Marketing Fundamentals: Proving Your School is the Right Choice

We’re continuing a series about marketing fundamentals with the 3rd installment of the series – proving your school is the right choice for your prospects. Now in this series, I’m teaching you a few core private school marketing principles that actually work.

When put into place these fundamentals will make your marketing funnel more simple and more effective, two things that I think are super important given the current state of the industry, and the greater economy. I think this series will go on for a few more weeks, so I encourage you to go back a couple of posts if you haven’t checked them out yet to get caught up.   

 

Today we’ll be talking about proof and the concept of slapping five pounds of it into the hands of your prospects.

Why is Proof Important for Enrollment?

Now, it doesn’t matter what business or industry you’re in. If you sell anything, proving that it does what you say it does will help your case. In most cases, proof is vital to getting the sale. 

What I run into most often is schools not providing enough proof that their school is the best choice. I think this is because we often think that proof has to be elaborate and hard to come by. That it requires extensive research or polling, and while it certainly can entail that it can also be simple. In fact, most schools have enough proof already created they just need to gather it up. 

But, before we get into how to collect or create that proof I want to briefly touch on the importance of it just to drive home the fact that this is a valuable way to spend your time. 

Havas Media does a yearly report to find out how meaningful brands are in the eyes of 395,000 consumers. The 2021 report found that 75% of brands could disappear and be easily replaced. The report cites a “growing expectation gap in consumer’s relationships with brands and businesses” meaning brands are not delivering on their promises or said another way, they’re lacking proof. 

Proof is one of the strongest levers you can pull to convince a prospect that you’re the right choice, and I think I just proved it with the Havas study.

What Happens When You Have Proof?

Now, imagine that you’re meeting with a prospective family. They’ve read your site, you’ve given them the tour, you’ve talked about tuition, and they say “Nick, all this sounds and looks great. But there are three other schools that we’re looking at, why should we come here”?

That’s a question that would leave most people in the administration department rambling down a path that at best usually leaves prospects only kind of wanting to choose your school, or worse leaves them with more questions than they had before. 

That was a question that would also do the same when prospective schools asked me until I took my own advice and collected the proof.

Instead, imagine you receive the same question and you replied with “Well, I’ve shown you all around, I’ve talked to you about what makes us unique, shared our philosophy on education, here is the proof behind all of those claims and then some” and you slap a five-pound stack of papers with research, and studies, and polls, and testimonies, and accreditations, and recommendations, and student profiles, and more into their hands.

How do you think they’ll respond? Do you think they’d be more likely to believe that you are who you say you are? That you’ll do what you say you do? Do you think they’d be more comfortable entrusting you to educate their child?

I’m willing to bet that they would be.

Five Pounds of Proof & Where to Find it

When I say a five-pound stack of proof, I’m exaggerating a little bit but if you can swing five pounds then by all means do it.

But, I do in fact mean having physical examples of this proof. If you don’t and you just tell them the impact won’t be nearly as large.

So, what’s the proof that you collect? Literally, anything that paints your school in a good light is fair game.

I’ve mentioned a few above but I’ll list them here again and give you some others to start with.

  • Testimonies – both collected on different review sites like Google, Niche, Great Schools, and those collected directly from reaching out to your best students and parents
  • The number of reviews you have across all of those review platforms
  • Your rank on sites like Niche and Great Schools 
  • Your accreditations and what it takes to be accreditated/the significance of it
  • Student profiles – printed out that show a student’s journey through your school year after year and what they went on to achieve after they graduated 
  • Any significant school history 
  • Anything significant about your classroom sizes or your teaching staff history  
  • Significant information about the inclusivity of your student body and teaching staff and how you ensure remain inclusive or if you’re not where you want to be yet how you plan on getting there and how you remain accountable
  • Printouts of publications that your school or your staff has been featured in
  • Anonymous from your parents and students about how they rank the school in different areas 
  • Anything significant about your student’s graduation rates, GPAs, test scores, leadership qualities, life skills, emotional and spiritual development, etc. 

These are a few of the places where you can start gathering this proof. Don’t let it feel daunting either a lot of this information can be gathered without having to do any extensive research. You just need to congregate what’s already out there into one place. 

What do you think? Let’s talk about it on LinkedIn or leave a comment below. I’ve been Nick and I’ll see you next week! 

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