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With a wide variety of education options available to families today, private and alternative schools struggle to increase enrollment.
Enrollment in private schools is down across the country. According to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau, enrollment in private schools for grades pre-K to 12 dropped 14 percent in 2016 with an uptick in public school enrollment.
As families choose from a wide variety of education options, many private and charter schools struggle to stay financially stable as their student populations shrink. To meet “fill the seat” goals and budget requirements, these schools are challenged to hire/retain quality teachers, keep up with facility expectations and offer competitive tuition rates.
Before it’s too late, private and niche charter schools need to rethink their marketing approach. Here are four steps that demonstrate how to increase enrollment in schools:
1. Define your school’s value proposition and understand your target audience.
Solicit input from key stakeholders and align around goals and key differentiators that set your school apart from competition. This can be best achieved by facilitating a strategy session with input from administration, faculty, staff and current parents.
2. Define and understand your prospects.
- Develop a profile of the families you’d like to target (who they are, what they are looking for and how to reach them).
- Determine if there’s an opportunity to expand your prospects beyond the group you’ve traditionally relied on.
- Implement a lead generation plan.
3. Have an active online presence.
- Update your website with content your prospects are looking for, optimize it to make it searchable and populate it with effective CTAs (Calls to Action) to encourage more engagement from visitors.
- Collect prospect contact information via website form submissions.
- Consider a digital advertising campaign consisting of a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEM), programmatic ads, geotargeting and Facebook advertising to reach your prospects where they spend time online.
- Stay active on social media.
4. Make sure the collected submission forms don’t go to waste.
- Create a lead tracking database and protocol for proper lead follow-up. Email automation is an easy way to stay in touch with prospects and provide them with valuable information as they decide whether or not to apply to your school.
- Develop a framework for lead follow-up and improved customer experience.
- Develop standardized phone scripts for school administration to ensure prompt response to prospects.
To learn more about how to increase enrollment in private and niche schools, read our case study on how we helped a client fill an entire classroom of new students after a three-month marketing campaign.