Having a solid enrollment strategy is now more important than ever before. According to recent trends, private schools have experienced a decline in enrollment numbers. That’s the bad news. However, the good news is that the Montessori method is becoming more popular these days. Thanks to fantastic parents who champion the Montessori method to their family and friends, more and more people are becoming aware of the child-centered educational approach.
But that’s not enough. You’ll also need to do your part to make sure that prospective families are aware of your specific Montessori school. You can’t rely on word of mouth marketing alone. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and create a student recruitment plan that will grow your school’s enrollment numbers. How?
Glad you asked. In this post, we’ll help you develop an enrollment strategy from scratch. Let’s get started.
1. Define a Target Audience
The first step to creating an effective enrollment strategy is to figure out who you serve. It’s a mistake to target the entire city population. Not everyone in your city has a young family or, if they do, they may not be attracted to the Montessori method. Instead, you should target those who are most likely to enroll their kids in your school.
How do you do that?
Start by surveying your current families. Parent satisfaction surveys are essential for gauging sentiment and informing your marketing strategy. You can easily conduct surveys on your current parents through Hubbli’s Digital Forms. Use these surveys to discover demographic data about your current parents such as where they live and what they do for work. This gives you a great idea of who to target.
2. Differentiate Yourself From the Competition
Do you know the real reason why parents choose your school over the competition?
You could guess or you could use the parent satisfaction survey to find out the exact reason why current families choose to enroll in your school. I recommend asking.
Not only is it the easiest way to figure out your school’s unique value proposition, but it’s also the most accurate. You may think that enrolled families are attracted to one thing when they’re actually attracted to something else. Whether it’s the Montessori philosophy, the teachers, the facilities, the affordable tuition, or financial awards, there are many ways that your school may topple the competition.
Figure out your most important attribute and use this when recruiting new students to your school.
3. Offer New and In-Demand Programs
Aside from your basic curriculum, what type of enrichment classes do you offer in your school? Make your school more attractive to potential families by offering classes that they may not be able to get somewhere else. These classes include dance, music, yoga, foreign language, and computer science.
Research what other schools in your area offer and develop a class that no one else has. Be sure that the class is in-demand. There’s no use in offering a class that prospective families won’t care about.
4. Improve Your Website
There’s no way around it: It’s the 21st century and you need a website for your school. Prospective families will head to the Internet to learn more about your school and you simply cannot give them all the information that they need through a third party platform like Facebook.
You can create a website through Hubbli. We offer drag and drop design tools to have your new website up and running in minutes, not days. We can also create your website for you if you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself. This website will be optimized for search engines so that prospective families can find you via Google, Bing, or Yahoo! searches. Learn more about our turn-key website service here.
Not only do you need a website, you need a website that’s optimized for enrollments. Your website should be geared towards prospective families who are visiting with questions and hesitations. On your website, educate them about the Montessori method, showcase what makes your school different, and also push them towards a single call to action.
What should your single call to action be? Book a tour. This simple call to action will do more for your enrollment numbers than any other request made on your website.
5. Create a Strong Campus Tour
Speaking of campus tours, make sure that yours is worth writing home about. By the end of your tour, a prospective family should be convinced that you’re the right option for their kids.
6. Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy
No enrollment strategy is complete without an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing is a form of marketing that allows you to attract prospective customers through the following methods:
- Content marketing (your blog, eBooks, FAQs, guides, etc.)
- Social media marketing (your presence and ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- Search engine optimization (making your website easy to find on search engines)
Your inbound marketing strategy can rely on organic methods such as posting on your blog or creating a YouTube video about your school. Alternatively, your inbound marketing strategy could cost money. For example, you could pay for ads on Facebook to ensure that your message gets in front of the right audience. By the way, social media ads are the number one way to talk to your prospective audience because you can target your audience so precisely.
Although inbound marketing is perhaps the best way to reach prospective families, you shouldn’t completely abandon outbound marketing techniques. Strategies such as sending postcards through the mail, running radio commercials, or renting a billboard can still attract attention.
7. Monitor and Tweak Your Strategy
Whether you go with organic or paid, inbound or outbound, or a combination, just be sure to monitor your strategy. It’s easy to spend without knowing if your efforts are actually resulting in increased enrollment numbers. Make a list of the most important metrics to check, such as:
- Website visitors
- Enrollment numbers per month
- Enrollment numbers per year
- Scheduled tours per month
- Information requests
- Application submissions
If you’re not getting the results that you want, be prepared to tweak your enrollment strategy. Your enrollment strategy should constantly evolve as you learn more about what’s working and what isn’t.
8. Focus on Enrollment Year Around
Enrollment isn’t just something to work on between the months of March to August. Ideally, you should do something to advance your enrollment goal every month, whether that’s hosting a monthly campus tour or running ads strategically on Facebook.
Come up with a plan for what you’ll do for enrollment each month.
Also, don’t forget about retention. Retention is just as important as acquisition. If you don’t have a technique for re-recruiting your current families, now’s the time to come up with one.
Start the process of re-recruiting early in the school year. Give your currently enrolled families incentives to sign up early for the upcoming school year, such as discounts and first choice for your in-demand classes.
Are you ready to develop your enrollment strategy now? Let’s talk. Hubbli offers a done-for-you enrollment marketing service that includes Facebook marketing, an automated email marketing campaign, and more.
Book a free consultation now to learn how Hubbli can help you generate inquiries in under two weeks.