Recruitment season is knocking on your door. Are you ready? Here are six things you can do now to prepare for your most successful recruitment season yet!
1. Build Your Base
Don’t wait! Spring is the perfect opportunity to build your base. Consider hosting a variety of events and offerings now, specifically for preschool and kindergarten age children. These moms are ready and school shopping! Target them using Facebook ads, mom-to-mom blogger publications and word-of-mouth.
2. Plan for the Future
Get a team together consisting of no more than eight people that includes members from your staff, parents and if applicable, a board member. Together, plan out your entire recruitment and retention efforts for the 2015/16 school year, starting with the new fiscal year which is July 1.
What are you going to do this summer to build excitement around your school offerings? If you are hosting events (which I hope you are), how will you reach parents to get them to come out? Think through all the details… Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter approach. Every single community is different!
What does a marketing plan look like, you ask? Enter your name and email below to download our marketing plan template. It’s free… and a great place to start!
3. Put Yourself in a Prospective Parent’s Shoes
This is a must-do experiment for all school leaders on regular basis. As you are pulling up to your school building, think of yourself as a new parent eager and nervous to be coming for their first tour. What do you see as you pull in? How is the campus being cared for? Is the signage helpful? Does it need revamping? Is it inviting? Would you be happy to send your children to this school? As you walk into the main office, think through how you might be able to do some enhancements to make this even more enticing and welcoming. Take it even further: listen closely to how parents are being treated by the front staff person, how the phone is being answered, etc. Then, go to your website. What does it look like? Is the content being updated? It should be relevant on a daily basis. Is it time for a facelift? Evaluate and add all those needs into your recruitment planning process and make success happen!
4. Tighten and/or Enhance Your Enrollment Process
Do you have a process in place for enrollment? When a parent enrolls their child, do they receive a notification that the application has been received? Are they automatically added to receive communication from the school to keep their interest lasting? What happens when they are accepted? Do they receive a certificate making them feel special and appreciated to be a formal member of the school community? The time is now to make sure this process is in place and being embraced by those staff members responsible for executing.
5. Collect Emails and USE THEM!
As a school leader, you must embrace and use email communication often. Too many schools fail to ask for email addresses. This is a complete missed opportunity! Make sure now that you are collecting emails and sending regular messages of importance to your school community and PROSPECTIVE families. From a recruitment standpoint, this is an amazing opportunity to continuously re-sell why your school is the best choice for them!
Your email communication can be as simple as sending a quick message from your email address, inviting everyone to an upcoming event, or you can use one of the many email management services available to help you build a custom branded email. These services also help with list management, so you can see who is opening your emails and how often. MailChimp, Constant Contact and our favorite, Campaign Monitor, are all great options to consider!
6. Leverage Facebook and Post Daily
No matter your community, Facebook should be a huge part of your communication strategy and recruitment efforts. Do you have someone on-staff owning this and ensuring that a schedule is being followed and posts are made daily? Do you personally have presence on the Facebook page? You should! Perception is reality. Facebook is an incredibly easy way to share all the awesome school happenings with others and generate buy-in to your programs.
Check out our online community Socially Sound, where our goal is to empower schools to fully engage and connect with their communities through unique communication strategies. Here you will find expert tips from marketing communications specialist, Ally Padden, on how to use Facebook to make the biggest impact on your school community.
Please contact Tonya Holcomb at tonyaholcomb [at] choiceschools.com with any questions you have about your school’s recruitment marketing plan. Best of luck!