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A Comprehensive Marketing Guide for Charter Schools


Wondering how to recruit students for charter schools? Well, there used to be a time when there was no need to wonder; parents simply sent their children to the closest school and hoped for the best. Today, there are more school choices than ever, and that means more competition. Fortunately, the nature of a charter school means that you have some autonomy in how you get the word out about your institution, and developing a comprehensive charter school marketing plan can put your name on the map and ultimately result in more students.

 

To increase enrollment, fundraising, and community support, follow these four charter school marketing strategies.


Charter School Marketing Strategy #1: Define Your Brand

Great marketing is about more than just putting your product in front of people; it’s about finding and connecting with audiences whose values align with your own. It’s about communicating your school’s unique identity, reputation, and vision. And it starts with defining your brand.

 

To define your charter school’s unique brand identity, first establish what makes your school different from the rest. Perhaps it puts greater emphasis on STEM. Maybe it employs project-based learning methods. Maybe it is your dual language program or a unique curriculum.  Whatever makes it different, lock it down and spell it out.

 

Next, identify your target audience and determine a clear mission. Who will connect with your values, and what will you do for them? Your target audience could be parents who live within a certain distance from the school, or parents with politically progressive attitudes. Your mission might be to serve your local community or bring in children from diverse areas. No matter what it is, it’s crucial that you define it.

 

Since you will be communicating your brand through marketing materials, it’s also important to develop guidelines for those materials and maintain a consistent tone and style throughout while creating one of the best charter school recruitment strategies. Whether you are emailing a newsletter or hosting a fundraiser, everything from your graphic design to your messaging needs to sync up.


Charter School Marketing Strategy #2: Communication Is Key

Every strategic marketing plan for schools involves improving communication. Now that you have defined your brand, it’s time to plan communications activities that will expand your school’s presence, develop relationships with the community, and encourage referrals.

 

Here are a few tips for improving your school’s communication, both inside and outside our school community.


Increase Awareness of Your School with Events

Putting on or participating in events is a great way to connect with the community and forge lasting relationships. Here are a few event ideas:

If you are not the organizer, ask if you can set up a table to increase awareness of your school with the people who are attending. Remember, always capture the names of prospective parents at these events so you can follow up later.


Get Your Entire School on the Same Page

To amplify your brand and maintain consistency in your messaging, it’s helpful to educate your staff and board on your school’s key messages. Ensure that everyone understands the school’s mission, vision, and values, and knows which ideas to emphasize and repeat when interacting with the public.


Focus on In-person Interactions

Speaking of interacting, communicating with people face-to-face goes a long way towards building trust, rapport, and loyalty among parents, staff members, and the community as a whole. So encourage your team to interact with others when the opportunity presents itself. And these interactions don’t have to be delegated to events or functions, either. Greet a parent who is dropping their child off. Introduce yourself to a new vendor when they’re loading in cafeteria supplies. People are more likely to talk about your school if they know you, and more likely to refer others to it if they like you.

Charter School Marketing Strategy #3: Prioritize Digital Marketing

Establishing an online presence and connecting with others digitally is just as important as holding events or interacting in the halls. A comprehensive digital charter school marketing plan includes:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Charter Schools

SEO is the process of optimizing your website and web presence in such a way that it achieves greater visibility in search engines. Having good SEO means someone Googling “charter schools” in your area is more likely to find yours. Having great SEO means they’re more likely to find yours first.

Tips to maximize your charter school’s SEO:


Read also about how you can enhance your website to create engagement and identify prospects in our comprehensive article Making Your School Website a True Marketing Asset.  Or, if you feel that your website is in good shape, but you want to think more about SEO, we covered SEO for Charter Schools in this article.

Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Social media offers you a place to establish a positive digital presence in a visual environment. It helps keep parents, students, teachers, and the community informed of news and events. It’s also a great tool to celebrate student accomplishments and memorialize small moments from the school day.

Tips to build a strong social media presence for your charter school:


Read more about how you can maximize the use of social media to market your school in our comprehensive article Improving Your School’s Social Media Activities.

Promote Your Charter School with Google Ads

While organic traffic is hugely important, a healthy balance between organic and paid traffic can maximize your marketing potential. And because SEO and other organic traffic strategies tend to take time, the topmost benefit of Google Ad is that it works fast. Both SEO and Google Ads are search engine marketing strategies that generate more traffic and leads, but a well-optimized Google Ads campaign can quickly put your school at the top of Google.

Use Email Marketing

Because it is so versatile, email marketing is an essential element of any successful digital strategy for charter schools. You can use it to organize events, promote services, or simply say hi. Email newsletters, for example, help to keep prospective parents informed of your upcoming events as well as what is happening at your school. A polite but steady stream of relevant and useful information can also build trust, loyalty, and happiness within the community.

Tips to create a successful email marketing campaign for your charter school:


Charter School Marketing Strategy #4: Conduct Satisfaction Surveys

At the end of the day, however, the best way to promote your charter school is to have happy parents singing your praises to their friends and families.  Increasing your word of mouth is the best way to drive greater enrollment.  But how do you know if your parents are satisfied with your school?  The best thing that you can do is to ask them.

Tips for using parental satisfaction surveys to promote your charter school


Charter School Marketing Key Takeaways


When used in tandem, these marketing ideas for charter schools all work together to create a strong, recognizable brand identity that reaches, engages, and recruits the right people.


To build a maximally effective charter school marketing strategy, consider hiring a marketing agency such as Bright Minds Marketing!


Lets Chat!

Nick LeRoy

Nick LeRoy, MBA, is the president of Bright Minds Marketing and former Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board. Bright Minds Marketing provides enrollment and recruitment consulting to private, Catholic and charter schools. For information about how Bright Minds Marketing can help your school improve its’ student enrollment, send an email to nick@brightmindsmarketing.com or call us at 317-361-5255.

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