Let’s say you have one of the nicest brochures you’ve ever created, and order 500 to be printed.  You send 60 to each of the 5 primary parishes or churches that support your school  or send children to your school, 25 each to the local hair salon, fitness facility, nail salon and the restaurant that promised to keep them next to the cash register.  The other 100 are kept in your school’s office.

Lo and behold, you find out that there are 25 inquiries from parents that received one of these brochures, and you consider this to be a successful marketing campaign.  It’s analysis time – how do you know that it’s successful?  Certainly because 25 people were moved to call the school.  But where did the brochures come from?  One of the inquiries might be from a brochure that was picked up by a grandparent that doesn’t live near her children, but was visiting the parish on a Holy Day of obligation.  Another might be from someone that picked one up when they ordered food at the restaurant, causing both the diner and their neighbor to call since the food was for a neighborhood event.

If you code each of the brochures, and “track” the inquiries that result, you might be surprised to find that 5 inquires came from the brochures placed at the parishes or churches (in total), 4 came from the hair salon, 3 from the fitness facility, 4 from the nail salon, 5 from the restaurant, and 2 from phone calls requesting information from your school’s office.  If that’s the case, then you could have ordered 200 brochures (with 10 to each parish and 50 at the school) and kept your costs down with the same result.  You wouldn’t know that, however, if you just count off the brochures when they come from the printer and distribute them without some type of tracking mechanism involved.

Marketing isn’t just getting the message out – it’s tracking that message to find out which is the most effective means of getting the message out.  In an environment where marketing budgets are small (if they exist at all), it’s not only important to have material that is appealing enough to pique a parent’s interest, but to know what’s the most effective method to achieve the desired result.

And remember…great marketing won’t increase enrollment in your school!  Great marketing will increase the number of inquiries to your school.  It’s how you follow-up with those inquiries, and continually engage interested families with your school, as well as how well you keep current families engaged with and enrolled in your school, that will increase enrollment.

If you’re thinking that’s a lot to do, and don’t have time for it because the holidays are on their way, there are so many meetings to attend, so many curriculum initiatives that require your attention, and so many parent issues to deal with, not to mention financial aid applications for the coming school year and budget creation, send an email by visiting this link with the words “Too busy for this” in the subject line.  I’ll suggest something you might want to consider for the coming school year.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2021 (Original Publication Date: 20061107)