Recruitment and Re-Recruitment Best Practices, TAIS 2012


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Workshop presented at the TAIS biennial conference in Memphis on best practices in recruitment and re-recruitment.

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Recruitment and Re-Recruitment Best Practices, TAIS 2012

  1. 1. Presented by Rick Newberry, © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  2. 2.  During this session, we will discuss best practices in recruitment and retention strategies to enroll new families and retain current families at your school. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  3. 3. Michigan State UniversityStarbucksFamily and RollercoastersEnrollment CatalystBlog © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  4. 4. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  5. 5. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  6. 6. Enrollment Catalyst partners with schools toprovide coaching for school leaders in their school’s enrollment management andmarketing systems, strategies, and solutions needed to reach their goals. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  7. 7. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  8. 8. There are many factors thataffect enrollment growth atyour school.
  9. 9. Leadership Enrollment & Quality Marketing School Plan ExperienceCompetition Vision School Growth Faculty and Price Staff Parent Location Satisfaction Reputation © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  10. 10. It is important to begin withthe development of a strategicenrollment and marketingplan for your school.
  11. 11.  Develop a plan for your school’s enrollment and marketing effort—and do everything you can to implement it. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  12. 12.  The Admissions Funnel Admissions Goals Admissions Reports The Admissions Team Inquiry Generation Inquiry Processing and Follow-up Application Generation and Follow-up Admissions Marketing Materials
  13. 13.  Communicate your enrollment and marketing plan to your faculty, staff and parents. It is important for your community to know where you are going and how they can become involved in the plan. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  14. 14.  The goal is to allocate 3% of your school’s operational budget to marketing and enrollment strategies. ◦ Where are your currently spending your marketing and enrollment budget? ◦ What is the size of your school’s marketing and enrollment budget? ◦ How much should you allocate to these areas? ◦ Your budget should be a reflection of what works in generating interest in your school.
  15. 15. From inquiry to enrollee, it iscritical to understand theadmissions funnel.
  16. 16. Prospects InquiriesCampus VisitsApplications Admits Deposits Enrollees
  17. 17. It is important to know whatyou are aiming for in order toevaluate your results!
  18. 18.  Develop specific enrollment goals for the following areas: ◦ Total Enrollment ◦ Retention ◦ Admissions  Inquiries  Campus Visits  Applications  Deposits  New students © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  19. 19. An effective enrollmentmanagement strategy isdependent upon a data-drivenapproach.
  20. 20.  Provides a snapshot overview of the re-enrollment of current families and enrollment of new families.
  21. 21. Regardless of your size, it iscritical to have staff committed tothis critical task of recruitingfamilies to your school.
  22. 22.  Commit resources to staffing in the enrollment and marketing areas at your school. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  23. 23.  Direct administrative responsibilities for admissions ◦ Director of Admissions/Enrollment ◦ Head of School/Principal Additional involvement in admissions ◦ Secretary/Receptionist ◦ Administration ◦ Faculty and Staff ◦ Parents ◦ Students
  24. 24.  Develop, implement and manage the recruitment plan Strive to reach and exceed all of the goals Provide an outstanding campus visit experience and follow-up for all inquiries and applicants Increase awareness of the school through feeder schools, churches and other groups Encourage and facilitate the involvement of parents in the recruitment strategy Report weekly on the progress toward recruitment goals
  25. 25. Parent Ambassadors © 2010 Cherry+Company
  26. 26.  Recruit a team of parents to help you in your admissions effort by: ◦ Presenting tours of campus. ◦ Hosting new family ―desserts‖ in their homes. ◦ Mentoring a new family throughout their first school year. ◦ Calling and/or writing personal notes to parents and welcoming them to your school. ◦ Connect with feeder schools and churches in the community. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  27. 27.  Provide a card in your admissions package that includes the names, child grade levels, phone numbers and email addresses of your parent ambassadors. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  28. 28. Your new student enrollmentstrategy should begin with anaggressive strategy to generateinterest in your school.
  29. 29.  Word-of-Mouth Website and SEO Google Social Media Online Presence Feeder Churches and Schools Open Houses and Campus Visits Direct Mail Traditional Print and Media Advertising
  30. 30.  ―Word-of-Mouth‖ is the most powerful marketing tool you have for your school (as long as it is positive!). ◦ Current Parents, Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Real Estate Agents, Feeder School Administrators, etc. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  31. 31.  Prospects and Applicants Current Parents Alumni and Friends Faculty and Staff Realtors
  32. 32.  Should you provide a tuition discount or an incentive to encourage referrals from your parents?
