What are your plans to improve enrollment this coming year? Have you met your current school enrollment goals? If not, have you been able to address the issues that have caused your school losses? Are you setting up for long term enrollment growth?
There are so many questions to consider about enrollment progress that it’s hard to know where to begin gathering answers. Since enrollment affects both your school’s business operations as well as your ability to provide a good, quality Christian education, there are several elements involved that have to be considered. It will be quite a balancing act if you want to maintain both, so the first step should be in identifying the components that influence your enrollment numbers.
From my experience in helping schools to achieve their enrollment objectives, I’ve identified these three very important factors:
1. Your School Marketing Efforts
The challenge of maintaining a healthy stream of enrollments occurs every year. If you’re an established school with experience in navigating the admissions cycle, then you already know that continuously promoting your school throughout the year is what brings in your enrollments.
The Power of Choice
As your school establishes its online presence through its website and social media accounts, reaching out to potential parents has never been easier. However, as other private Christian schools learn about inbound marketing, remember that your school is not alone in vying to be the top choice in a small market.
If these parents don’t take the next step to enroll in your school, does this mean that you didn’t market your school to them aggressively enough? Probably not. There could be several factors that led to their decision that you weren’t aware of, such as tuition fee concerns, transportation and logistics difficulties, or maybe simply personal preference.
These are all reasons that are out of your control and should not be a cause for concern. They might not just be the perfect fit for your school and that’s alright.
Attracting the best prospects, the ones who are the best fit for your school, is your school marketing’s main objective. The best prospects are parents and students who will believe and live by your school’s values, both morally and spiritually. And who also respect your school’s history and agree to uphold its reputation by aligning themselves to your school’s high academic standards.
Put Your Best School Marketing Foot Forward
Focus your marketing efforts on attracting those parents that are best-suited for your school. In following the principles of an inbound marketing strategy, identify and get to know your target audiences first. Develop parent personas so you’ll be able to create content that’s relevant to them.
2. Your Growth Mindset
While you may be spending your budget and resources on your marketing campaigns, they will not be the only answer in growing your school enrollment. In fact, a prime factor for facilitating growth in your school programs is creating a mindset for it in the first place.
It’s hard to make decisions that may upset the balance between running both a business and an educational institution. Addressing this challenge falls upon the shoulders of school leaders who can weigh the options and call the shots for the overall benefit of the school.
Mission-Minded Leadership Leads to School Enrollment Growth
A school leader is a careful mix between an educator, a manager, and a businessman. They understand what it takes to run a private school in terms of both keeping its operations thriving while upholding its academic and Christian obligations to its students. This is exhibited by a school leader that is mission-focused. Though the aim may steer towards financial gain by racking in enrollments, it is offset by the need to maintain quality services for its students.
A school leader also thinks of prioritizing long-term goals not just for student enrollments but also regarding employment of faculty and staff. Retaining or firing school employees is a hard decision that a school leader has to face as part of day-to-day operations.
Again, this entails a mindset that prioritizes the school’s best interests, reputation, and obligation to its parents and students before the school leader’s personal predisposition.
The growth mindset of a school leader also empowers everyone else involved in school operations to think at the same level. It starts from the top and influences administrators, faculty and staff to act with the same fervor for the school itself. The school’s leader and its staff can then act with the motivation of fulfilling the school’s obligations to its parents for a worthy education for their children.
3. Your Commitment to Fulfilling Promises
Growing your enrollment numbers is also directly affected by how you treat your currently-enrolled families. Handled right and given the right amount of respect and pampering, they can become loyal brand ambassadors. They can spread the good word about your school through word of mouth marketing and may even recommend your school to their friends and family.
Prospective families will be easier to convince when they see the smiles on their faces. How do you maintain those smiles, then?
By fulfilling your promises.
Deliver on your promises of providing their children with a high standard of education. You can achieve this with faculty and staff that share your mindset of upholding and sharing your school’s values. Instruct them to share the foundations of a Christian, Christ-centered education.
The families you attract through your content marketing efforts, namely your website, social media posts and your blogs, should continue to be delighted. Keep creating relevant content that piques their interests and send these to them on a regular schedule.
Update parents regarding school programs and activities and make those activities for them. Afterwards, ask for their feedback and open lines of communication where they can share their concerns. Keep involving them and reminding them that their school community is alive and active.
Once you’ve done these things throughout the entire year, you can expect their eager commitment to your school by re-enrolling for next year, so make them want to sign up in your continuous enrollment program.
There is no quick solution to increase your enrollment numbers. Even with the help of adopting effective inbound marketing strategies, you are not guaranteed to reach your targets. But then again, even if you do, are you sure you’ve captured the perfect prospects?
That is why it’s important to embrace a mindset that focuses on long term growth not just for your enrollments but for your entire school, as well. You can harness your school’s productivity by continuously nurturing the three factors mentioned.
It may take months or years before you can sustain these three elements instinctively, but the tremendous benefits you and your school will reap will be worth it in the long run
If you wish to find out more about how to set-up an effective Continuous Enrollment program, watch our On-Demand Webcast by clicking on the banner below.