If you run a private school, marketing to boost enrollment should be one of your top priorities. The value of finding the right ways to attract the right families to your school cannot be overstated. As you invest in your marketing efforts, you’ll begin to wonder who are those right families and how you can get the best return for your investment.
Only you can definitively decide who the best families are for your school, but if you’re looking for the best return on investment, you should focus on families with multiple children. Once you get one child from a family in your school, you will greatly increase the likelihood that the other siblings will follow. Fortunately for you, we’ve got some proven strategies that will help you cement that relationship with new families.
On this episode you’ll hear:
Why parents with multiple kids might choose a private school
What a parent ambassador program is, and why it’s effective with prospective parents
Helpful discounts and other pricing options you can offer to incentivize families with multiple students to join your school
If you’re looking for some proven strategies to help you connect larger families to your school, then this is one episode you won’t want to miss!
Ryan: . You are listening to the school growth strategies podcast brought to you by Hubbli in this show. Jono Landon draws on his vast experience and expertise to deliver actionable advice to private school administrators who aren’t ready to take the next steps toward running a more efficient and sustainable private school business.
I’m your host, Ryan Cowden and this week we’re joined once again by Jono Landon. In this episode of the School Growth Strategies podcast, Jono and I discussed some ways to attract families with multiple kids to your school. If you run a private school, marketing to boost enrollment should be one of your top priorities. The value of finding the right ways to attract the right families to your school cannot be overstated. As you invest in your marketing efforts, you’ll begin to wonder who are those right families and how can you get the best return for your investment. Only you can definitively decide who the best families are for your school, but if you’re looking for the best return on investment, you should focus on families with multiple children. Once you get one child from a family in your school, you will greatly increase the likelihood that the other siblings will follow. Fortunately for you, we’ve got some proven strategies that will help you cement that relationship with new families.
On this episode, you’ll hear why parents with multiple kids might choose a private school. School cost and name recognition don’t mean as much as having a shared set of values with your school. Leading with your values is the best way to connect with prospective families. Next, we’ll discuss what a parent ambassador program is and why it’s effective with prospective parents. Best salespeople in your school are the families who are already committed. Empower your all star families by making them ambassadors for your programs and help them connect with interested families, checking out your school. Finally, we’ll share some discounts and other pricing options that will incentivize families with multiple students to join your school. Lowering the overall cost and providing funding from grants can help entice families who want to send multiple children to your school. If you’re looking for some proven strategies to help you connect larger families to your school, then this is one episode you won’t want to miss. There’s a lot of actionable advice in this episode. So grab something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always. I’ll be back on the other side to wrap up any loose ends. So without any further ado, here’s my conversation with Jono Landon.
All right, Jono, welcome back to the podcast. It’s great to see you again. Yeah, you too, Ryan. It’s great to be with you again. Great, thanks. Uh, so we’re talking about some ways to target and enroll families with multiple kids. Um, and you know, I, you know, I’ve talked about how, you know, larger families tend to gravitate towards public schools because it’s just, it’s cheaper, it’s free, right?
Why would families with multiple kids choose to go private? What do you tend to see there?
Jono: Well, um, you know, it’s like, it really comes down to, um, values, right? So there’s, you know, and, and every family has to consider budget and public schools, uh, you know, can be the best budget, of course, best for budget, but, um, you know, uh, w when, um, when you’re really trying to, I would say when a school’s doing it, it’s best to target the right families. Um, uh, it’s, it’s like, you know, it definitely is ideal. Like it’s kind of a no brainer. You want families with multiple kids to be enrolling. Um, and so there’s a, you know, so, so if you’re marketing based on a values, you’re more likely to find, uh, you know, multi child families that are enrolling based on values rather than things like convenience or, um, you know, um, okay. I, that’s it. I guess if, if parents don’t really value, ah, you know, what comes from your school’s particular education or, or environment, then it’s really going to be based off convenience.
Maybe you’re closer or, but you offer some kind of programming which helps in some other area. Um, so I would say that, um, you know, that the challenge is certainly there and of course no school is going to be able to accomplish a 100% enrollment of multi-child families and they shouldn’t because there’s plenty of great families that only have one child.
