4 Effective Marketing Strategies for K-12 Schools to Attract New Students

Portrait of smiling multiracial elementary school students standing with arm around in classroom. unaltered, education, childhood, learning, together and school concept.
By Mike McClure – Brand Ambassador/Exec Creative Producer

In today’s competitive educational landscape, it is crucial for K-12 schools to implement marketing strategies to stand out and attract new students. By utilizing effective marketing techniques, schools can increase enrollment and create a positive brand image. In this article, we will explore various marketing strategies that K-12 schools can employ to attract new students.

  1. Understanding the Target Audience

    It is important for a school or ISD to understand who their target audience is for their marketing efforts. Of course, you’re going to target the parents of children school age and entering school age, but so is every other school district. 

You need to delve deeper. What geographic area are you going to pull from? What income levels? Who is most likely to be prompted to change schools – and for what reasons? The more you understand the demographics and psychographics of your potential best audience, the more you can customize your marketing to meet their needs.

The best way to understand the wants and needs of  you target audience is to conduct market research. This will give you an understanding of what motivates them to look into your school and ultimately make the decision to make a move.

One effective method of market research is to conduct surveys or interviews with your target audience. This allows you to directly engage with potential students and their parents, giving you the opportunity to ask questions about their preferences, expectations, and concerns. By gathering this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts to address their specific needs and desires.

Another valuable aspect of market research is analyzing competitor schools and their marketing strategies. By studying your competitors, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as any gaps in the market that you could potentially fill. This knowledge allows you to position your school as a unique and attractive option, highlighting the aspects that differentiate you from the competition.

Analyzing trends and patterns within the education industry is another way to do market research. This could include staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements or identifying new educational approaches that are gaining popularity. By being aware of these trends, you can adapt your marketing strategies to align with current industry developments and meet the evolving needs of your target audience.

Once you’ve done your market research you can create buyer personas that help you create targeted marketing messages focused on each possible persona.

By gaining a deep understanding of the target audience, a school or ISD can tailor their marketing efforts to resonate with them and address their specific needs.

  1. Building a Strong Online Presence 

Having a user-friendly and mobile-responsive website is essential in today’s digital landscape, especially with younger families who are likely to have school-age children. Parents are going to do their research online and many of them will do it on their smartphones. So, it is crucial that your website is accessible and easy to navigate on all devices. A user-friendly website enhances the user experience, leading to increased engagement and conversions.

Of course, having the right type of website is just the beginning. You need to fill it with compelling content, such as blog articles and informative videos, to engage and educate potential students and parents. Video is becoming increasingly important in both capturing attention and creating compelling stories that can lead to conversions.

Your school’s social media channels are another important part of having a strong presence online. Utilizing social platforms to share school updates, success stories, and engaging content is a way to get your message out there beyond your community. You can spread your awareness farther if you can get your current community (teachers, employees, parents and students) to share your social content on their own channels.

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for schools to reach and attract prospective students and their families.

  1. Showcasing Unique Selling Points

What makes your school special? What do students value most about the experience you provide? Take a look at your target market/personas and match it up with the students/parents already in your system that represent that same personas. What are the things they love most about your specific school district? What makes them love their educational experience with you is likely to resonate well with the people you’re trying to attract within the same target audience.

Once you have developed a list of your best selling points, you can start to create content around those points that will attract and convince your prospective student families. For instance, for one school of choice campaign we did, we created content around the excellent CTE programs they offered. We also highlighted their excellence in sports and the arts. Ads featuring this content did very well in attracting new inquiries from families looking to make a change.

Another way to showcase your selling points is to develop success stories and testimonials from current or recent students and parents. These can be videos you share on your website and social channels, even in your email newsletters. Quotes can be pulled out of these interviews and used as text in an email, brochure, ad, or even sprinkled throughout your website.

Telling these stories and highlighting your school or ISD’s unique selling points is how you can differentiate your school or district from those competing for the same students. It is a way to capture attention and persuade families to give your option serious consideration.

  1. Continuous Evaluation and Improvement

At Hudson Collective, we are big believers in looking at your data to track and analyze the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and strategies. You should regularly look at what is working and what isn’t. This way you can adapt and refine your marketing efforts to give you the best return for your investment.

Besides looking at your marketing and social media data and analytics, you can do surveys, polls or interviews to gather feedback from current students, parents, and staff. This will give you qualitative data to combine with the quantitative data you’ve gathered.  It is not only a way to hear how what you’re doing affects various target audiences, it is also a way to identify areas of improvement

To ensure long-term success, you need to constantly evaluate and improve your marketing strategies to stay relevant and appealing to prospective students and their families.

Conclusion

Families have options when deciding where to enroll their children for school. Connecting with your best prospects starts with building your target audience and personas. To connect with them, you need to have a strong online presence that mirrors what they are looking for and provides them compelling reasons to consider your school or district. 

Your unique selling points are the keys to giving them reasons to consider what you have to offer. Every year, there are new students to attract and new offerings by your competitors – so it’s important to have an ongoing evaluation and improvement process. Creating ongoing marketing efforts that evolve over time is an important part of creating a steady flow of new students.

By implementing these marketing strategies, K-12 schools and ISDs can effectively attract new students, increase enrollment, and secure their position in the competitive educational landscape.

If you’re interested in learning more or seeking assistance with marketing your school or ISD, feel free to reach out to us at Hudson Collective. We’re here to help.

Mike McClure – Brand Ambassador/Exec Creative Producer
Hudson Collective is a collective of people who have expertise in their fields and have come together for a common goal. We believe in storytelling. We believe that good data and good strategy are the keys to finding the  best stories to move a brand forward. Most of all, we believe in finding that magical spark of inspiration that motivates people to love a brand or organization and moves them to take action. 
 

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