Why Digital Marketing, Part 1
Independent private school recruiting used to be simpler. It was certainly never easy. But it was simpler.
It used to be that schools could control (to a great extent) what parents and kids heard and learned about their schools.
Every year, the admissions team would work on a big glossy brochure explaining the school’s value and highlighting its strengths, history, and unique features. The students and teachers would be smiling in the photos. The National Merit finalists would be listed. The colleges the past year’s graduating seniors were attending (and the scholarships they received) would be listed. Athletic accomplishments would be emphasized.
Throughout the year, the team might also do some newsletter mailings. The newsletters might include an article on some interesting research the science teacher did over the summer, how the soccer team went to state, a story about how a senior received his Eagle Scout badge, a spring break service project some juniors did, etc.
There would be open house days where prospective families could visit the school. (The school would put forth it’s best showing, of course.)
There would be “shadow days” were prospective students could tag along with a current student to get a sense of the school. (You could make sure the visiting student was paired with a friendly, upbeat, and outgoing current student to make sure the visiting student’s experience was positive.)
Maybe a prospective parent would call the school if he or she had some particular questions or concerns. And, of course, the school would be able to answer those concerns in a way that put its best foot forward.
The school was more or less in control of the information prospective families received about it.
Of course, ALL of the above practices are still necessary (and even essential) for effective recruiting.
But they are no longer sufficient.