But, yeah, if you put the effort out there, through your marketing process and, you will be able to, uh, you know, I think the goal would be to try to every year try to incrementally increase the number of families that have multiple children. Um, so that, um, over time, over years you will, you will see a full school with less and less effort and less and less resources needed to keep the school full because, you know, it’s a lot easier to keep the school full when [inaudible] no families, the percentage of your families have multiple, multiple kids.
Ryan: Great. Do you find that once you get that first kid that the family tends to try to put more of their kids in the school? Is that well, yeah. So, yeah. Yeah. So you don’t have to necessarily try to, yeah. Uh, enroll all the children. So, so just, just the fact that the family has more than one child, um, in, in, in, they might be only enrolling one of those children that year. Um, that’s an opportunity to create that connection with that family and, um, you know, uh, the, the probability that that family is going to see the difference and see, you know, wow. It’s like, you know, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak as one child is, I mean there’s, there’s a lot of scenarios where, um, you know, families only want to put one child in, one school and one child in another school because maybe, maybe that school is a better fit for that, for that child.
Jono: Again, this is all about, ah, trying to incrementally increase the number of, uh, the, the ratio of children to family and your school. So, um, if you have that intention and it’s, it’s Kinda there as a, uh, as a filter whenever you’re looking at a potential family. Um, if, if two families are, you know, equal in, in all other areas, one has and they’re both just enrolling one child, the new school that year, but when one family only has one child and the other family has two or three, you’re on a, on the street sort of numbers level, you know, it really leaned towards the family with multiple children. Okay. So I like this idea of, of marketing according to values. I think that’s an interesting not and not just cost and price. Um, are there any values in particular that you’re thinking of or, you know, how would you go about doing some values based marketing?
Ryan: Well, so that’s something that is, I mean really we suggest it’s the only way to market your school. Okay. And, and you should, uh, as much as possible, like, you know, or really never spend money to, to market, um, your subsidies or your, uh, you know, it’s good to offer subsidies. I wouldn’t suggest [inaudible] doing otherwise. Subsidies are great and they obviously help [inaudible] help you have an inclusive a school environment. But yeah. Um, when you’re investing in marketing, um, and this is a conversation I have with schools all the time, you know, it’s like, yeah, I run into schools and they are just like, you know, uh, I do marketing, but, um, you know, it’s just like the only people I’m getting are people that need subsidies, you know, and they want to give it to everybody. But of course they, they need more tuition revenue to keep the school running.
Jono: Right. So it’s like, either they’re going to keep on giving subsidies and having to go spend all of their time fundraising or, you know, and then that’s gonna make the school suffer, right. Because they can’t focus on the, on the program because they’re just fundraising all the time covering subsidies four. And that’s not where they want to be. They want to have subsidies, but they also want to be able to focus on the program. Right. It’s this catch 22. So, um, subsidies are great, but in order to be able to offer them, you know, okay. And in a healthy way to, in a way that doesn’t destroy the, the school. Um, do you have to make sure that you’ve got a healthy base of families that are full pay? Right. Right. And so, um, yeah, so, so, uh, so marketing on, so marketing on, on the, on the subsidy and the discount, uh, if you do that, that’s all you’re going to see.
The only people that are going to walk in the school are going to be those that are good, that, that wants subsidies. Um, and the people that want subsidies, you know, you, you don’t have to worry about that. They’re going to come, we’re looking, right, they’re going to come asking because they know that they have to have to do that obviously was so a lot of wonderful parents out there that need, need the help and they, uh, they’re gonna fight tooth and nail to get their kids in the best school and try to find subsidies anywhere they can. And they, you know, they, they work hard to do that. Right. And it’s great when, when they can find that and they can be rewarded for that effort. Um, cause the, the, they’ve got the [inaudible], they’ve got the right values. Right. But do you want to mark it based on those values?
Um, to bring in, if you’re going to spend more, spend money on marketing, it’s gotta be two families that can, um, because I mean, that’s again, that you have to, you have to invest, right? You can invest into something that’s not going to, you know, pay, uh, Ha, have a net margin so that you can again, you know, offer those subsidies or hey your staff or do you do whatever else you need to do. Um, so, so value based marketing is really, really, really important. [inaudible] the only kind of marketing you should do because that’ll make sure that, uh, people that are coming to your tours and your open houses are, you know, looking for the kind of school you have, whether they know what kind of, uh, what’s, you know, let’s say a, you know, let’s say you’re a Montessori School, um, uh, you don’t necessarily want to be marketing Montessori.