  33. 33.  Tell the story of your school by communicating experiences in their own words. Write an online review of their experiences online at, Google or Yelp. Invite a friend to experience your school by visiting and touring campus. ―Like‖ your school’s Facebook page and participate in the conversation. Direct friends to your website to check out your school. Refer a friend to the admissions office.
  34. 34.  Focus on sharing stories that relate back to your unique selling propositions: ◦ Website ◦ Blogs ◦ Social Media ◦ Video vignettes ◦ One-on-one meetings ◦ Small groups ◦ Events ◦ Online reviews
  35. 35. Website © 2010 Cherry+Company
  36. 36.  Your school’s website should be the hub of news, activity, information and stories about your school. It is the most important marketing and communication’s tool for today’s school. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  37. 37.  Brand—It is important to convey a strong brand for your school—including your logo, colors, and tagline. Photos—Large, professional photos on the home page will draw the visitor to your school. Content—Dynamic content and a compelling message is important to keep users returning to your school’s website. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  38. 38.  Use of school logo, name and brand Use of large, compelling, rotating photos Drop down navigation ◦ About Us, Academics, Admissions, Arts, Athletics, Support Us Descriptive, keyword-rich school content Stories—Features and news Social media links Quicklinks
  39. 39.  Welcome from Director Your school experience Life after ―your school‖ Online inquiry form Online application Admissions process and timeline Campus visit information Affording ―your school‖ FAQ’s © 2010 Cherry+Company
  40. 40. SEO Strategies © 2010 Cherry+Company
  41. 41.  SEO is the process of adjusting websites and pages to gain higher placement in search engine results. ◦ Where does your school come up on a web search? Organic versus Paid ◦ Organic – page titles and keywords in your website ◦ Google’s AdWords – pay-per-click advertising for keywords. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  42. 42.  A successful SEO strategy begins with research to discover the keywords that your prospective parents use to search for your school. ◦ Use Google’s Keyword Analysis Tool
  43. 43.  Competitor Keyword Research ◦ Go to their website ◦ Right click; view source
  44. 44.  Every page of your website should have a unique title that is reflective of the content and keywords used on the respective page.
  45. 45. • The CSF website does not have unique page titles or meta page descriptions for search engine optimization.
  46. 46.  Canterbury website description in a Google search:
  47. 47.  Google Search: Private School in St. Petersburg ◦ Results  Google AdWords shows ads for Shorecrest and Northside Christian.  Canterbury listed #6 behind Shorecrest, Admiral Farragut and Keswick Christian.
  48. 48.  Google Search: Christian School in St. Petersburg ◦ Results  Google Ads shows ads for Shorecrest and Northside Christian.  Canterbury not listed on first page in search results (appears on the second page).
  49. 49.  It is critical for you to focus on search engine optimization as part of your marketing strategy. ◦ Keyword research ◦ Page titles ◦ Page descriptions ◦ Keyword-rich content ◦ Dynamic content
  50. 50.  School administrators most often focus on website design when launching a new site but fail to focus on the most important elements – SEO and content development. It is critical to focus on developing content that is: ◦ Relevant ◦ Keyword-rich ◦ Dynamic ◦ Compelling
  51. 51. Social Media © 2010 Cherry+Company
  52. 52.  Facebook can be used to connect to alumni, parents and friends of your school. ◦ Main page for your school  Provide regular updates on your fan page  Tell stories of your alumni and faculty  Encourage interaction among your fans  Enter into conversations with your fans  Connect with alumni to keep in touch with them © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  53. 53.  Your goal is to post at least one update every day. Types of updates that generate engagement: ◦ Stories ◦ News ◦ Video vignettes ◦ Events ◦ Blog posts
  54. 54. Feeder Schools and Churches © 2010 Cherry+Company
  55. 55.  Develop a target list of feeder schools. Visit current and potential feeder schools. Send information packets to parents of target feeder schools. Utilize current parents to reach out to feeder schools. Invite feeder school administration to tour campus and enjoy a special brunch/lunch on your campus. Have your students perform at feeder school assemblies. Hold an area private school fair.
