Ready to Grow?

4 Enrollment Growth Strategies that Work

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 9, 2014 9:33:57 PM
Scott Barron

Keeping families and students committed and loyal is important for every school, just like companies who sell to schools want to keep their customers close. I recently heard about a company that is threatening to sue schools that opt for a competitor's service. Not smart! Limiting a client's ability to choose the best available option is a not an advisable customer relationship strategy. Instead, you might want to try a combination of the following enrollment building methods.

Provide a Continuum of Engagement

Continuum of Engagement

Give prospective students and families a path of engagement that scaffolds their level of commitment. At first they might only provide some basic contact information based on interest in information provided on your website, social media, and/or video. Your continuum can then invite them to participate in a training program, webinar, or open house that creates dialogue and deeper connection. Next they may submit an application for one of your programs (e.g., school, summer camp, after school, sports, arts, homeschool coop, etc.). If accepted, they may enroll and be cultivated into an ambassador and a donor/investor for the school.

Learn from Current and Prospective Students

Avoid the curse of knowledge where you forget what it's like to not be fully engaged in the mission and culture of your school. Listen. Really listen! Humility is required to accept that you likely don't know what families really want today. People change, times change. Some consultants use focus groups to learn from the market. Speak to students and parents through phone calls, personal visits, and group dialogue. This data will be valuable as you continue your innovation cycle for school improvement, connecting the dots to create meaningful, modern solutions.

Deliver 5% More

Going the extra mile is still the best way to build profound relationships. That's why Jesus used this advice as an example for his disciples within the context of explaining ministry and grace (Matthew 5:41). Surprising students and families with 5% more than they expect gives you the ability to keep their attention and mindshare. That's how you maximize word-of-mouth marketing and grapevine buzz to grow enrollment across the school. The quality of your school should be so consistently high that they cannot deny your value proposition, and this extra level of service will deliver enrollment growth.

Respond (Don't React)

Top quality service to your families includes being prepared to respond to negative situations. Stuff happens, but you don't have to be suprised by it and it doesn't have to wreck your school culture. Bad publicity and gossip is inevitable, so don't be your own worst enemy by creating poor relationships with families. Be prepared with the training and processes to make the "unexpected" expected. Make every effort to keep your people happy--faculty, students, parents, etc.--and they'll be more likely to loyally support you through difficult times.

Topics: Enrollment

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