We’re three posts into a series about increasing student retention programs – why they’re important and how to run them. This is the third post in that series. The overarching idea here is twofold.
One is that you should be spending more money on keeping students and less on getting new ones.
Two – You should run a student retention program year-round NOT just when your student retention rates drop. By then it’s too late.
The last post and podcast episode (episode 7) was about email marketing. In today’s episode, I’m teaching you how to use direct mail marketing to increase your student retention rates.
Direct Mail Marketing for Increasing Student Retention
Does Direct Mail Marketing Still Work?
Yes. direct mail marketing. Usually, that garners the same response email marketing gets from private school marketers… which is really? Direct marketing? Isn’t that so old school?
Well, yes. Direct mail marketing is one of the oldest marketing methods of the modern day and like many historic practices the art of it is dead and gone. That is precisely why I like it so much. Similar to email marketing, direct mail marketing has become generic. Very generic. It’s no mistake that “junk mail” applies both to emails and direct mailers. So, that makes it a ripe platform to stand out with just a few simple best practices.
But first, some more reasons why direct mail marketing is still a viable option for student retention.
- You put something into the hands of your prospects. That can’t be said for most marketing efforts. Especially when you’re talking about the scale at which you can deliver bulk mail.
- If good, your mail will stay in their home. That means every time they walk by it they think of your school.
- You can pretty much guarantee that they will interact with it since they have to touch it
- It’s affordable. Your average postcard-style mailer will cost around $0.30 each
- It’s got an official appeal to it. Written words are more trustworthy than digital content
How Does Direct Mail Marketing Work?
Okay, so how do you use direct mail to increase your student retention? As mentioned above, this is a great platform to ensure you get your information into the hands of your families. Plus, everyone likes receiving something in the mail. It feels special like you are part of an exclusive group or club. That makes it a better option than handing out the info to your students to give to their parents. That feeling of curiosity and excitement is the feeling we want to create with your mailers.
Yes, you can use direct mail as a marketing platform for getting new student enrollments as well. But, don’t forget, we’re talking about increasing retention rates by using this platform so the information that you mail out should be geared towards that. What type of information is that?
How to Do Direct Mail Marketing
Well, in a lot of ways it’s similar to what we covered in this post. Here’s the thing about marketing. The ideas behind your campaign don’t have to change for each platform you use. You just need to figure out how that message will translate across each platform. In other words, you don’t need to come up with entirely new messaging, goals, and ideas for your student retention direct mail campaign.
You can take the content that you’re already using in your email marketing and tailor it to fit direct mail. That might mean resizing and reformatting, adding a different QR code or landing page so you can track results or other small adjustments but the bulk of your messaging can remain the same.
So let’s recap what type of content you can send out to your families through direct mail that will help increase your student retention rates.
From the last post
- Ways to connect with your child
- How to strengthen your family bond
- Time-saving/scheduling tips
- Updates on dangerous or helpful social media trends
And a few new ideas
- State of the union from the principal
How Often Should Schools Send Direct Mail?
Certainly, as kids enter key enrollment junctions like as they enter a new grade level. We would recommend quarterly. Also, don’t forget to get back in front of your families during the summer.
Prior to summer starting you can mail a packet of information containing ways to maximize their family time, local activities that are happening over the next couple of months, places to visit and what to do when they are there, and guidance on important talks that parents need to have with their children about sensitive subjects like school violence, sex, and the like.
You’ll also want to get back in front of them a month or so before summer ends to remind them that your school is still the right place for their kid this year. Information about how your school is growing, making changes and updates to the campus, new staff hires, how you’re solving problems that were brought to your attention in the previous year, awards and accreditations from your school and your staff, etc.
Consider this a mini publication or magazine that your school puts together. Yes, you’ll want information about your school peppered throughout BUT the majority of it should be helpful, valuable, or entertaining content.
The goal of these packets is to position your school as a source of information for your families. By doing this, you’re demonstrating that you are the authority on education, family, and student development. That makes them know, like, and trust you in a way that simply can’t be accomplished without distributing this type of information.
Honestly, hardly any schools are doing this. It’s very likely that you’ll be the only school in your area that is marketing themselves this way. That means there is a boatload of opportunities for you to take advantage of. So, before next week’s episode airs I challenge you to seriously brainstorm what this type of content would look like for your school. Step one is to get those ideas on paper, step two will be to figure out what platforms to distribute that content on. Before we move on to the other channels in the upcoming episodes I’d like you to commit to producing this content on a regular basis. From there you can choose the one platform that makes the most sense given your resources. You just have to start.
Until next time,
I’ve been Nick.