One of the most important parts of opening a school is getting the Marketing Plan right. In the set up phase a large proportion of the budget goes towards this plan as you begin to enter the market and entice children and parents to the idea and voice of your school.
What type of school are you planning to open? You will have no doubt come to a decision on this during the feasibility study. Branding allows the school to but forward the impression that you want to leave with parents and customers of the school. This is chance to display your schools voice. Whether it is a high end tier 1 school to a bilingual tier 3 school, each school needs to use its branding to tell a story.
A brand identity needs to be built up over time but it is important that it is clear where you want to be from the beginning. Does the school have a focus on employability, links to ivy league universities, a wish to aim high on rankings or employing 100% foreign teachers? These are all aspects that come across when setting the brand. Time needs to be spent on logo’s, colours and typography, after all your logo will be the most displayed image your school will ever have.
Does the school bring in an already established brand name, a shiny object so to speak. These established schools bring in their own brand and therefore there is less need to create from scratch.
In your marketing plan, can you answer these questions?
Who is your typical parent? Can you describe them? What does the family look like? Where do they live? What do they buy? What car do they have?
The more detail you can put into the description of your target audience the better, as it becomes easier to target them with your marketing team. Having done this, define your niche, think hard about what your school offers and what you do more proficiently than that of your competitors. If you can prove this, parents will be more attracted to the school.
Data, data, data! Online and digital marketing is cost effective and leads can be gained quickly and effectively. In this modern era of technology and online advertisements, schools are heavily shifting focus to online mediums such as Facebook and Google Ads. These days, in the majority of countries, parents have a smartphone and indeed a Facebook account where groups of parents discuss education. This can be a great place to advertise to, providing you have the right message.
This is generally more about qualitative data than what is gained in online and digital marketing plan which offers statistics. Offline marketing has the advantage of appearing more human. Speaking directly with parents at events you are able to really get a sense about how the parent feels and it also gives them the chance to ask more in depth questions.
Other measures may include billboards, loudspeakers, fliers, TV, radio and newspapers. The issue here is that it is difficult to find out how many people are noticing you. But there is certainly data out there to show that these techniques work, but it is important to make sure you know what the market responds to.
Have you ever wondered why some schools seems to have strong enrolments whilst some seem to struggle? There are several factors that affect whether or not a school will increase enrolment. Here are just a few tips to increase enrolment that should be in your marketing plan:
Leadership – a strong and motivated leader who can inspire will lead to more parents being happy that this is the right school for them. Head’s of School’s who hide in their office will not have a good relationship with the parents.
Quality School Experience – parents are investing a lot into the school and therefore they have certain expectations that need to be matched even before enrolling.
Vision & School Improvement – updating facilities, a new STEM lab and expansions show parents inside and outside the school that the school is growing and that the money parents pay is going to good use.
Faculty & Staff – teachers and staff are the first connection between a family and the school. That personal connection needs to be apparent as well as being able to deliver high quality education.
Reputation – something that takes time to build, but ultimately leads to growth in enrolments.
Demographics, Location & Price – so with location there is not much you can do, but you should have already made the decision that there are people in the area willing to come to the school, who can pay the price that matches what is offered by the school.
There are of course more aspects to all this that can be found in the blogs below.
Contact GSE directly for a video conference to learn even more about how GSE can set up a school that meets the needs of the owner and the market.
- How to: Increased Enrolments in International Schools
- Key Factors in Delivering a Successful Social & Digital Marketing Strategy in Education
- An International School’s Marketing Strategy
- Digital Strategies and School Marketing
Who is Global Services in Education (GSE)
Global Services in Education is a company led by education experts. They are proven education leaders who know how to set up and manage international schools. GSE can lead the project from the initial idea to set up and full management. Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High School, Universities and Adult education.
– School Management
– Strategic Planning
– Feasibility Studies
– Architectural Conceptual Design
– Interior Design
– ICT Planning
– Staffing & Recruitment
– Curriculum Design
– School Policies
– School Audits & Action Plans
– Training & Development
– Accreditation & Licensing
Duncan Douglas, Project Manager at Global Services in Education:
– A specialist in marketing, admissions, project management, Special Education Needs (SEN)
– Extensive experience in school start-ups and senior education pathways
– Worked across UK, China, Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Myanmar, India and Malaysia
– Expert in UK curriculum