Although you may not think it because students aren’t in session, summer is the perfect time to market your school. With families out of school and looking for activities, with less noise from competitors, savvy schools have a real opportunity to stand out from the crowd and capture new students for the fall.
Here are a few ways to market your school during the summer:
Host a summer open house
Although potential families won’t be able to see the dynamic of what’s happening at your school without students there, it’s a great opportunity for them to tour the facilities and ask questions without getting distracted by the action around them.
Go out into the community
Attend community events and get involved. This is an easy way to meet potential families and let them know about your school. When we were looking at moving to a new town years ago, we attended a free concert in the park where it seemed like the entire town was gathered. A PTO from the local school district had a booth where they were giving away free books to children. We mentioned we weren’t part of the school district, and were told, “That’s okay! Welcome to ________ School District and enjoy your books!” Wow.
Use social media
Batch create and schedule your posts with highlights from the year, any summer activities and blog posts that speak to your messaging. You can also consider hosting Facebook Lives on topics that align with school such as, “How to prepare your child for kindergarten in the fall” or share tips to prevent the summer learning slide on Reels.
Partner with local businesses
If you’re a music school, see if a few student musicians or teachers can perform at a local event or fundraiser. My daughter’s band was asked to play at a fundraiser for adoptive families and, subsequently, her music school (which happened to be right down the street) was subtly promoted to hundreds of potential students.
You could also consider hosting a summer camp or event related to your school. Parents are always in need of options for the summer, and even if you only have something for a few hours a day, it’s considered a great service. Can you host a drama camp in your empty auditorium? How about a yoga camp in your gym or outside the building? In our district, a local gym owner partners with the rec department to run strength and conditioning programs for athletes, while an elementary school brought the well-known owner of a yoga studio in to run short, “Yoga for Kids” sessions in the gym.
Don’t forget about traditional marketing methods
Flyers up throughout the community, postcards and ads in the local newspaper or parent magazine can still be effective – just be sure to measure the effectiveness and ROI!
Answer your calls, emails and DMs
I was recently working with a school district that dropped a bombshell on me: there would be no one manning the phones or enrollment inbox over the summer. Um, excuse me? Summer is a prime time for families to physically move (we just saw a family tour the house across the street last night) or to explore their options for the next school year (I’m actually touring a potential new school for one of my kids in a few weeks).
I have news for you: if you’re not there to respond to potential families’ inquiries, chances are your competitors will be. Trust me…I secret shop hundreds of schools from private to charter to public to micro-schools each year for clients and many do a phenomenal job at getting right back to you and following up. Others? Well, let’s just say, it only takes a few minutes to respond to a family, and in those few minutes, you have the opportunity to build a relationship and leave them with a great impression.
So, with that, what are you doing to market your school over the summer? Leave a comment below.
For School Comms Lab members, check your portal for our upcoming monthly trainings, member calls and new templates that will help you in your summer marketing efforts.