  56. 56.  Develop a list of the target churches in the area for potential referrals. Begin with the churches represented by families at your school and then add other churches in the community. Apply some of the same ideas from the feeder school section. Use current parents to reach out to feeder churches. Invite pastors annually to campus for an appreciation breakfast or lunch to show appreciation for their leadership.
  57. 57. Campus Visits and Open Houses © 2010 Cherry+Company
  58. 58.  It is better for parents to visit your school in a one-on-one environment than to attend an open house in the evening or on the weekend when the school is not in session. Every day should be an open house for prospective families at your school.
  59. 59.  Once you get a family to your campus, make sure you have an outstanding visit program set up for them. An effective campus visit program should include: ◦ Tour of campus ◦ Meeting with admissions director and administrator ◦ Review of the application process ◦ Introductions to key staff ◦ Connections with Parent Ambassadors
  60. 60.  Reserved parking space with the family’s name. Reception area with personalized welcome sign. Name tag with printed large first name. ―Everyone is expecting you‖ attitude and approach. Personal greeting from head of school and/or principal. Tour by admissions director and current parent. Handwritten follow-up note.
  61. 61.  Host a special ―friend’s‖ day for current students to invite their friends to spend the day with them at your school. The goal is to encourage and motivate current students to focus on inviting their friends they want to encourage enrolling in your school, especially when students are key to the decision!
  62. 62. Once you receive aninquiry, tracking and follow-up will be key to enrolling newfamilies.
  63. 63.  What you do you after you get an inquiry will make a difference in your admissions effort. ◦ It is critical to have a follow-up plan in place to encourage your inquiries to apply and then to enroll. ◦ Effective inquiry processing and follow-up is a critical element of any successful admissions operation. ◦ Effective contact with inquiries results in a greater conversion rate to applications and, ultimately, to increased enrollment. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  64. 64. 30 Day Follow-Up Plan © 2010 Cherry+Company
  65. 65.  Step 1 – Make initial contact with inquiry Step 2 – Send information packet on school with personal letter (within 24 hours of inquiry). ◦ Make sure the letter is personalized and well- written to sell your school.
  66. 66.  Step 3 – Call one week later to discuss your school and encourage the parent to take the next step (seven days after inquiry date). ◦ Phone call should focus on the following:  Make sure information was received in the mail.  Encourage the family to visit.  Use the time to better understand the parent’s needs and sell the parent on your school.  Send hand-written note immediately after call is made.
  67. 67.  Step 4 – Send postcard to remind the parent of your school (15 days after inquiry date). Step 5 – Personal contact from a current parent (25 days after inquiry). ◦ Use a parent ambassador from a similar grade level to contact the inquiry. Step 6 – Send personal letter with another application (30 days after inquiry). ◦ This is the final letter in the regular inquiry sequence. This letter should create some urgency to enrolling at your school.
  68. 68.  What should you do with your inquiries after your 30 day follow-up? ◦ Monthly contact with inquiries. ◦ Send your school’s email newsletter. © 2010 Cherry+Company
  69. 69. Retention is the strategy ofre-recruiting current familiesback to your school foranother year.
  70. 70.  The strategy and process for recruiting your current families to continue enrollment in your school for the next year. Re-recruitment is the activity that leads to retention. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  71. 71.  We can no longer assume that just because a family is enrolled this year they will be back for another year.
  72. 72.  It is more cost-effective to retain a family than it is to recruit a replacement. Typically, retention is the greatest issue between the transition years (Preschool to Kindergarten; 5th to 6th grade; 8th to 9th grade). © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  73. 73.  Parent Satisfaction Retention statistics and reports Responsibility of re-recruitment Connections to community Customer service The re-enrollment process Focus on the transition grades Parent communication Internal marketing Parent feedback
  74. 74. Parent Satisfaction © 2010 Cherry+Company
  75. 75.  Parent satisfaction is the key for retaining families at your school. The higher the satisfaction level, the higher the commitment and likelihood of your parents to stay and pay for another year.
