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Marketing When Your Seats are Full

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We sometimes hear from schools who feel they can take their foot off the gas and stop investing in marketing when their school is full (usually defined as having no spots open for next fall, with waitlists for key entry point grades). 

While that idea might sound logical at first, we want schools to know that it’s always a good practice to maintain your school’s marketing efforts, even if your admissions goals have been met.

Here’s why:

  • Growing your application pool allows your admissions team to select better and better candidates who are the best fit for your school and your admissions goals. 
  • Staying in the market helps your current families continue to feel great about their choice and builds loyalty. 
  • Being visible and consistent with your brand and your message out in the community helps you maintain your position as a school of choice. It also allows you to control your own messaging/reputation instead of letting others decide who you are. 
  • Your absence in the market creates space for your competitors to own a greater share of voice – and therefore competing awareness among shared potential families.
  • You can focus on other projects that will ultimately improve your brand and help you reach new goals.

We think about these ‘full seats’ seasons as investment seasons. This doesn’t necessarily mean a financial investment – but rather a chance for you to focus on the projects, priorities, and ideas that will set you up for success now and in the future and continue to position your school as a first choice for right fit families.

So let’s talk about how to ‘invest’ during these seasons. We always recommend keeping your digital and traditional ads in market in (at least) a basic, best-practice form – but you may be able to redirect a portion of this spending into other projects, or (even better) you can use your success to ask for more. Your team may also find they have a little bit more time to invest in other marketing ideas. 

These seasons are precious, and we don’t want you to waste the opportunity. Our private and independent school marketing experts offer these seven tips for consideration (and action). 

1. Invest in secondary audiences

In tougher admissions seasons, we tend to focus on primary audiences: the families who are obvious right fits for the school today. Right now, you have the luxury of looking up and looking around to see which families you might want to market to next in order to improve the health of your funnel. 

These audiences might include:

  • More diverse families
  • Families in new geos or neighborhoods
  • Newly admitted families – to maintain your position as their school of choice
  • Current families – to grow and build loyalty and confidence in their choice
  • Families with special interests that match your school’s strengths or priorities  (i.e. science, music, athletics)
  • Families who’ve been in your admissions pool for a while (with 2-4 year olds)

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