Continuing and maintaining interest and marketing momentum for your school during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for even the best of schools, particularly when experiences and relationships are crucial to the full picture of what it would be like for students to attend the school.
Since there is no definite end to the pandemic or the quarantine period, schools must brace themselves for a ‘new normal’ type of marketing that is good for the next few years. Whether you are opening a kindergarten in Singapore or running a local high school in the States, it’s important to create cost-effective marketing strategies while getting your ducks lined up.
Marketing with Social Isolation in Place
Effective school marketing strategies are respectful of each family’s circumstances and deliver the school’s mission, even when everyone’s at home. Refrain from marketing what the school has (e.g. the lab has the best microscopes in the city); instead, focus on how your school can help students these trying times.
Focus on creating well-thought-out, mission-driven responses.
Consider the following:
Market Your School Externally
Fact: you have a captive audience online. They are also most likely to be engaging due to their increased use and dependence on the internet and social media. Take advantage of this opportunity to get in front of prospective families.
Devise a targeted digital campaign with digital remarketing and advertising to:
- Drive prospects to an online enrollment event
- Provide them with a better understanding of the school through engaging brand stories or videos
- Raise branding awareness
Reach Out to the Families
In terms of families, you have two target markets: the prospective family and the current family.
- For Prospective Families.
- Reach out to families in your pipeline. Prior to the pandemic, you might have had a few families in your pipeline. Get in touch with them to express your intent of asking how they are. If you offered good customer service before, they will keep their communication lines open.
- Mobilize your ambassadors. Gauge the temperature of your student or parent ambassadors. If they are willing, ask them to be available for a virtual meet and greet or if they can record a “Welcome to the School” video. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone will have the time. But if someone is free and interested in communicating with potential families, encourage them to do so.
- Host virtual tours. Since prospective families cannot come to your campus, go virtual with your tours. A virtual tour and admission office enables you to work with potential families while practicing self-isolation and social distancing measures.
- Don’t stop advertising. A little pivot in your advertising might be necessary. Instead of sticking with your “Apply Now” message, provide families with the information they need. This shows that you support the community and demonstrate your mission at work. Consider the following ideas:
- Physical activity ideas for children and parents
- Tips for creating an ideal homeschool environment
- How parents can talk to their kids about COVID-19 and social distancing
- Make classes available to the public online. Broaden your reach by introducing to people what you can do. Use social media to offer short classes that both parents and kids can attend.
- For Current Families.
- Create an FAQ. Families already with your school have questions. Instead of answering them one by one, create an FAQ document to ensure all parents have a basic understanding of your school’s plans moving forward.
- Talk with the families. Connect with your current families deeper. Have your leadership team check in on them. If you have part-time hourly employees, have them as liaisons for the families. Also, consider holding virtual parent talks based on grade levels.
- Encourage creativity from your teachers. Encourage your teachers to try new things while teaching remotely. Check-in on them: how are they? Do they need more support? Is there anything they’d like to share? If you keep the communication doors open and continue encouraging them, your teachers will be excited to come up and share their ideas of creative remote classroom learning.
Set Up Innovative Online Enrollment Events
Host clever yet low-cost events that showcase the school. For example, host a Zoom video meeting with the principal to talk about the school. Use the video to share images, concepts, and key points with interested parents. You can also host a Facebook Live or Instagram Live with the principal answering common questions from parents.
This is the new normal for schools. Continue your school marketing efforts during COVID-19 and adapt them to the current needs of the students and parents.