With this year turning out to be an admission nightmare for many schools, it is imperative to begin planning for an early start for school admissions 2020-21 and be ready on all fronts. The situation is still extremely dynamic, however, we are moving ahead. Just like other years, most schools will begin their admission activities post Diwali. Parent counselling, campus visits and advertisements will all become buzz words in October. In order to do so you need to start planning your communication now. Fix up your website, get the landing pages up, have a campus walk through planned. Don’t sit hoping for things to get better, its time to press the accelerator. Here is a list of my top 5 suggestions to get you thinking in the right direction.
Plan Parent Focused Webinars
Plan parent focused webinars for admissions this season, try and maintain small groups – 10 parents at a time (the smaller the group the better), the webinar should be taken by the head of the institution and the topic should be straight forward.
THINGS TO DO
Work on the Flow: The ads you will run, the platforms on which they will run and what is your call to action should be crystal. Everyone today is holding free webinars so don’t make it sales oriented, instead deliver value. Give a clear call to action and don’t mess up on the basics. You will have to promote your webinar with surgical precision: email, social, website, personalized whatsapp, retargeting and other activities all need to work in sync.
Let parents sign up for campus walk through on your website. The visits can be on weekends or after school hours with proper precautions and in groups of 4. A virtual visit should also be made available for those who would rather not venture out.
THINGS TO DO
Promote campus visit days across your digital platforms
Have a landing page for signups that explains the benefit of the campus visit and what parents can expect.
The webinar attendees should be encouraged to come for a campus visit
Campus videos, parents feedback from earlier visits should form a major part of your Facebook and LinkedIn strategy.
Focus on your External and Internal Communication
Communication to your existing parents and other stakeholders will also play a vital role for 2021 admission of your school.
When we reached out to parents across the country and asked, “How has your opinion of the school your child goes to changed over the pandemic?”
CHANGE IN OPINION WHEN COMMUNICATION WAS RATED POOR
11% said significantly worse, 53 % slightly worse and the others said there was no change or slightly better.
CHANGE IN OPINION WHEN COMMUNICATION WAS RATED FAIR/GOOD
2% significantly worse, 25% slightly worse and the others said there was no change or slightly better.
Keeping your communication prompt and often during this time is imperative. If there are any questions in the mind of the stakeholders they need to be answered. A weekly mail from the head of institution, even if it’s just a shot one, will go a long way. While framing both your external and internal communications should be aligned to the long-term brand vision.
The way people are going about their day-to-day lives has changed. New stickers have popped up across stores, bus stands, malls and other public area which work as markers for social distancing or as safety guidelines. Think beyond your average bill boards this year. These markers will stay if not till march 2021, surely until December 2020. Think of co-branding opportunities with local stores, parks, public places. Can you think of places where you can get visibility without spending? Why should Savalon have all the fun?
Activities and events can be rethought of too. Can you plan olympics in your local park? What does that even mean? Well, not many young parents are hitting the gym right now but there is a general consensus that most are open to visiting parks and gardens. Use this to attract them to sign up for some fun events every weekend for some safe and healthy competition and in the process get to know them and help them overcome the anxiety of sending children back to school.
Schools are struggling to make payrolls while ed-techs are swimming in cash. A recent article by Kalpesh Banker, Managing Partner, Edushine in the financial express throws light on the investment that has come into the ed-tech sector in the last quarter. Keep an eye out – collaborating with an ed tech could be immensely beneficial for your school. Look for ways you can add value to them and they can to you. Ed-tech startups are hiring agencies, marketing partners and building in-house marketing capabilities. They will by nature be open to trying out new ways to acquire customers. You as a school can help them and they in turn can help you.
Now that we are all online, geography is no longer relevant. Look at Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal’s new venture 21k Schools; the school for its new session boasts of teachers from the UK and the USA teaching students in real time. The completely online school is on its way to set new standards of schooling in India.
Similarly, look at certification programs across the globe that could be beneficial for your students. The American certification program Future Medical Leaders, open to honour students who wish to become Doctors, has now gone online. A tie-up with them can catapult your school’s reputation. Imagine having the best minds in medicines from nobel laureates to professors of M.I.T, Harvard and John Hopkins addressing your top students and motivating them. Imagine your students narrating the experience of witnessing a live surgery being performed by the best to their parents and friends.
Don’t get stuck in a rut. The opportunities are countless!
The writer of this blog Jay Bagri is the Chief Rethink Officer at IOSIGNITE an education branding and marketing firm. Jay has extensive experience of working in the education sector and has helped set up the marketing and communication department at several schools and colleges.
School Admissions 2020-21 Strategy
Top 5 tips to begin planning your school's admission strategy for 2020-21. From webinars to offline marketing, everything will play a part in increasing enrollments.