Private school marketing can be tricky to master. Open houses and partnering with lower-level schools are still important, but to really stand out, you need to try something new. How to market a private school has changed, and now, parents and applicants are doing more research than ever. To make sure you're doing everything you can to entice new applicants, check out our guide on how to market a private school.
Why is private school marketing important?
In the past, often then name of a famous school was enough to entice applicants, but things have changed. Now, competition has increased and discerning parents want to see as much evidence as possible that they're getting value for money.
Private schools used to be marketed quite differently than they are today. From a reliance on private school brochures and private school directory ads, private schools have had a hard time adjusting to the internet age. Private school directory ads were able to tell prospective students every aspect of their private institution from academics and extracurriculars to their private school's history.
Today, private schools still use directory ads as a way to give themselves exposure and get new student applicants or private school tours by prospective parents and students. That being said, there are plenty of newer options and methods in the digital age that are necessary to market your private school effectively. Here are some of our tips to ensure that your private school marketing is covering all the bases and making the best impression on both prospective students and parents.
Build your online presence
Nowadays, having an online presence is a must for private schools. Online private school directory ads and private school websites should both have social media links so parents can be kept up to date with the events in your marketing calendar, and eventually academic calendar once their children have enrolled.
Online reviews where parents can express their views on the private institution, good or bad, are also important. Those few bad ones are important too - no one trusts a school or business with 100% positive feedback! People will suspect reviews are fake, or bad ones are being removed. Transparency is admirable, and the good reviews will stand out more if people are confident they're genuine.
Parents of children in the modern day are tech-savvy - your private school needs a sophisticated website and SEO. Make sure your school's website is ranking highly for everything prospective applicants are searching, so you're on of the first options they see and you stick in their minds.
Content on a private school website could include:
- An overview of the private institution
- An explanation of the educational philosophy
- Information about the private school campus (including photos)
- Social proof from parents and alumni
- An example timetable
- A calendar of events
Don't forget tradition
It's far easier than in the past for prospective students and their parents to read up on your school without even visiting it, so making sure there is enough online to demonstrate your school's value is super important. But, that doesn't mean that you should neglect the tried and tested channels.
Another important private school marketing tool is the age old method of tours and open days. Many parents still want to see what your school is like before their children get there, and this is where private schools can stand out. Private tours can really sell the school experience to both parents and children, so you should find ways to make them as memorable as possible.
Enjoyable activities, student led tours, alumni and staff presence are all great ways for parents and children to be able to see exactly what your school has to offer, and to hear it from the people who either have experienced the benefits of the school, or are currently there reaping those benefits! Children coming away from an open day should envisage themselves as being comfortable at the school, and parents should be happy to leave their children in your care.
Make sure it's personal
Make sure that, across both your online and offline marketing, you are showing a balance of a good education, but also a wholesome atmosphere. Parents want to see a school that is going to cater to their children's needs as a person, not just as a student. Marketing to parents who are making decisions about their children (and their money!) can naturally be quite emotive, so private school marketing techniques need to be handled with nuance and care.
Sending handwritten notes instead of traditional mass mail or email correspondence is a great way to show that your school is putting time, effort and care into their approach. There is nothing more satisfying than receiving a letter from someone who has taken the time to write, not even an email or text message. Parents are looking for value in private schools and handwritten correspondence can be a great way to show your school's humanity.
There is also something special about receiving snail mail in this fast-paced digital age that will help you stand out from your competitors, who may be sticking to the easier channels.
We hear you, sending handwritten notes to all parents or prospective applicants would take a long time and a lot of resources...but at Scribeless, we can automate the whole process, allowing you to demonstrate your value as part of your marketing strategy! If you're interested in learning more about how Scribeless can help scale your handwritten outreach and add the personal touch to your marketing, click here!
Stand out from the crowd
Focus on those things which you are confident will set your private school apart from others. Your private school's ethos – what makes it different? What values does it have? It can be difficult to work out exactly what is different about your school's offering, so it may take some time to really nail your USP. Lean into your tradition and history, and hopefully that is a good starting point to identifying why your school's offering is unique - and better than the rest!
There are some arguments that your best marketing tool is the exact group you're trying to impress - the parents! Word of mouth marketing is a channel that's as organic as they come, and considered by many as the single most effective channel. No-one is better placed to know the specific benefits of the school than those who are seeing their children thrive.
Naturally, a private school will want to sing its own praises, but positive words coming from parents whose children are currently enrolled can go a long way. This could form the basis of some social proof on your website, or circulate more organically during open days, alumni networks or general communities. There a ton of benefits of word of mouth marketing - we recommend this blog here to walk you through them all!
There is no one-size fits all strategy for private school marketing - a lot of it will be down to the unique offerings your school can boast, so it's not always easy. But, if you ensure a unified online and offline approach, respecting tradition whilst embracing the digital age, you're putting yourself and your school in a great position to boost your numbers. If you're interested in seeing a free sample of a Scribeless handwritten note to assist your efforts, check out our homepage here.