So, you’ve got a few places left to fill in your school for September? But it’s now April — surely everyone has made their mind up by now?
It’s probably true that most people now know which school their children are going to in September. But there are quite a few who will have to change their minds — in particular those who suddenly find themselves moving for work reasons and need to take their families with them. According to Worldwide ERC – the Workforce Mobility Association 244,595 employees were transferred within the USA by Fortune 500 companies in 2013. Add to this the number of international and public sector transfers and there are a lot of families suddenly looking for schools.
If you’re in a market where most schools have full rolls, you’re in a great place to recruit these families. Here are a few tips to make sure you get as many as possible.
- Identify parents who have chosen your school as a result of relocation. Ask them what their worries were, how your school met them and what else they would like you to offer. You can also write case studies of these families – and ask them if they’d be willing to mentor other families moving suddenly.
- Identify the internal expertise you have dealing with relocating families – could you put them in touch with local community associations, language schools, kindergartens, or religious groups for example? Do you have expertise in creating study programmes for students who have come from different education systems? Do you already have students from different cultural backgrounds? Have you experience dealing with Government agencies regarding foreign students?
- Create a short brochure (electronic or print) using this information, backed up with quotes from relocating parents and success stories of students who have done well despite joining mid-year. You could also create a dedicated page on your school website with the same information.
- Identify the leading employers (public and private), realtors, and relocation and agents operating in your area as well as the major international school placement agencies. If you’re not sure where to get this information, local newspapers or Chambers of Commerce often have business directories. Send them a copy of the brochure and a personal letter asking them to pass on the brochure to anyone they know who is relocating to the area. Follow up the letter with a quick phone call after a few days.
- Let your parent and alumni communities know that you’re offering this service and encourage them to pass on details to their employers or companies — you can do this at formal events or via your social media channels.
- Consider a targeted Google Adwords campaign focused on keywords such as ‘relocating to San Francisco’.
- As with all marketing, carefully track enquiries and reflect on the parts of the campaign that work.
For more advice on school marketing, see my book, Marketing Your School, on Amazon.
Listen to InspirED's podcast with Simon for a deep-dive on this topic.