Do you want to be marketing the values that the, uh, that, that are, that are not exclusive to Montessori but are, are there and offered from a Montessori education? Um, so that you’re connecting with the much larger market of parents that art pre sold on Montessori, right? Cause it’s a very small, yeah. All right. A Lotta a Lotta. And I use Montessori as an example because we have a lot of Montessori customers and I see this mistake all the time. And it’s not just Montessori schools doing this, it’s every, it’s a lot of schools do this, you know, they, um, they, they use their ads two almost cell Montessori, you know, or kind of virtue signal to whatever their particular, Oh, you know, philosophy or methodology is, but the problem is, is that that doesn’t speak to anyone that’s not already sold on that particular methodology.
And there are way more parents that are perfect for a Montessori school that are not, they don’t know what Montessori is. So if you’re pushing Montessori on them, you’re not, you know, through your ads, you’re not actually a, you’re not bringing them in, you’re pushing them away. Right. Right. So you’re making it harder to fill up your school because [inaudible] and the people that are already sold on your particular methodology, meaning your little niche market, you don’t have to market to those people. It’s just like people that are looking for subsidies, they’re going to find, you know, so you want to do value based advertising so that you’re connecting with the much larger, broader market of people that are a good fit for your school but are not, uh, and are responding to those values because that’s what’s important, right? Right. People see humans, you make buying decisions based off, uh, like w w we, we buy because we were looking for a result.
I know looking for a result in results comes from values and as opposed to features, you know, so like if you, you know, so and so this is an analogy I’m always giving to schools is that, uh, your parents, you know, or again, anybody that’s, that’s buying something, as, you know, as an analogy, they’re sitting on a, uh, on a, on a desert island, right? And they want to get over to the tropical island, right? To The oasis, but there’s a big, a big, you know, ocean in between. Right? So they don’t care how they get there. Right. They, they’re just, they’re visioning the tropical island with trees and shade and fruits and animals and you know, and water, um, they don’t care. It could be a rowboat. It could be us a rocket ship of course, when we’ll get the, they’re faster than the other, but, but that’s not what, you’re not selling them on the, on the rowboat because that’s just the, that’s just the, the, the medium.
That’s just how they get to the result they’re looking for. So, so Montessori in this analogy, whether it’s Montessori or Waldorf for, or a particular religious approach, whatever it is, um, you’re selling them on the results that you would like. Parents want to see their, they want to vision their children in the future. Yeah. And that’s what you’re selling them. Like the future child that they, the feature they want for their children. That’s what you’re really selling them on. And that comes from, I don’t even want to talk in re in terms of like those results and the values, you know, much broader. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So one of the strategies that you’ve highlighted as a way to bring these types of families in is creating a parent ambassador program. Um, can you just explain real quickly what, what that is and what that looks like?
Yeah. So, uh, so again, the results, so using that same, going off that same, uh, you know, sort of explanation of, of why, why people purchase something like that. You know, when they see a parent, uh, as an ambassador for the school, um, they see the results, right? They see themselves in that parent. They see, you know, the I ideally, right? This parent is the archetype, the PR, you know, the example of the best fitting parent for that school. And they’re going to be, ah, happy, uh, with the school, obviously, are, they’re not gonna be an ambassador. And, um, and they’re going to talk from their own in their own language about how great the school is. And, and, uh, and so parents, so, so it’s, it’s essentially the same vet, the same benefit of having like a testimonial, right?
It’s like a live, ah, testimonial. It’s like a testimonial times a hundred, you know, on steroids. You know, it’s like, it’s like, well, here’s like a real like live person that’s giving me their, yeah, they’re authentic, um, like natural explanation of why they like being a parent at this school. Right. And so it doesn’t get much better than that. So it’s a really good idea to have parent ambassadors that, and they can, there’s all sorts of ways that those parent ambassadors can, uh, can assist in the enrollment process and in the marketing. Yeah. Um, and yeah, so being part of the tour is open houses, you know, very common, very common scenarios. That’s, that’s good. Yeah. So, so how else could you include the parents, you making them part of the tour? How else are you trying to connect these parents with these interests in customers?
