We’re four posts into a series where we’re talking about how to increase student retention rates.
Let me just say that right now is the time to look at your retention programs and start them up again if you haven’t already.
If you’re one of the many private schools that have been enjoying a waitlist then that goes double for you. When the times are good like they’ve been for a couple of years now, marketing tends to get pushed to the back burner and that could not be more dangerous.
But, I get it. Traditionally, marketing is only at the front of school leaders’ minds when enrollment rates are down or there are spots to be filled up.
I’d like to remind you that part of our job as school marketers is to communicate the importance of continuing to run marketing programs regardless of good times or bad times.
We need to be efficient communicators when it comes to this because so much of marketing is a snowball.
Every campaign builds on top of the next one. See, private education is a considered purchase. That means there is not much you can do to convince a prospect that they need to enroll in your school.
In many ways, it’s like my marketing agency. If you don’t need my services, I can’t convince you that you do.
So, the only thing you can do is be the school that they think of when they are considering that purchase. That means continuing to run marketing programs when the times are good and when the times are tough.
Advertising for Schools
Does Direct Mail Marketing Still Work?
Okay, so we’ve talked about email marketing and direct mail marketing for increasing student retention. Today we’re going to talk about running remarketing ads. You might be thinking, “Why would I spend money to advertise to my current families” to which I would remind you of the stats we talked about in episode 6 of the podcast or in this post
The most notable stat: it’s 7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one.
Need I say more? I could probably just end this blog here, right? But, I know it’s easier said than done.
So let’s talk about advertising to your current families. Remarketing is what it’s called. Thankfully, (and it’s kind of scary when you consider the power they wield) by using only two companies you can appear like your school is “everywhere” online.
Can you guess those two companies?
Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram).
Facebook Advertising for Private Schools
How to Do Remarketing Advertising for Schools
I think we’ve made the argument for why it’s important to be “everywhere” as your current families are browsing around the web, so I’m going to touch on how to do it and the content that you should show them for the remainder of this post.
Today, any digital ad platform will give you the option to remarket or retarget.
By adding a snippet of code to your site (called a pixel) you can show ads to people that have been to your website or to a specific page on your website.
You’ll also have the option to upload a list of your families to show ads specifically to them.
There are a lot of options available for retargeting but for now, just know that this is how you can get in front of them and only them.
Advertising Ideas for Schools
Now, for the type of content. I can guarantee that you’ve been in companies remarketing pool. If you’ve ever seen an ad for a product you have in your cart then you know what I’m talking about. In some cases, you might have continued to see the same ads for weeks on end and said to yourself “how the heck are they following me around”.
That’s what we want to avoid. We don’t want your remarketing to be creepy or annoying. We want them to be suggestive and helpful. Like “hey, you might be interested in this. Check it out if you so please”.
In order to accomplish this, you need a pretty good-sized pool of content. I’d say at least 15 to 20 different pieces of content.
That way, people rarely see the same ad twice within a week period or so.
Now, don’t let that scare you. Chances are you already have that amount of continent on your social media platforms. Remember from the direct mail marketing post, you can repurpose your content.
You don’t need to come up with new ideas for every platform. Helpful, valuable, informational, educational, entertaining, proof, news, updates, unique points of view… these are all the themes that your remarketing ads can reflect.
What you’ll find, if done right, is your families will develop a deeper sense of loyalty. Pride in the school and be proud to be a part of what you’re doing.
Why? Because you look like you’re the best place for them to send their kids. How? Because your helpful, valuable, and informational content is “everywhere” and that means that you must know what you’re doing right?
I mean, no other school is showing them so many different examples of how they’re the right choice. So, you must be the best option in the area.
This is one of the most effective ways to increase student retention AND it’s probably the most affordable way to do it.
Often, remarketing campaigns don’t need to cost more than $500 per month in advertising spend.
So, my hope for you this week is that you use my explanation of why marketing programs are important to run year-round regardless of the state of your admissions to get your leadership team on board with the idea.
And, that you would explore setting up a remarketing campaign on either Google or Facebook. Start affirming your families as to why they’re right for choosing your school again and again, on autopilot might I add, with remarketing ads.
Until next time,
I’ve been Nick.