Digital Marketing

Shake Up Your Marketing and Enrolment Strategies with These Five Tips From Our Perth Meetup

October 23, 2019

I jetted over to my home town of WA a couple of weeks ago to spend some time on the ground with our Digistorm schools and host our first-ever Perth marketing and enrolments meetup! A special shout-out to the team at Presbyterian Ladies College, Perth for letting me take over their classroom for the morning. Now that I'm back at Digistorm HQ, I've had some time to reflect on some of the key innovations and challenges covered during the session and now, I'd like to share them with you. So, without further ado, let's get into it.

1. Facebook is still important, but Instagram is where it’s at (for now at least).

The consensus in the room was that while Facebook has always been the go-to social media platform for growing and engaging your online community, many schools are now shifting their focus toward Instagram. According to a  recent report on Australia’s social media habits, image-sharing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have seen a higher percentage of usage growth over the past three years than any other category of social media. So it's no wonder why schools are getting on board. 

How Perth schools are innovating: Schools in our user group reported seeing more success on Instagram when sharing content that focused on showcasing community activities and student achievements. Content that promotes open days, events, achievements, awards, and student milestones play a key role in attracting and engaging prospective parents -- especially Millennial parents. 

2. Millennial parents don’t care about legacy or tradition when choosing schools.

Millennial parents have officially arrived and they’re shaking things up a little. Across all facets of their lives, Millennials look for alignment with their personal values above all else. This is why it’s not uncommon to see a Millennial employee take a pay cut if it means working for a company they believe in. So what does it mean for education? The short version is that Millennial parents aren’t interested in choosing schools based on where they or their parents went to school. Rather, they’re looking for the best fit for their individual child and their values.

How Perth schools are innovating: In order to keep up, schools will need to get savvy when marketing to Millennial parents by segmenting their prospective families and marketing to them in a way that resonates with them. Looking to your school's USP, ethos and values is a great place to start.  

3. The biggest pain point in the enrolments process is pulling information from multiple systems.

Many schools in the session discussed how hard it was to work with all of the different information systems that schools use when conducting enrolments activities. From emails stored in shared drives to clunky spreadsheets, enrolments and marketing teams need to constantly jump in and out of different systems to organise tours, put together offers and contact families. One attendee described the process as “physically bending each system into place”.

How Perth schools are innovating: As the marketers and admissions staff we talked to in Brisbane mentioned, data and databases change everything. Some of the schools who attended had implemented a Customer Relationship Manager (or CRM). This is a system that helped them to manage the entire lifecycle of a prospective family and store all enrolments data in a single system.

4. Schools need to keep a conversation going (sometimes for years!).

Many parents enrol their child at birth, and they don’t really need to interact with the admissions team at all until the year before they are due to start at the school. This means years can go by between application for enrolment and the next enrolment stages. 

How Perth schools are innovating: To combat this, schools in Perth are trialling a number of different strategies to keep parents in constant communication with the school. One team mentioned that they mail prospective parents the school magazine up to five years in advance, to make them feel as if they are already a part of the community. 

Another school mentioned that they create a special newsletter and add all prospective parents to their email list. They then mail prospective parents frequent updates about school events and student achievements. If you want to learn how to send targeted emails to prospective parents? Check out our guide, How to Segment Your School’s Marketing Emails and Boost Enrolments.

5. Schools are leveraging out-of-the-box marketing strategies.

Most private schools around Australia are now fighting for every last enrolment. In Perth, they are not just competing against other private schools in their area, but independent public schools who also offer quality educations at a lower price. As mentioned above, schools are trying to widen their pool of prospective families. 

How Perth schools are innovating: To get as many enrolments as possible, schools in Perth are trialling some incredibly creative marketing strategies. One school mentioned a clever lead generation technique of hosting an origami boat competition. Prospective families are encouraged to build and decorate an origami boat, with the chance to win a prize at the school carnival (which is open to the local community). To win, parents have to include their contact details, which gives the enrolments team a fresh batch of prospective families to contact each year.

We'll be hosting our next marketing and admissions meetup in Brisbane, with grand plans to tour around the country. Where should we go next? Get in touch and let us know if you'd like to see the Digistorm team in your city!