Want to do something for your school without planning? Check out these five ideas.
So you want to help market your public school, but you just can't take the time to plan right now. You just want to dip your toe in the water. It's wonderful you are taking a first step! Here are five items you can do right now.
1. Get a Marketing Chair. Does this seem too much like planning? If so, you can go on to the next suggestion. But if you're not completely opposed to this idea, hear me out. It's good to find someone who can take on marketing instead of further burdening already time-strapped volunteers. Besides, because it involves lots of tasks that can be done at any time of the day (rather than during the school day), you might find someone new who'd be willing to help out. You may be pleasantly surprised by the hidden marketing talents of your parents, too, although experience is not a prerequisite.
2. Manage Review Sites. Have you checked lately to see what your school's online reputation is? GreatSchools, facebook and google all are places that you should regularly check to make sure your school looks good. If you have a negative review, bury it with positive ones. Meanwhile, schedule a couple (enthusiastic!) parents to write reviews each month. Use sign-up genius or something similar. And it's normal for a lot of parents to flake or write somewhat unhelpful reviews ("This school is great!"). If possible, stress you need them to be positive and specific.
3. Get Testimonials. Parent testimonials are vital in the school marketing game. This cannot be overstated. After word-of-mouth, these are the next most compelling form of advertising. Reading the positive things another real parent has to say about a school is powerful stuff. Getting them may sound easy, but sadly, it's not. Here's a good way to go about successfully getting quality testimonials:
1. Think of pros/cons of your school and try to play up each pro and address glaring cons in a positive light. Also consider the parents you want to reach, knowing you can't be everything to everyone. Try to hone in on what they would want to hear.
2. Draft the testimonials with the above considerations in mind. Be specific and vary the length. The more, the better. Aim for 15-20.
3. Reach out to parents willing to have their names attributed to these quotes. Ask friends, fellow enthusiastic volunteers and board members. Send an email, listing the quotes, asking if they would pick one to be attributed to them.
4. Use Testimonials. Once you get the testimonials, use them!! Put them everywhere, including your: website, social media, weekly newsletter and info packets for prospective families.
5. Reach Out to New Families. Marketing your school isn't only about getting new families. It's also about keeping the ones you already have. Calling each of your new families, asking how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns, can go a long way in terms of retention. You make them feel valued and you also learn how your school really is doing. This is a task best done by your principal. If your principal can't, the head of your parent group would be next-best.
Good luck as you put these tips into practice. Completing these items will take some time, and you may get some pushback or questions at first, but keep on keeping on. You got this! Then, when you have a bit more time, consider doing a bit more planning, including considering your school's brand, determining where you need to focus your efforts and working with your principal.