We’ve been working this summer with a small but growing day school which, at the end of the admission season, still had about 10 spots open in different grades. Could we find families with children not currently enrolled in private schools and convince them to apply? Families who could afford the tuition? For this September?
Quite the challenge.
We know that people generally do not make decisions like this quickly. Still, surely there are 10 people in a large city who might. How do you find them? What would you do? Run ads in the city paper? Run radio spots on NPR? Have costumed people and sandwich boards at children’s events or day camp pick-ups and drop-offs?
Is this even a job for marketing? Maybe this is a job for sales. You could engage 3 fantastic admissions representatives and send them out to find 3 or 4 students each. They could dig back into old applications and re-connect. They could visit other schools with waiting lists. They could talk to realtors and HR departments about new families moving to town. They could work with existing families to host “get-to-know us” parties. Hard to do in the summer, though.
Would any of that work? Seemed like a lot of flailing for not much return, but maybe. Depends on the people you have. Depends on magic.
As one would expect, there was very little budget to respond to this challenge. So we had to think cheap, but still make a little magic happen. We also wanted the work we did to help solve the problem for the future.
Here’s some of what we did:
Everything we did makes it easy for people to learn more at their own pace. Everything also lays pipe for future marketing communications. All the content can be re-purposed. Everything is fast, measurable and tweakable when improvements are needed. These solutions also enhanced the skills of the staff who had never run a successful social media advertising campaign before. Every interaction also adds to a mailing list that we can then use for the future. Everything is also shareable with families who already love the school, allowing us to take advantage of word of mouth.
(We don’t want to make it sound too easy. Workable ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s the execution that’s hard.)
The results so far? 3 seats to go.
PHOTO: Alan Harris