How do you attract new pupils to your school and how do you reach out to parents who are considering schools for their children? In this current economic climate, your reliance on gaining pupils is crucial to maintaining school budgets.
You may be in the position of being oversubscribed in which case admissions does not pose a problem but what about those schools who are competing for pupils?
Your recruitment strategy needs to be a consistent delivery of marketing strategies throughout the year however, there are many tactics that can still be used to give your school the best chance of filling its places.
Here are 5 tips that will help your school to attract parents to your school.
Clear, consistent brand and messages
Your school values and story say everything your parents need to know about your school and this should be reflected consistently and continuously across all forms of communication. Does your website reflect what you are doing and saying on social media or is your website reflective of your school full stop!?
Look at your values and ensure you are always proving these in your stories, posts and communications.
If your message is that you create a nurturing environment or you are focused on the wider curriculum then this needs to be apparent in everything you say and do across your communication channels.
Define and review your internal admissions process
You will already know how parents can apply for places within your school. If you are a maintained school then this is predominantly through the local authority and so you may not have much input. However, what you can take ownership of is parents who do contact the school – how are there queries answered, how are you storing their details.
Set up a database of all parental enquiries, and implement a process for following these up?
Make your website a selling tool
Be honest, if you were a parent looking at your school website would you be assured your school is saying all the right things? Does it really sell your school?
Any parent in the fortunate position of choosing a school for their child will be undertaking a due diligence exercise and as part of this your school website will be the first place they go.
If you take a fashion retail site for example, they would cater their home page of their website for promotions at varying times of the year. Christmas, for example, their home page would be packed with christmas party dresses, gifts, etc. How can your school take advantage of this?
Create a section on your homepage at key times throughout the year for these activities. You should have your home page set up for admissions with links to a page created specifically for parents considering applying to your school.
Create a page specifically for prospective parents and really focus on your school values and how you are different. Most admission pages I see just include some text on what the process for admission is – How does this encourage a parent to want to come to your school!?
Use the power of social media
I don’t have to convince you that social media is one of the main forms of communication in this decade – like it or hate it, it is here and should be exploited as much as possible. AND IT’S FREE!
How are you using social media to raise awareness of your school outside of your current stakeholders?
Facebook in particular has created a fantastic advertising portal whereby all target markets can be identified and targeted through effective advertising based on their age, location, hobbies and interests. The cost of advertising through Facebook is also significantly cheaper than mainstream advertising in newspapers or magazines and what’s more the statistics and measurements of success are readily available to you.
Try a mini campaign using Facebook ads, create an effective advert and select your target audience, monitor the reach and engagement with your advert and opt to boost this ad if it is proving to be successful.
Go out into the community
Your prospective parents are in your community and they aren’t coming into your school why not go out to them? There are lots of venues within all communities that have a large amount of footfall and passing trade to enable you to target a large amount of people at minimal cost.
Take your local supermarket for example, all parents will visit their supermarket. Approach your local supermarket and ask if you can put a stand (pull up banner), take leaflets, giveaways or something to attract people over. Get some of your current parents to represent the school and approach people who have young children with them, ask if they have their child enrolled at the school. If they don’t invite them to a parent/child play session at your nursery and collate their details.
There must be several mother and toddler groups operating in your area, find out who hosts these and approach them and ask if you can go along and give some information on their school or work with them to host a messy play or education session with their toddlers.
iTCHYROBOT Schools are marketing specialists and can help your school to sell your story. If you would like further information on these services please contact us on 01642 688808.
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