  76. 76.  Academic program College preparation Faculty (teaching, individual attention, experience, etc.) Community Extracurricular programs Safety and security of the school environment
  77. 77. Retention Statistics © 2010 Cherry+Company
  78. 78.  It is important to track your school’s retention rate. ◦ Retention Rate = (# of students re-enrolled in new year) / (Total number of students in previous year minus graduating class – students eligible to re- enroll) ◦ By Division ◦ By Transition Grade ◦ By Grade Level © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  79. 79.  Grade all of your students eligible to re-enroll using the following grades: ◦ F – Firm = very likely to return ◦ M – Moderate = on the fence ◦ S – Shaky = unlikely to return ◦ Z – Cancel = will not return © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  80. 80. Role of Faculty and Staff © 2010 Cherry+Company
  81. 81.  Retention is the responsibility of every faculty and staff member at your school: ◦ Performance ◦ Relationships ◦ Quality ◦ Communication ◦ Service © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  82. 82.  #1 – Your first and primary role at your school is to serve the school with excellence in your area of responsibility. ◦ You are the school’s brand. ◦ What you do best when you close the classroom door. ◦ Everyone is equally important in this effort.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  83. 83. ―The brand on the outside is only as strong as the brand on the inside.‖ – Karl Speak, President, Beyond Marketing Thought© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  84. 84.  #2 – You have the opportunity and responsibility to turn negative conversations and gossip into positive brand moments. Faculty & Staff Parents & Administrators Students© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  85. 85.  #3 – Everyone should be a story-teller for your school. ◦ Stories about faculty, students and alumni should be a regular part of your conversation. We need to communicate stories that will lift up the image of the school.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  86. 86.  #4 – Celebrate your students, parents and colleagues. ◦ As a community, we have the opportunity to celebrate the successes of our students, parents and colleagues. ◦ Acknowledge student successes—Send at least five positive emails every week to parents in your class.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  87. 87.  #5 – Welcome visitors on campus ◦ When a prospective parent visits your classroom, stop what you are doing and introduce yourself and your class to them. ◦ When you see a prospective parent on a tour, take a moment to welcome them to your school.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  88. 88.  #6 – Focus on retaining students and families in your sphere of influence. ◦ Excellence in what you do. ◦ Positive communication. ◦ Timely response to parent concerns. ◦ Encouragement to remain part of the community. ◦ Channel concerns to the administration. ◦ Sell and promote the next level of the school. ◦ Make it your focus to retain the students and families in your class.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  89. 89.  #7 – Provide outstanding customer service to the parents that you serve. ◦ Roll out the red carpet for your families. ◦ Create a ―WOW‖ experience for your families.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  90. 90.  #8 – Make every effort to make this one school where everyone works together toward the same goal. ◦ When the preschool wins, the entire school wins ◦ When the upper school wins, the preschool wins© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  91. 91.  #9 – Take the time to make personal connections with parents and students. ◦ A handwritten note. ◦ A positive email about their child. ◦ A birthday card on their special day. ◦ Something memorable that will be talked about.© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  92. 92. Community Connections © 2010 Cherry+Company
  93. 93.  Families are more likely to remain enrolled when they are connected to groups within your school community. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  94. 94.  Begin with new students School-wide events Parent Ambassadors Mentoring programs ◦ Student to Student ◦ Parent to Parent Buddies School spirit Head of School/Principal coffees, chats, etc. Home dessert vision casting
  95. 95. Students become part of the Flamingo’s orPelican’s at Palm Beach Day Academy whichculminates each year in a field day competition.
  96. 96. Customer Service © 2010 Cherry+Company
  97. 97. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  98. 98.  Donna Cutting uses High Point University in The Celebrity Experience as a premier example of customer service. What do they do? ◦ Director of WOW! ◦ Wowing campus visitors ◦ Delivering birthday cards ◦ The President and his gumball machine ◦ Valentine’s Day ◦ Free valet parking ◦ Construction dust and car washes ◦ Kiosks with free water or hot chocolate © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  99. 99. High Point University provides―WOW‖ moments for prospectiveand campus students
  100. 100.  Do something unique on every student’s birthday Give students something memorable on special days Surprise students with the unexpected Show parents that you appreciate them
  101. 101.  Exceptional customer service can help your school stand out in a crowded marketplace!© 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  102. 102. Re-Enrollment © 2010 Cherry+Company
  103. 103.  It is your goal to re-enroll your parents in a timely manner so that you can have enrollment predictability and budget accordingly.
