Are you beginning to explore marketing strategies for the new school year? Is your district trying to determine the best school marketing tactics to increase student enrollment?
In this article, we explore the best marketing strategy for the new school year.
If you can believe it, we have been trapped in our homes by the COVID global pandemic for almost a year and a half. Our seniors graduating this year will have spent three of their eight semesters behind masks with very few events. People are ready to get out and explore the world again. Is your school district prepared?
The Best Marketing Tactic for Next School Year
As a result of being confined to our homes for so long, more and more people are ready to attend events. They are excited to return to everyday life. School districts need to be prepared to capitalize on this excitement by planning in-person events for the new school year. How well you prepare will determine how successful the results will be.
School districts should be ready to shift their marketing dollars toward event marketing. Instead of billboards, newspaper advertisements, and flyers, your communication departments need to be thinking of an extraordinary event to market your significant initiative for the 2021 – 2022 school year.
5 Tips to Create a Memorable Event
There is much more that goes into event planning than showing up. Events need to be memorable. Events need to create word of mouth. Events need to have a call to action.
1. Determine the Strategy and Goals of the Event
Like any good marketing campaign, you must have a goal in mind. We are not putting on an event to put on an event. Your team must create an event that meets one of your marketing goals. Your goals need to be specific. Cater your event to that particular goal.
Is your goal to increase enrollment? That might be too broad. Why not create an event to increase pre-kindergarten enrollment. The more specific your event becomes, the more specific your audience becomes. When your audience is defined, it is easier to build an event that meets the needs or problems of your audience.
When defining a goal, make it SMART.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely
2. Know Your Audience When Creating Your Event
I preach knowing your audience quite a bit at my marketing speaking events. Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of any great marketing campaign. The same goes for when you are developing your event.
When you know your audience and their pain points or problems, you can create a spectacular event that helps solve their problems. For example, do your parents have difficulty with technology or speak a second language? You better have translators and a technology help crew to help them enroll at your event.
The more you know your audience, the better you can create an event around their likes and dislikes. Did you know you can find a bunch of information about your parents using Facebook’s audience tools? You can see what restaurants they like? What DJ’s they listen to on the radio. You can learn where your audience wants to shop. This data is valuable information.
Your team can use the information you gather from your Facebook analysis to invite a popular radio personality to your event. You can get your audience’s favorite local restaurant to pass free samples or bring a food truck. You can have gift cards from their favorite stores as door prizes. The more you build your event around your audience, the more likely they will come to your event.
3. Spend Most of Your Money on a Grand Centerpiece
You might laugh or balk at tip number three, but think of the images you see on social media. People love to brag about where they are going or where they have been. By creating a spectacular area at your event for pictures, you will increase word of mouth and get more families interested in your programs.
Much of your event budget should be put into creating this picture-worthy visual. This piece will be what your audience remembers. This piece is what their friends are going to ask about in their timelines. Spend to get it right. Spend to make it memorable. The visual will be your selfie station on steroids.
Marketing and brand expert Jeremy Darlow suggests investing 85% of your marketing budget toward this visual. It might seem steep, but a great visual can pay off.
4. Have Your Superstar Teachers at Your Event
Your event numbers will be more significant if families see recognizable faces at your event. Make sure to market your special guests on your pre-promotional campaign for the event. Having personalized event flyers or social media graphics for each of your schools will increase attendance the most. Feature a favorite teacher, counselor or administrator on your brochure. Always show your families the people they trust.
You can take it to the next level by recording personalized videos from teachers inviting their school or classes to the event. It is all about making your audience more comfortable to attend the event. Most of your parents could probably not name one school board member or even the superintendent for your district. Why put them on the flyer? I’m sure close to 90% of your parents know their child’s teacher. Use this to your advantage.
5. Have a Call to Action and a Follow-Up
One of the essential elements of any marketing tactic is to have a call to action and have some way to reach out to your families after said CTA. You will waste your energy by creating an event without some CTA. An effective tactic is collecting email addresses or cell phone numbers to follow up after the event. Another great Call to Action is to have computers at the event for families to enroll in your district.
You must have some form of a call to action and a way to follow up with your families. You might collect email as part of your door prize. Or you might have a website on posters at the event to download a checklist parents can print. If parents are willing to give you an email address or a cell number, they won’t mind a follow-up. Create something to allow you to talk to your audience again.
Extra Tip: Prepare to Have a Hybrid Event
Some families in your district might not be comfortable attending in-person events ever again. You must provide an alternative to these families. You could live stream the event on Facebook. You can hire a company to create a virtual hangout for guests not able to attend. Be creative and find a solution for the families that might be uncomfortable.
Your families have been trapped for a long time. A spectacular district event might be what they need to feel normal again. Your communications and marketing team needs to start thinking about events as a way to boost your marketing in the fall of 2021.
Please follow all local, state and federal guidelines when creating your event.