It’s been said that the greatest journey begins with a single step…which is also true for marketing your school to parents of prospective students, too.
So often we have SO much stuff to show them about our wonderfully remarkable school that we package it up in a pretty folder, stuff it in a over-sized envelope (and pay significant postage for it), and wait for them to call back. Sure, that’s a lot of paper, but that’s what impresses people, right? Besides, we’re enthused and energized over the fact that their child will be attending our school next year, so we want to show them all the things their children will be able to do, all the paper they need to fill out to apply, and all the fundraisers they can get involved in, right?!?!
But then they don’t call…and we wonder why. Here are five possible reasons:
1) You don’t follow-up with a phone call, an email, a text – or all three – several times – with additional information;
2) They don’t look at printed materials anymore, and it gets put on a pile with all the rest of papers they need to deal with;
3) They’re put off by the fact that you’ve spent so much in printing, designing and developing customized folders, and in extra postage to get that information to them. If you treat all potential incoming families that way, they then get an idea of why you charge so much for tuition – remember, perception is reality;
4) They’re too busy to deal with so much information, and just opening the packet lets them know there’s a lot of stuff they’re going to have to deal with that they just don’t have time for; or
5) They’ve reviewed your materials, and are simply overwhelmed with way too much information to process.
Take a tip from colleges and universities. They market one step at a time. Send the parents an overview brochure – they don’t need to know about what school uniforms cost yet. A couple of days later, send an “Information Needed For Our Record Maintenance” sheet with a self-addressed stamped return envelope, or a link they can go to enter this information on line from their mobile device. A couple of days later, a send parents a postcard asking them to visit your school’s Web site, and go to a specific URL (include a tinylink or a QR code) that takes them to a special page for them on your school’s Web site that’s “Just for them.” You can create pages on your school’s Web site that don’t connect to the menu, and are only accessible by a specific URL. Now, you’ve created a special place that’s “just right for them” in the school that’s “just right for their child,” and targeted to the wants and needs of their child!
Remember, it’s all about relationship building…and the more contact you have with a parent, the more the relationship grows.
There was a phrase used by a sales training company I used to work for: “Give them everything at once, and you can look like a dunce; but inch by inch, everything’s a cinch.”
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2021 (Original publication date: 20061204)