Marketing

The most important piece of a marketing plan is for the principal/teacher to keep the day-to-day functioning of the school in very good order.

 

Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan for your school requires team effort on the part of the board, constituency, pastor, principal/teacher, students, and parents.

The ultimate goal of your marketing strategy is to convey that your school is:

  • An excellent academic choice.
  • An indispensable link in the partnership of home, church, and school.
  • Supportive of the mission and standards of Adventist education.
  • An extension of the ministry of the constituent church(es).
  • A unique asset in the local community.

Effective marketing tools are those that clearly translate the messages stated above into formats that are easily understood and accessible to your targeted audience.

The most important piece of the marketing plan is for the principal/teacher to keep the day-to-day functioning of the school in very good order. Students who demonstrate satisfaction, contentment, academic growth, and success are the most valuable marketing tools.

Happy families will be your very best promoters.  Word of mouth goes a long way Quote the comments of very satisfied parents on your website and in your school brochure, with their permission. Solicit parents who would be willing to give a reference about the school to prospective parents. Remember to tap the recent alumni population for testimonials as well.

The board is responsible for locating and delegating tasks to other individuals who will help make the implementation of the marketing plan a success. The prayerful support and energy of all is essential.

 

School Brochure

When developing a brochure, gather and study brochures from other Adventist and private schools to identify the strengths of each one. Determine your target audience and what information needs to be included. Carefully consider the words used. Be especially careful to avoid using unique Adventist “lingo.”

Appoint someone to take high quality photographs depicting a spiritual focus, hands-on learning, and genuine smiles. Select pictures that “speak volumes.” Do not overlook simple, everyday occurrences such as students raising their hands, singing, or engaging in a nature lesson.  Pictures are a powerful means to convey the fact that tuition is well worth the investment.

Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for all students included in any photos that are used. Never identify students by name in such publications.

The board may choose to have a professional develop a brochure for your school, or they may put in place an ad hoc committee to work on it.  Drafts should be presented to the board for final approval before printing takes place.

 

Website

Adventist School Connect provides a free website and design for all churches and schools in North America. They offer free website hosting, free technical support and training, professional design options, the ability to customize by adding images, and more. This is an easy, cost-effective way to create a high quality, interactive website for your school.  Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for all students included in any photos that are used.  Never identify students by name on a website.

Many local Chambers of Commerce will set up a live link to your website for a small fee.

Ask the school board to appoint an individual to create, update, and maintain your school’s website.  It would be wise to have the school board review the website multiple times a year.

 

Newspapers

Families rarely seek out a school based solely on an advertisement in a local paper. Newspaper articles and stories, however, are known to be an influential means to acquaint the local community with your school and to highlight the distinctive quality of Christian education. Visit your local newspaper office to:

  • Meet the editor.
  • Inquire about any special “Back to School” issue, or other times where schools are highlighted.
  • Find out how school events and programs are best communicated to the local community.
  • Learn how to submit articles to the community calendar/events page.
  • Obtain information regarding submitting letters to the editor.
  • Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for all students included in any photos.

 

Newsletters

On a regular basis submit articles to the church newsletter. Post the same article on your website for a wider audience.

Announce school events in the church bulletin.

Occasionally create a special bulletin insert to communicate about special events such as:

  • School (and Church) Picnic
  • Visitor’s Day
  • Registration Day
  • Week of Prayer
  • School Programs, including Christmas
  • Sacred Concerts
  • Community Service Projects

Articles can also be submitted to the Local Conference Communication Department for inclusion in Local Conference and Union publications. The communication secretary for the local church is a good resource person to help make these connections. Include photographs whenever possible with these articles. Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for students included in any photos used.

Keep a scrapbook of new stories and articles about your school. Display this at an Open House event or in the church foyer.

 

Special Interest Groups

There are populations in every area that have unique educational needs that you may be able to serve. Learning of their needs and connecting with them will enhance your school’s reputation and will broaden the outreach and influence of the school.

Examples:

  • Homeschooling Families. Seek ways to connect with home schooling families. Consider offering the homeschoolers in your community the opportunity to take scheduled standardized testing at your school. Some schools offer extended opportunities such as field trips, music, art, foreign language, and physical education classes. Check with your Local Conference Office of Education about guidelines and insurance regulations.
  • Town Events/Facilities. Request permission to place professional quality posters and/or school brochures at local attractions (i.e., Laundromats, museums, sports facilities, preschools, libraries). These will acquaint families with your school. Posters may invite families to register and/or attend a School Visitor’s Day or Open House.

 

Other Marketing Ideas

Parent-School Communication System. On-going parent-school communication is important.  Send students home with a weekly folder that includes announcements, calendars, field trip permission slips, and some of the same information that you have submitted to other entities (i.e., newspaper, church newsletter, school website).  This means of communication will be appreciated by busy parents and will also often be seen by grandparents, friends, and neighbors.

Local Radio/TV.  Inquire about public service broadcasting for schools in your area. Register to have your school name announced with other schools in the event of schedule changes due to inclement weather or emergency-related events. Hearing your school name announced with those of other programs will help listeners in the area become more familiar with your school.

Don’t overlook opportunities to get free publicity on local radio or television stations.  One small school contacted the local television station when two students were riding horses to school. The station used it as a closing story. This was followed by a story in the newspaper and was picked up by a major radio station.  Another school invited the local television station to come and do a story when a student returned to school after surgery and all the classmates wore a bandana to make him feel more comfortable. Simple events can be newsworthy.

Community Outreach.  Seek opportunities to put faith into action by inquiring about needs in the local community.  Your school’s participation in community outreach and service projects will foster positive public relations.

Constituency Awareness.  Create a portable presentation or bulletin board display that includes sample projects and student work to display at fellowship dinners or in the church foyer so that the constituency may be more aware of current school events and student accomplishments.

NAD Marketing Materials.  Look for marketing ideas on the NAD Website (i.e., Adventist Education logo, flyers, brochures, bulletin covers, postcards).

Grow My School.  A marketing initiative for Adventist School Leaders. Here you will find tips from Dick Duerksen with simple "how-to" ideas for improving the image, effectiveness, and enrollment of your school.

Administration

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