Even if a school does everything right, only a small number of people in a community may hear about it. Administrators and educators are slowly coming around to accept that schools, too, require marketing and public relations.
Although resistance to the idea of some type of promotional effort is necessary, it is still an abstraction and a source of much confusion. However, the following 10 simple steps will help you get your school’s promotional efforts off to a good start:
- Create a positive first impression. What do first time visitors see when they walk through your school grounds? Do they see tidy grounds, discover enough signage to find their way around the school, and find helpful staff in the front office? When people call to make inquiries, what kind of message do they hear and do they get the prompt, courteous help they hope to receive?
- Help parents make decisions about education. Review what processes you have in place to build positive relationships with parents who are making decisions about where to send their children to school. Is there a way to improve this process?
- Collaborate with other schools. Consider ways that you could work with other schools to promote community events. You may be able to collaborate on sending informative articles to the local newspaper. You could write articles on breakthroughs in modern education, the value of learning computer programming at an early age, or the importance of finishing school in a knowledge-intensive age. You could also hold live events to promote the value of a good education to your community.
- Publicize your star students. Some schools have students who do exceptionally well in academics, sports, or art and by mentioning them in school publications or at local community events, it will inspire people in the community to begin thinking of sending their children to your school. Star students make a school look good.
- Befriend the media. Since your local newspaper is probably looking for good stories, you could keep them updated on school events, inter-school sports, new staff, or upgraded facilities. Tip newspaper editors about events a week or two early so that they can send a reporter to cover it. School administrators should take time out from their busy schedules to get to know their local reporters.
- Consider traditional and modern advertising methods. Traditional advertising is putting print ads while more modern advertising might be running an active Facebook page, as well as using other social media like Twitter and Pinterest.
- Focus your marketing message. What is your school’s marketing message? Is it to help struggling students get up to speed, develop athletic and scholastic aptitude, or to improve character and discipline? Perhaps, your school does all these things and more, but choose one thing that your school does really well and make that the focal point of your marketing message in all your promotions. Also use social media marketing to get the message out.
- Improve signage. School signs are an instant way to capture attention. It is a way to promote fundraisers and ask for volunteers. It is a way to announce special occasions and sporting events. And, it is a way to acknowledge teachers, students, and sponsors. Make a list of all the things that you would like to announce or bring attention to at your school, then look at the many types of signage available, from bumper stickers to mesh banners While you may not be able to get signage for everything, focus on boosting awareness on important things happening in your school. By taking advantage of cost efficiency from online retailers and searching for everyday deals like these eSigns discount codes, you will be surprised at how much signage you can get on a budget.
- Create a welcome package for new students. What do parents and new students get after they enroll? Perhaps, a folder outlining important information like important dates for special occasions and an outline of all extracurricular activities and tutorial opportunities. You may even want to consider an app students can use to organize their schedules, keep track of school events, and monitor their own academic performance. While it may be expensive to create the app, in the long-run, it will help your school stand out as a modern school preparing students for an advanced technological society.
- Make your school a friendlier place. Besides making friendliness part of the school’s policy and customer service, you could encourage friendliness by becoming open to feedback, issuing thank you certificates, and getting more involved in community projects through school volunteers and opening up the school for community events.