Schools are in competition for pupils and to gain and retain an effective reputation amongst parents/carers. Whether or not you realise it,
you need to market the benefits of your school to win the hearts and minds of parents so that your school remains well attended and has the commitment of parents to the success of the school and of the children.
Focus on Emotional Benefits
An attractive and informative web site and brochure setting out the features of the school is a help but more is needed. Other schools will also produce similar materials so what will make a difference? Listing features such as ease of parking is not a deciding factor. Service companies have learned over the years that the loyalty of customers is won through the emotional benefits that your service and experience provides to them. For example, Center Parcs learned that their guests, within a short time of arriving, would unwind rapidly and valued the security of the site. That was a strong emotional benefit experienced by guests when on site and led to their loyalty.
Emotional benefits are relevant to the marketing of schools as well. What key emotional benefits will parents experience if their child goes to your the school e.g. attainment levels, physical and mental development, character building to make their way in life, a secure environment, catch up teaching time? Identifying what is important to your current and future parents is important. Next, you have to consider how best to convey that to those considering your school. Testimonials from parents who have experienced key benefits is a powerful influence and those parents will also be your ambassadors in the communities in which they live and work.
Beside communicating with parents, what other interested parties should be approached? Have you identified housing developers in your area as they may wish to publicise the nearby facilities such as schools. Also consider alerting estate agents to the age range and facilities at your school e.g. nursery, 6th form. Produce a leaflet of the key emotional benefits as well as the facilities for estate agents to include in a pack for prospective home buyers. Make sure your web site contains key words that describe the facilities and benefits as this will help your school pages to appear in searches made by parents in the area or thinking of moving into the area.
You could just list your features in a brochure but do no be surprised if the children pass your school by on a bus or in a car with a parent and have no idea as to the benefits that are offered at your school.
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