Yeah, I mean you could also try to connect them like a over the phone, you know, like if you have guys that are willing to schedule phone calls with, uh, prospective, uh, parents, um, any way you can connect them for, for, you know, and you, you know, depending on the stage of where the, the, the new prospective family is. Yeah. It might be, you know, they, they might be willing to uh, [inaudible] go through more Labor to, um, two, how did that conversation or, or have that meeting or whatever it is. Okay. You want to start, you know, uh, as the parent is progressing through the admissions process, do you want to a layer sort of deeper and deeper, um, value, ah, or deeper context of, of that or just say a richer and richer experience, you know, so at the very beginning it might just be, you know, you can put that parent’s testimonial literally in the ad, you know, cause that’s the best way to write any kind of marketing copy is to have your, your customers right in there in their own language, what results they get from [inaudible].
A parent in your school, put that in the Ad, put it on the webpages at the, in the emails that the parents were seeing and then connect them. Sure. Well they literally have on one-to-one conversation down the road if you, you know, if you can get, you know, if you can get your parents to do that. But just having parents offering to do that. That’s a great example of, of of wow like obviously that parent is, is offering quite quite a lot of time and effort to represent the school. Sure. That means quite a lot. Just the fact that they’ll even book a meeting on its own. It tells you something. Right. Yeah. I was going to ask, how would you approach inviting a parent to become a part of this program? Is there kind of a, is there like a formal meeting or you know, what’s your sales pitch?
Cause it is gonna require some of their time too to do that. You know when parents are really [inaudible] there. Oh well they’re really part of the community. They care about others. They care about helping defined other, other great parents for that school. Right? Cause these are the parents that, that their children, right, these, these parents are going to bring in children that their children are going to be interacting with. Right. So, so they have a vested interest too, uh, to be helping to bring in the best families for this school, puts the school in, uh, the best position to offer the best programming. And it, you know, it helps, it helps the school find the, the right families and that’s gonna that’s gonna play an a role on, on, on that parents children’s outcomes. Right. Right. So, so they have a real vested interest in this, so that, that, that would be the sales pitch to me.
Yeah. You can also, I mean, you can, you can, uh, I mean, it’s fair to give them a tuition break if they, if they help. I mean that’s, it’s like a commission for a sales person. You know, they give it like, you know, employee referral program. Um, Kinda like that. You know, most companies offer something like that. If, if a, if an employee brings in somebody just like them, that’s a good fit and that person’s a successful. So it’s similar to that, I would say. Great. Um, let’s, let’s kind of shift over to this other strategy that you’ve talked about. Um, which would be offering certain discounts too, families with multiple kids. Um, what kind of discounts would you recommend schools consider if a, if a large family’s gonna come in? Well, um, so, you know, every school has to, this is going to be different for every school, but, but I, I think it’s, it’s certainly, you know, uh, just standard business best practice too.
Yeah. Offer some kind of bulk pricing, you know, um, or, or maybe, uh, you know, another way you can, so you can, hey, you could just bring the total cost down a little bit. You know, for every additional child that’s being enrolled, you could also, because there’s so much more cashflow that’s needed, you could offer more flexible like payment structures, um, you know, those types of things or maybe even services to help, uh, the parents get, you know, external grants or, or kind of subsidies from, you know, every, every area. So, so that’s something that I, I, um, I haven’t heard schools talk about like, um, assisting their parents get grants or subsidies or, or programs that help pay for tuition. Hmm. That would be a really smart thing for schools to do. Um, I mean, a lot of schools will have a, a, a m, you know, uh, what’s it called?
A, um, I can’t think of the word now. Um, a financial assistance program, you know, that, that, you know, makes it easy for the parents to kind of go through all the different paperwork, you know, depending on, you know, the state that’s different from state to state. But, um, but I think if, if a, I think it would make a lot of sense for a school, um, to invest in the time and effort to, uh, make that as easy a process as possible for the parents. Um, you know, fun. Go out there and find the grants, go there and find the, the, the program is that good, allow the, you know, help and then even help the parents go through that process because it’s always tough. It’s always very time consuming, a lot of paperwork, a lot of research, a lot of gathering information. It’s, it’s, uh, it’s exhausting, you know, and um, and it’s difficult.
