Attracting Prospective Families

The foundational part of any school marketing plan needs to be the identification of your target customers.  Developing customer personas is one of the most important steps to take in building a strong enrollment system.

Change your thinking when you are marketing your school.  You shouldn't be reciting facts and figures, but instead, you need to be telling the story of your school.  Here is guidance on how to become a great school storyteller.

As the father of two sons who experienced the wonderful benefits of Catholic schools, I want them to be successful.  But marketing a Catholic School requires you to understand and counteract the negative perceptions people have of the church and Catholic schools.  Here is guidance on the best way to do that.

You know you need to have a school blog, but when you sit down to write, the dreaded writer's block stops you in your tracks.  Here are 20 ideas for your school's blog

Many schools make the mistake in thinking that their brand is merely their logo or their mascot.  Your school's brand are the attributes and emotions that parents and students have when they think about your school.  In this post we talk about how you can identify your school's brand and begin to shape it in the eyes of your prospective families

How do parents shop for a school?  It is a multi-step process that if you understand it well, you will be able to increase the likelihood that they will enroll in your school.  Here is how to do it.

For millions of families, including my own, Catholic school provides more than just an education. It represents community, spirituality, and tradition.   But Catholic schools are in crisis.  Enrollment is dropping and many schools are closing or consolidating.  In this post, we walk through the different strategies that a Catholic school should undertake to improve enrollment.  

The first step when a family is looking for a school is often turning towards Google and doing a search for schools in their area.  Even though your school website may be launched and a great representation of your school, unless the back end work of improving its' SEO or Search Engine Optimization work is completed, your chances of being found on the first page will be low.  In this post, we talk about some steps schools can make to improve their SEO.  

Prioritizing all the tasks for a busy school enrollment professional is difficult.  As you look to understand what is truly important to get done, you might enjoy this post on the five must have digital assets for your school.

With the explosion of different advertising channels, more and more companies are turning to inbound marketing to attract customers.  Inbound marketing is perfectly suited for schools because it depends upon a school creating great content and telling stories.  In this post, we talk about how to use inbound marketing for your school.  

Your school has a rigorous, articulated curriculum that employs integrated modules in a child-centered, data-driven instructional paradigm that prepares students for 21st Century challenges. There’s only one problem: Parents have no idea what you’re talking about. Like every profession, education has its’ own vernacular and shorthand.  But when you are talking to parents, it is important that you use the language that they understand.

With the first of the year, most of us set down our resolutions for the coming year.  This might be losing a few pounds, saving more or spending more time connecting with friends and family. Here are some resolutions designed to be attainable and to improve your school's enrollment

What were our most read blog posts in 2019?  Here is a list of everything that your peers (and competition) was learning about in 2019.

2Enrollment fairs are a critical part of the educational shopping experience for many parents.  Being stationed side by side with your competitors can be intimidating for some schools, but don't be nervous.  In this article, we run through the critical things you need to do to maximize your presence at school enrollment fairs.

Your students can be an incredibly powerful tool in your enrollment marketing.  Showing off what impressive young men and women your school helps to mold should be a cornerstone of your enrollment efforts.  In this post we talk about how to create a student ambassador program.

It is only a matter of time before our economy ends this incredible bull run and slips into a recession.  With many schools possessing few financial reserves, what should you be doing now to prepare for the hard economic times to come?

We all know that social media is an incredibly powerful and important tool to be using in enrollment marketing.  But how does your school compare to other schools?  This is a great survey of social media usage by schools around the world.

The first impression of your school by prospective parents often sets the tone for what they think about your school.  It can often be the difference between a family who enrolls and one who moves on to a different school.  Here are ways to improve your first impression.

Understanding what your prospective parents are looking for in a school is a critical foundational part of a strong enrollment marketing system.  Using an example from the automotive industry, we talk about understanding parental goals and aspirations for their children.  If you are not attracting enough students, it might be because you are not emphasizing the things that are important to them.  This post explains how to understand what your parents value in a school

A cadre of supportive volunteers is often the difference between a good school and a great one.  This post talks about how to create an engaged volunteer base at your school.

Though graduation represents the end for many of your students, it also is a great opportunity to showcase the success of your school to prospective families.  Showing how you turn young boys and girls into confident and successful young men and women is a great way to improve your school's enrollment.

Your back-to-school night is often the foundational step in building a strong school community.  Since it is easier to retain students compared to recruiting new ones, every school marketer should be focused on making sure that they are doing everything possible to make parents happy and engaged.  That starts with their first back to school night.  Here are some tips for ensuring that you are starting them off the right way.

You’ve done the hard work of marketing your school, telling your story, and you’ve attracted a fantastic group of new families to join your school community. Congratulations!   Now the work of helping these families know they made the right decision and filling them with confidence and excitement about the years to come begins.  Creating a strong parent orientation program will strengthen your school's community and improve retention.

One of the most powerful marketing tools your school has at its disposal is the powerful, positive voices of your current parents. Positive stories in local media, great reviews online, impressive test scores, and national recognition all demonstrate your excellence, but there’s nothing as powerful to a prospective parent as the personal experience of another parent.  Here is a guide for setting up your parent ambassador program.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  – Maya Angelou   We don’t always think about customer service at your school when you embark upon ways to improve your student enrollment, but it can make a huge difference in both attracting new families and keeping the ones you have.  Here are five tips to improve your school's customer service.

Once a parent visits your website or engages with you in a school tour or a shadow day, what are you doing to keep your school top of mind and continuing the nurturing process? In this post, we talk about how to build an email nurturing process to turn the interested parent into the enrolled family.

All roads in the enrollment journey eventually lead back to your school's website.  Regardless of how they first heard about you, eventually all of your prospective parents will visit your website.  Here are steps for making your website compelling and effective.

Email marketing can be one of your school’s most powerful enrollment tools and can turn prospective or interested parents into enrolled parents.   But email marketing requires email addresses which can be hard to get.  Offering something of value to parents like a "Lead Magnet" is a great way to gather contact information that will allow you to market to your prospective parents.

Done right, school enrollment marketing can eat up a lot of time. There are only so many hours during the day, and with announcements, meetings, prospective family tours, and student events, working on your school marketing can get lost in the shuffle, or worse, de-prioritized until you are in crisis. Here are some tricks on how to become more efficient in your efforts.

Communication to all of a school’s key stakeholders is one of the hardest things to do well.  But it is one of the most critical things that a school needs to master.  The impressiona parent has of the school is shaped by what the child relates, but also by the communication that the parent has with the school.  Here are some tips on improving your school's communication.

Data is impacting all facets of education, including enrollment efforts. Understanding your enrollment data is key for improving your school's overall marketing efforts.  In this post we talk about how you can use your data to gather insights and to focus on what will improve your efforts the most.

Blogging is not just an exercise in vanity; it can be an incredibly effective avenue of communication between the administration and parents. The creative freedom inherent in blogging can facilitate a deeper connection with parents and families, who often want to know just as much about the school as they do about the person running it.  Here is why your school needs a principal's blog.

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 or call us at 317-361-5255.

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