt

The work doesn’t stop once your marketing strategies are in place. The landscape is always changing—marketing material that worked yesterday might not be as effective tomorrow. That’s why it’s essential to keep a close eye on metrics to evaluate the impact of your initiatives. Monitoring and analyzing these numbers offer insights into what’s resonating with your audience and what needs tweaking.

Set quantifiable goals and use analytics tools to measure key performance indicators like website traffic, engagement with your social media accounts, and enrollment rates. Google Analytics, for example, can help you understand user behavior on your website, while social media platforms offer their own analytics to measure post reach, likes, and shares.

Set aside time every quarter to review your marketing performance. Look for patterns or trends in your marketing funnels that could offer actionable insights. Did a certain blog post attract a lot of attention? Maybe it’s time to explore that topic further. Did your open house attract fewer families this year? Dig into the data to find out why and adapt accordingly.

The ability to adapt is crucial. Market dynamics, educational trends, and even societal attitudes toward schooling can shift. Being flexible and ready to pivot your strategies accordingly can set you apart from institutions that are slower to adapt.

Ready to Level Up Your School Marketing Initiatives?

A great school marketing strategy is more than just a checklist—it’s about fostering a culture of continuous improvement and understanding the needs and interests of your audience. If you’re serious about boosting enrollment and building a thriving school community, the time to act is now. Dive into your data, engage with your community, and don’t be afraid to shake things up.

Need help getting started? Schedule a consultation with Rise Marketing Solutions today. We’re more than just a marketing agency to outsource tasks to. We’re experts in the education industry; ready to become part of your marketing team and help you accomplish your mission of serving more students with a high-quality education.

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School Marketing