So if the school could, could assist in that, that’d be really smart because that’s going to have a direct result in the school. I mean, there’s a lot of companies that do that, you know, um, you know, there might be a program that, that their, their, their customer base can, can make use of in their county or their state. And so they actually, well, I’ve seen some scenarios where companies will literally do all of the paperwork for that potential customer because if they do it, they’re going to get, they’re going to get paid. So why wouldn’t they do that? Right, right. And the customer is much less likely to do it on their own. Right. And so, and you’re developing this great service relationship with the customer even before they’re a customer. Like it just makes a lot of sense. Sure. Yeah, that’s, that’s great.
Have you, and with private schools, sometimes you’re working with wealthy clients, have you ever seen, um, schools kind of generate their own scholarship funds or their own kind of grants from the community? So, so that’s, that’s Kinda like another way of doing that where they, yeah. Where, you know, you go and find donors right. To, to, to offer the subsidies. Um, so that, that can certainly work in, you know, depending on the demographics of your area, that’s okay. That, that makes more sense or less sense. Right. So if you’re in an area where there’s a lot of, you know, well to do people and it’s likely that you’re going to be able to find somebody and develop that kind of relationship, by all means, um, go ahead and do that, you know, for sure. Um, but, uh, but I would say, um, hmm. D I, I, I cautious schools not to rely too much on donors and eh, to, to cover subsidies rather than, rather than putting time into finding the right families that can, uh, you know, come in and pay full, full tuition because no donor, when you find a donor anyways, like they, they don’t, they like to donate to something that they can, they can ultimately, you know, walk away from, you know, they didn’t want to help an organization become self-sufficient.
Okay. That’s right. That’s usually something that is a, a better way to sell to a, a, you know, a donor. All right. Okay. So, so you want to, you want to make sure that you’re not just creating, um, you know, digging a hole that you’re not going to get out of. Right, right. Um, all right. Well, it looks like we’re just about of time. What’s kind of the, the last thought you want to leave in people’s mind on this topic before we sign off? Yeah. So again, so don’t, don’t think of it like a, Oh, I gotta you know, I’ve got to turn away everybody that doesn’t have, you know, at least two kids. It’s not like that at all. It’s so important just to consider like just from one year to the next, try to increase your child, your, your child per family ratio by just 10% from one year to the next.
It’s not, it’s not like you’re trying to double it or anything like that. As, as, as, uh, the, the, the ratio of children per family is just a, it’s actually just a standard business key performance indicator. Um, it’s one of the seven or eight KPIs at all businesses, um, live or die by and, and, but there’s other KPIs that you have to think about. And so your, your ratio of, um, and so this is, this would be units per customer basically, right? So, so if you’re a shoe store, it’d be like, how many here’s the shoes. Did that cut? Does that customer buy every year? Right. But in this case, it’s how many children does this family enroll every year? Right. So, uh, so, um, so you don’t want to think of it like on any, well, like you should take the same approach with all business, a performance indicators. Uh, just try to incrementally improve it. Go from, you know, your, maybe your child ratio is like 1.2, try to get it to, you know, 1.4. Yeah. You know what I mean? Like we’re not trying to get it from 1.2 to three. That’s all right. You know, just that’s not going to happen. Yeah. But if you could just, you know, push it up a bit, an average of 10% per year, it would be a great, um, would be a great result for this particular strategy.
Ryan: Great. Jono, that was fantastic. Thank you so much. We’ll see ya on the next episode. Right. Thanks to you. Thank you, Ryan. Thanks. All right folks. There you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Jono Landon. He shared a ton of valuable insights and advice today on how to connect families with multiple kids to your school. We also shared some tools and resources, which will all be linked up in the show notes. I hope you enjoyed our conversation. Please consider subscribing, sharing with a friend or leaving us a review in your favorite podcast directory. Until next time, best of luck and all that you do and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the school growth strategies podcast.