Why should parents want their children to attend your school? What is your compelling value proposition?
That's the challenge EVERY school leadership has to solve: Deeply understanding the needs and wants of their target market of families and then creating a combination of services and experiences that progressively build engagement.
Your value proposition describes the compelling benefits you provide for your target market of families. The more they desire your combination of value, the more likely you are to grow. That Story is the key driver of your enrollment (and fundraising) marketing strategy.
Is your value proposition more of an aspirin or a vitamin?
In other words, does the educational experience you deliver fix or prevent a headache (or heart attack)? Do you meet a need that is a high priority? Will they lose out if they don’t have it? Is there a sense of urgency to attain it?
If the answer is "Yes!" to these questions, then you're on the right track because families will feel and prioritize the benefits that you deliver. Painkillers are in high demand because of the sense of urgency.
The other path is that your school is perceived more as a vitamin, where what you offer could be good for them but it’s not necessary. If you're like most people, you have a bottle of vitamins somewhere in the house and actually take one on occasion. When you have a headache or toothache, however, that pain medication is in high demand.
Questions to consider in creating or evaluating your value proposition
* What is the challenge you seek to solve? Is there an obvious lack of other solutions to the issues or challenges that your school addresses?
* What will energize them? (e.g., academic advantage, social status, positive emotions, affordability, personalized service?
* Do you produce outcomes for your families that go beyond their expectations?
* What are the key elements of your enrollment and/or fundraising pitch?
* What messages deeply resonate with your target market?
* What do/can you do better than other options?
* Who are you serving now and why?
* What are your three most valuable
Articulating the features, advantages and benefits (FAB's) your school offers to parents and students gives concreteness to your marketing story. Regularly eview and refine this list of FAB's with every board member, administrator, teacher, staff member, volunteer, parent, etc.
Pay particular attention to the response of new families to your value proposition. Does this energize them or are they nonchalant toward your key points? Try to get outside of your own head and put yourself in the position of prospective families. How does your school really look from their perspective?
The full 5-part series on the Ten TOP Marketing Strategies for Schools is available for your administration and board to use as you refine your plans.