In our years of working with boarding and independent schools, True Digital Communications has fine-tuned the formula to engage and connect with prospective students—including the elusive higher-pay student—and their families.
How do we do it? With a data-driven marketing strategy customized to each school.
Before we develop specific marketing tactics, we first look at how the school currently markets itself, and I consistently see schools making the same communication mistakes.
Sea of Sameness: ‘Bricks and Blazers Marketing’
Most schools use the same words as their competitors when describing themselves.
Consider your school’s website: How often do you use the words and phrases, “Small class size, community, family, and challenging?” Add pictures of attractive, smiling students wearing their school blazers in front of brick buildings covered with ivy, and to a prospective student and their family, you now look and sound like 95% of the other independent schools in the country.
A colleague refers to this as “bricks and blazers marketing.” It’s the equivalent of saying, “We have teachers, good teachers so please come to our school.” Every school has teachers, many with great teachers, which is why they aren’t a point of distinction.
Yes, your school, your students, your teachers and your buildings are an important part of your student experience, but they’re what is expected.
For your marketing to be effective and attract the students that best fit your school, you need to be distinctive. That’s more than saying, “We’re a great school and have been for generations.”
When we start working with a school, one of our first exercises is to define and identify their best student and how we can engage them. We talk about specific learning programs, educating philosophies and one-of-a-kind experiences, and how these will engage prospective students.
Equally important, we determine what the school isn’t and what it will never be.
Part of determining your points of differentiation is also addressing who is best for your school and who isn’t. Doing so allows the admissions team to focus on key messaging necessary to attract the students best suited for your institution instead of wasting time and resources on students who are not.
Communicating your school’s value to prospective students and their families is far more than Bricks and Blazers. It is finding what truly differentiates your school from all others.
Interested in learning more about marketing your school? We offer a free Independent School Guide to Communication. Get your copy.