Private School Marketing for Principals and Program Directors

07 Jun 2017

Increase Your Private School Enrollment

Declining private school enrollment numbers continue to pose a problem for Principals and Program Directors. Statistics show that in 2013-14 approximately 5.4 million students were enrolled in private schools. At the time, this was approximately 10% of all elementary and secondary school students. 

This was a 2% decrease from 1995-96 when enrollment was approximately at 12%, and as of March 2017 it is projected that by 2025-26 this decrease in enrollment will continue to 9%.

What has changed?

The world has changed. The digital age has swept through and has changed how people find and research education possibilities for their children. Traditional marketing tactics like radio and television ads are not as effective because today there are options that have no commercials and when we watch television a large percentage of the population can skip ads by hitting fast forward and skip right back to their program. Print ads such as flyers and direct mail are the thing of the past as well. How often do you read what comes in your mailbox? These traditional outbound marketing tactics at one time were enough to get parents to tour the school grounds to hand out brochures and information. Getting to that tour was the goal and it was the main selling feature.

What can you do?

So, in the face of these statistics how can you increase your enrollment? Well, let's start with the basics.

Your Website.

What is the first thing that you do when you are looking to buy a product or service? For many people they search the internet....Google it. So if they are looking for private schools in your area on the internet what do they find? Do you show up in the search results? And if you do, is your website attractive and informative enough for someone to want to spend time on it doing research? Many times, a parent will make a decision to come and visit a school from looking at your website. You want your website to be better than your competitors.

Invest in your website.

Next, define your target audience

What type of students excel at your school? Create student or parent personas. Wait, what is that? A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal student or parent based on market research and real data about your existing students and parent. A great way to define the type of people you want to target and strategically market is to survey your current students and parents to get feedback. This way you can attract a defined market that aligns best with what your school offers. You can also define your geographic recruiting, curriculum, and program marketing. Identify what makes your school different and target the audience it will appeal to.

Get creative with data capture

Once you have defined who will be your target audience for marketing, you will then create a digital strategy to drive activity. This may include a multitude of activity like, blogging, downloadable information, social media engagement, and various other audience engaging activity.

This dives into the topics of SEO and SEM tactics for marketing purposes which will discuss in a future post.

Introducing Inbound Marketing for Private Schools

Targeting to attract your defined audience is the basic fundamentals of inbound marketing. We will be creating a series of inbound marketing articles for private schools to provide tips and best practices for this marketing technique how to implement it as part of your marketing plan.

But here are some facts to think about

  • Inbound marketing overall costs an average of 61% less than traditional outbound based marketing
  • 86% if people skip television ads
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened and thrown directly in the trash, let's cut down on what goes in the landfill

So, if there is a marketing platform available that can decrease your cost and increase the ROI for your school so that you can focus on investing money back into your programs wouldn't you want to give it a try?

Stay tuned for more exciting articles on how to market your school!


Vanessa Byrem-Tangy

Partner at Mosaic. As a certified inbound marketing specialist, I work with clients to devise and revise digital strategies to create positive growth for Nonprofits, foundations, issue-based initiatives, and service-based businesses.

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