Generating interest in your Montessori school is part of the battle. But what’s even more difficult is keeping prospective families on the hook. This process is called lead nurturing. Lead nurturing takes prospects, otherwise known as leads, from awareness to consideration and then to a decision. As you can imagine, it’s not enough for prospective families to just be aware of your school’s presence. Of course, that’s important. But once they know about your school, you need to give them a reason to consider your school. This is where lead nurturing comes in.
In this post, we’ll highlight the best strategies for nurturing leads. Let’s get started.
How Does Lead Nurturing Work?
Immediately after a prospective family learns about your school, the lead nurturing process begins. For example, a family may find out about your school through a Facebook ad. This is awareness. But, in order to get them from awareness to decision, or enrollment, you must get them to consider your school as an option.
You’ll do this through planned interactions where you teach them more about your school and why it is a great fit for their family. The more you’re able to connect with the prospective family, the more trust you can build. And trust often leads to a positive decision.
Studies show that a prospect must interact with a business nine times before becoming a customer. The same holds true for private schools.
Five Ways to Nurture Your Leads
Let’s take a look at some of the most important ways to nurture prospective families into enrollment.
1. Facebook Retargeting
Facebook retargeting sounds pretty fancy, but it’s actually quite simple once you take away the smoke and mirrors. In a nutshell, Facebook retargeting is focused on a specific group of people– such as people who’ve visited your school’s website within the last 30 days. You can create messages directed to this group, encouraging them to return to the site. But don’t just send them to the homepage. Send them to a specific page on the website that is focused on lead nurturing and education.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is by far my favorite way to nurture leads. Not only is it insanely affordable, it also works hand in hand with Facebook marketing to increase enrollment numbers.
Here’s how email marketing works:
You’ll set up a drip email campaign. A drip email campaign is a series of pre-written emails that you send to your email subscribers on a scheduled basis. These emails are completely automated, which means that you don’t have to send out the emails manually. After a prospective family signs up to learn more about your school, they’ll receive these drip emails on a timed schedule that you set up ahead of time (i.e. once every other day).
Drip emails work because they allow prospective families to learn about your school at their leisure with no pressure. Of course, you’re hoping to get the prospective family to sign up for a tour and ultimately initiate enrollment, but the focus on your drip emails should be on education. You’re educating prospective families on your school and the Montessori method. You want to show these families that your school represents the perfect solution for their child or children. Also, you want to show that you can be trusted. You’ll do this by depending on the recommendations of others. Every lead nurturing drip campaign should include a testimonial, case study or review.
Another aspect to creating a drip email campaign is to segment. Segment means to group your email subscribers based on certain criteria. You can segment any way that you’d like, but here are some options you may want to consider:
– Demographics (i.e. Child’s age/ grade level)
– Acquisition (How did they find out about your school? I.e. Facebook, referrals, etc.)
– Pre-tour or post-tour
Why is segmentation important? Segmenting allows you to tailor your email message so that your content is more personal and impactful for the prospective family.
Also, it’s important to note that your email should end with a call to action. Prospective families won’t automatically know what to do, so it’s your responsibility to let them know what the next step (i.e. visit our website to learn more, set up a school tour, contact us for questions, visit us on social media, etc).
3. Share Educational Content, But Not Necessarily Blog Posts
Here’s a disclaimer: Blogging doesn’t work for every school because not every prospective family will be interested in reading your blog.
Most often, it’s best to prepare evergreen, never-expiring, standalone content instead of blog posts. Content can include written articles, videos, case studies, slideshows, infographic, audio files and more. This content can be used to educate your prospective families on your school and the Montessori method. You can save these standalone pieces and then share it in a variety of places, such as your emails, your website and your marketing materials.
To start, create a list of the most important things that you think a family needs to know about your school in order to make an informed decision. Then, save this content on your website. You can link to these pages in your email and social media marketing.
4. Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail is still alive and can be effective when part of an overall lead nurturing strategy. I wouldn’t recommend using direct mail alone to reach prospective families, but it can play a role. As mentioned earlier, the average prospect needs to interact with your school nine times before deciding to enroll. A direct mail postcard can be one of those interactions.
Direct mail is cheap, especially if you’re just sending to a specific few (for example, those who’ve already engaged with your marketing and perhaps have signed up for your mailing list). You’re looking at the cost of a postage stamp and postcard.
Be sure to include in each postcard a call to action. The most common call to action may be to schedule a tour for your school, but it can also be to visit your website or sign up for your email list.
5. Phone Calls
Last but not least, consider calling your prospective families. The telephone isn’t old fashioned, and in fact, it may be a welcomed gesture towards convincing on-the-fence families that your school is the right choice.
If you have the staff to do it, reach out personally. But, before making the call, make a loose script of what you’d like to say. Have a list of answers to common objections and be prepared, but don’t read your script verbatim (that would sound too robotic).
By the way, you can’t simply end with “goodbye” and hope for the best. You need to steer the conversation toward your desired end. End each call with a request that the prospective family set up an appointment to enroll.
Nurturing prospective families requires careful planning. However, once you set up your lead nurturing process, it should run smoothly and automatically. We can help you. Learn more about our done for your enrollment marketing service here.