“I recently attended a presentation where it was stated that the decision to enroll in a Catholic High School is made by both the parent and the student when he or she is in 5th grade, so high schools should start marketing to the parents and children in 4th grade.  That’s 5 years before they begin classes.  If that’s the case, then when should elementary schools start marketing to parents so that they may enroll their children in kindergarten?”

Great question – and it’s a simple math solution.  If the average age of a kindergarten student is 5 years of age, and the high school needs to start marketing to parents when the student is in 4th grade, or 5 years before they start 9th grade, that would mean that the elementary school should start marketing to parents … when the child is born.

Absolutely correct!

But don’t send your typical “Enroll Now” literature to the new parents.  Parents of newborn children should get a congratulations card on behalf of your school.  And then the “Baby Steps Marketing” begins.  There will be a complete article regarding this in Marketing Matters, but here’s a sneak peek:

Work with the parish or parishes (for Catholic schools) and church or churches (for Christian schools) with which your school is affiliated.  Find out when infant baptisms are scheduled.  At the baptism, the parents receive a blanket with the school logo on it, or a small plush animal that might be affiliated with your school.  Then the tracking begins.

On the first anniversary of the baptism, the parents receive a magnetic picture frame which says “Future NAME OF SCHOOL Student” – of course, put the name of your school where NAME OF SCHOOL indicates.

On the second anniversary of the baptism, the parents receive a small book of prayers that they can learn.  Encourage families to sit with their children at night to read prayers with them so that they learn them, as well as expose them to reading.

On the third anniversary of the baptism, the moms are invited to a tea, where the school’s Pre-K program is explained to them.  If the child is ready to be enrolled in PK3, then this can take place at this event.  Once the child is in the Pre-K program of the school, then it becomes a matter of retaining the parents to have them enroll in the school at the proper time.

There is some specific correspondence that should accompany each of the contacts too.  For a little more detail, visit this link for the “Advancementality” article, and subscribe to this site so you can receive previews of SchoolAdvancement.com articles, like the upcoming Marketing Matters on Baby Steps Marketing, when they’re published.