Most private schools across Iowa are in the same boat. Too few employees, one or two administrators, and few resources left for dedicated marketing, community outreach, and advertising. In general, our ability to deliver an amazing education on a fraction of the budget our public school counterparts work with is one of our selling points. The flip side of that coin is that doing more with less is difficult and requires a level of creativity that can be exhausting.
There are some simple things that can be done to improve your school’s footprint in the community. By simple, we don’t necessarily mean easy. Even some of the simplest things are often hard to execute with consistency and quality. However, if we want to advance the cause of Christian education, reach as many children as possible, and market our schools effectively; here are five things we should all be doing:
1. Create a respectable website.
It’s not hard to have a website but it takes some investment of time and/or money to have a good one. When a new parent begins thinking about what to do for school as their kid enters the preschool years, what do we think they do? They search online for schools and education options nearby. If our website doesn’t project quality and good design, we can’t expect those parents to believe we somehow do everything else they care about with excellence. Hire it out or make it a competition for your high school art/computer class and have a vote for the best design. Ask a local college to make your website their graphic design project. Whatever it takes to make something you are proud of and gets your school compliments – do it! A simple, well-designed website can last many years and project a quality brand, whereas a poor website will act as an enrollment anchor.
2. Consistent, intentional social media.
It used to be your school was really cool if you grasped the rules of social media and had a respectable number of followers. That is now a basic expectation. If you don’t have a functioning Facebook page and Twitter account, you don’t look like a viable option that is going to prepare a child for the realities of today, let alone the challenges of tomorrow.
If your school’s Facebook page is a personal profile instead of an organizational page or there have been zero tweets about the latest goings-on, prospective student open houses, sports results, photos of your arts and music performances, etc in more than 48 hours; you are doing it wrong.
Make sure your page likes your sister-schools and IACS, follows them on twitter, and make sure your school is posting regular and meaningful posts about relevant events and issues daily. Administrators need to relinquish some control and a staffer or two need to be trusted and expected to get this done. Facebook is constantly changing how it delivers posts on users’ news feeds and puts more and more of the burden on organizations (Pages) to have compelling, creative content. It isn’t enough to just have it and post something once a month.[Continue Reading]