Why are so many private and independent schools struggling to fill classrooms, while a select few boast glowing reputations and long wait lists?
There’s been a downward trend in private school enrollment for over a decade now, one that isn’t likely to tick upward any time soon. With families facing one economic crisis after another and the vast majority having too little saved up to afford even a small personal crisis, it would seem there’s just not enough money in the middle class to keep private schools open.
The real issue, however, is reputation. With the growing sense of economic disparity and the associated sense of alienation those falling from the middle class are beginning to feel, it’s no wonder there’s a growing conversation around private schools.
The debate rages on: are private schools ethical?
Of course they are. Though you aren’t in a position to weigh in on this conversation directly, you do have an opportunity to prove your school’s commitment to fairness and social equity every single day, starting with the way you advertise.
People know when they're being marketed to, and they don't like it. That's not the way to start a relationship with the parent of a prospective new student. That's why ethical marketing is not just the right thing to do, it's the most effective thing to do.
Effective marketing doesn't just happen. It's the product of expert execution of the effective marketing equation, which states that the right content delivered to the right person at the right time results in a new student.
The three key components of an ethical marketing campaign are audience, content, and timeliness. When these three components are brought together to create a purposeful, engaging, and powerful marketing campaign, each and every point of contact with your school will leave prospective parents feeling nurtured and empowered.
Ethical marketing is effective for two reasons. First, as an ethical marketer you aren’t just trying to convince someone to give you their money. You’re taking time out to sympathize with a parent and offer the two things they need most, encouragement and solutions. In other words, you’re developing a relationship.
Second, ethical marketing isn’t persuasive, which can leave parents feeling insecure about their decision to join you school and thus establish a precarious commitment to remaining with you. Instead, ethical marketing is empowering. Your commitment to educating prospective parents on how to identify and solve their problems puts your commitment to their child's success on display.
What better way to build a relationship?