Private School Education Marketing Quick Tip: Elevator Tour Pitch

I’m starting these short notes for education marketing. They help when there’s an idea, but not enough time to sit down and write an entire post.

Can you explain your program in 30 seconds or less? You’ve probably heard of the elevator pitch, and you have to be able to do the same thing for your education programs. The first time you meet a prospective student, you don’t have time to go into the details, so sit down and write the best possible 30 second pitch.

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Importance of the feeling of a private school tour for marketing

Perfect your school tour’s spontaneity and personalization.

Students want a school to educate them, but they also desire to love attending, and actually being there. A natural and unplanned feeling is a feeling of excitement, which is something every potential student is seeking as part of their education experience. School tours need to have that feeling (however its eventually achieved is best determined by you, and the programs offered at your school). Tours also need to express “home” insofar as it feels very personal: saying hello to students on campus (and knowing their name, asking about their classes, etc.). Personal and spontaneous; every tour will end with a smile. And nearly every tour that ends with a smile results in an application.

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Are your marketing materials consistant in message and branding?

Throw all your marketing materials onto a table and step back.

How does the stack of print materials look? All your brochures, flyers, invitations, etc. Is the branding consistent across all materials? Does each postcard, micro-page, course catalog, and brochure have a distinctive intention in the promotion or admissions sequence? Can you categorize them so that they line up chronologically as if they actually display your marketing plan and timeline? If not: fix it. PLAN. And above all, make certain your branding and graphic design is integrated in all materials from start to finish for the entire admissions process (inquiry to student orientation package). Parents and students should be able to catch a glimpse of a small corner of any of your materials hidden under other magazines on the coffee table and instantly distinguish it as yours from that glimpse.

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Approach to hiring admissions staff for your school

Cast your private school admissions staff.

Establishing a personal connection with people requires a great personality and a keen ability to read, understand, and listen to people. I allow that a high-quality admissions person, who is fundamentally assertively sales-driven, can do a excellent job at enrolling students. However, the standard push, push, push admissions model always dissuades  a significant quantity of potential students. As such, in the name of “making a connection” with students, I’ve realized the most success when staffing a new school is more like you’re casting a movie (or sit-com) and less like a conventional “who has the best resume and can type the most words per minute”. This approach does sometimes mean that you have to do more staff training, and time is required to get all the pieces of the staff puzzle to get into place, but once you have a good dynamic within your admissions team, your student conversion rate will definitely increase.

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Get industry authority by giving away free information

Don’t protect information: Spread it.

Most important with a target demo that is almost exclusively Internet savvy, the truth is anyone can find the “information” that you teach at your institution. They cannot get the experience, the scene, the teaching staff, all those things that make a school a school, but they CAN find the information… so horde it? Distribute it! The more you open the doors (both physically on campus as well as metaphorically with online webinars, resources, videos, etc.) the more your school becomes the authority on the subject matter. It gets your school’s name on all the topics relevant to that which you teach. It demonstrates your school not only knows the information, but is a leader and an authority on the topic.

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