So, you’ve got a few places left to fill in your school for September? But it’s nearly April so surely everyone has made their mind up by now? Well, maybe but there is one target group often forgotten.
It’s probably true that most people now know which school their children are going to in September. But there are quite a few who will have to change their minds – in particular those who suddenly find themselves moving for work reasons and need to take their families with them.
If you’re in a market where most schools have full rolls, you’re in a great place to recruit these families. Here are a few tips to make sure you get as many as possible.
1. Identify parents who have chosen your school as a result of relocation.
Talk to them! Ask them what their worries were, how your school met them and what else they would like you to offer or how you could have done things differently. Use this feedback to effectively position yourselves moving forward. You could also write case studies of these families (with agreement)– presenting others with real world scenarios to support them.
2. Identify the internal expertise you have dealing with relocating families.
Could you put them in touch with local community associations, language schools, nursery schools, or religious groups for example? Do you have expertise in creating study programmes for students who have come from different education systems? Do you already have students from different cultural backgrounds? Have you experience dealing with Government agencies regarding foreign students?
3. Create a short brochure or guide (electronic or print) using this information.
Package your knowledge in a short guide with quotes from relocating parents and success stories of students who have done well despite joining mid-year. You could also create a dedicated page on your school website with the same information.
4. Identify the leading employers (public and private), estate agents, and relocation agents operating in your area as well as the major international school placement agencies.
If you’re not sure where to get this information, local newspapers or Chambers of Commerce often have business directories. Send their HR department a copy of the brochure and a personal letter asking them to pass on the brochure to anyone they know who is relocating to the area. Follow up the letter with a quick phone call after a few days.
5. Let your parent and alumni communities know that you’re offering this service
As always communication is key and using existing school community stakeholders to pass on details to their employers or companies should be encouraged– you can do this at formal events or via your social media channels.
6. Consider a targeted Google Adwords campaign
Google provides lots of tools to target searches and you should focus on keywords such as ‘relocating to Leeds’.
7. As with all marketing, carefully track enquiries
Always review what is working (or not), refine and reflect on the campaign and be consistent!
This advice was originally published as a part of InspiED School Marketers.