  104. 104.  High demand and limited seats Re-enrollment/matriculation fee Tuition deposit/down-payment Discount by early date Penalty applied if re-enrolled after date Assume continued enrollment (automatic)
  105. 105.  We live in an online world and parents are used to conducting business this way. Your parents expect to re-enroll online.
  106. 106.  January and February ◦ Launch re-enrollment ◦ Launch internal marketing campaign ◦ Transition grade meetings ◦ State of the school report ◦ Coffee meetings ◦ Parent ambassadors contact parents March and April ◦ Discount ends or penalty applied ◦ Contact all families that did not re-enroll and set up a personal meeting with them.
  107. 107. Transition Grades © 2010 Cherry+Company
  108. 108.  A school will typically lose the most students in the transition grades. Therefore, the retention strategy should focus on the transition grades (Pre-school to Kindergarten; 5th to 6th grade; 8th to 9th grade).
  109. 109.  Hold personal meetings with families as part of your ―one-family-at-a-time‖ approach. ◦ Focus on their level of commitment to continue enrollment ◦ Deal with specific issues and objections ◦ Better forecast retention earlier on in the school year
  110. 110.  Ask parents to hold a dessert ―briefing‖ in their home to discuss the transition to the next level at the school. ◦ All parents in a transition grade would be invited to attend an event in the home of a current parent (preferably a parent from the next level). ◦ Head of school and appropriate leadership provides overview of the next level and allows for questions and concerns to be expressed. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  111. 111.  Hold informational meetings for parents at the school to gain an overview of the next grade level. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  112. 112.  Hold ―Step-up‖ days in early Spring for students in transition grades. This will help students experience what it will be like at the next level. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  113. 113.  Create a mentoring/buddy program to connect a student in a transition grade with a student in the next level of your school. Connect older students with younger students in a buddy program. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  114. 114. Communications and Internal Marketing © 2010 Cherry+Company
  115. 115.  Internal marketing is the effort to continually reinforce your brand to your parents. Every message should reinforce your brand distinctiveness. When your parents are very satisfied with their experience at your school, they will be your greatest asset to help you reach your community. You must do everything you can to market your school internally to your parents.
  116. 116.  One of the most important components for your retention strategy is communication with your parents. ◦ Communicate often and then communicate again. ◦ Focus on communicating your brand distinctiveness. ◦ Share stories about your graduates making a difference in college and in the world. ◦ Share stories about your faculty and students. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  117. 117.  Communicate stories about your alumni, faculty, staff and students and relate them to your brand. Parents need to see their child in the story of your school. Therefore it is essential for you to share stories of real people and real stats that focus on your key brand messages. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  118. 118.  Focus on telling stories in your email newsletter: ◦ Reinforce the value of the investment. ◦ Tell stories of life after graduation. ◦ Tell student and faculty stories. ◦ Emphasize and reinforce your brand distinctiveness. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  119. 119.  Large group meetings State of the school address Small group coffees One-on-one meetings Virtual meetings © 2009 Cherry+Company
  120. 120.  You will create raving fans and inspiring brands when you: ◦ Commit to developing and defining your brand ◦ Communicate your brand message consistently in a visually compelling way ◦ Concentrate on the role that everyone must play in branding and marketing your school ◦ Celebrate the people and the positive, life-changing difference you are making at your school © 2009 Cherry+Company
  121. 121. Parent Feedback © 2010 Cherry+Company
  122. 122.  Survey your parents annually by conducting an overall parent satisfaction and perception survey. ◦ Look for areas of dissatisfaction to improve the quality of the school. ◦ Report findings from the survey back to parents. ◦ Best time to survey parents is October/November and January/February/March. © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  123. 123.  Conduct exit interviews when parents choose not to re-enroll at the school. ◦ Email Survey ◦ Phone Survey ◦ In-house versus Consultant © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst
  124. 124. Questions and Answers
  125. 125.  Subscribe to Rick’s blog on enrollment and marketing strategies for schools. If you are interested in discussing your current enrollment challenges or marketing needs, please contact Rick to set up a time for an initial consultation: 727.647.0378
  126. 126. For More Information: Enrollment Catalyst Rick Newberry, Ph.D. 9770 Indian Key Trail Seminole, FL 33776 727.647.0378Rick.Newberry@enrollmentcatalyst.comBlog: @RickNewberry © 2012 Enrollment Catalyst