"A few short years ago we were staring down the barrel of 119 enrolments; a far cry from our peak at 180. We were struggling, but not with our product. Perceptions were killing us and as unfair as they were, they had an effect that was gathering momentum. We were on a dangerous trajectory.
Our leadership and school council were so concerned that we decided to engage a digital advertising agency at considerable expense. The agency had a digital advertising focus that seemed appealing. The agency also suggested a few minor tweaks to the website. We’ve been an Updat-ed school for many years, so I contacted Denis Masseni (founder) with the recommendations. Luckily, Denis asked a few questions wishing to understand the motivation behind the changes.
I expanded on our enrolment issues and our urgent need to work with a digital agency and get some advertising happening. Denis immediately said, “Stop. Give me 24 hours to address your school council and leadership on my approach to school marketing. And I’ll do this for a tenth of what the digital agency will charge”.
I never really associated Updat-ed as a marketing consultancy for schools, and they weren’t back then, but Denis had a marketing background and had always (luckily) wanted to prove he could make an impact.
Updat-ed met with our stakeholders to gather data for the marketing plan which was implemented in September of 2020. The plan, as it turned out, did not involve any digital advertising, but rather a strategic use of the school’s Facebook page and a range of other activities; both digital and more traditional. Facebook would generate interest and the website would then lead the prospective parent to ultimately engage with the school. Our mission was simple; generate enquiries and turn enquiries into a visit. We knew once parents saw the school and met the staff, perceptions would be more accurately set.
All the activities were underpinned by a simple ‘6 Key Message’ approach. It meant every time we wrote (website, Facebook, internal communications etc) we would be informed by the key messages so overtime, our school story would be reinforced. Having said all this, our school council and many of our parents become wonderful advocates telling our story at every opportunity. Denis said parents were one of the most important marketing channels and this proved to be the case.
This year we have 156 students at Kananook and looking at our early enquiry’s year to date, we think 2023 will be bigger again.
In simple terms, we’re better now at getting our school’s true story out into the community by having a strategy and a better understanding of all the marketing mediums available to schools, including digital mediums."
Principal: Kananook Primary School
If you think you have a need for marketing assitance, we offer a free, no obligation, one hour consultation to help you better scope the task. And before you spend money on digital advertising, please speak to us.
You can read more about our approach to school marketing by downloading the paper, 'What principals need to know about the principles of school marketing'. Click here.