5 Practical Tips to Increase Student Enrolment at Your School
The student admissions process has always been a number one priority for schools, yet, over recent years, it has become more challenging. According to recent stats by GOV.UK, the number of pupils across all school types in England has increased by 73,800 compared to 2022, following a birth peak in 2013.
Simultaneously, the number of schools has slightly decreased. In some UK schools, Brexit, COVID, and staff shortages are the main reasons admissions teams have not grown in line with application workloads. The competition for potential students among UK education institutions has stiffened amidst acute staff shortages. It is time to embed new tactics into your school’s marketing strategies.
In this article, we present proven strategies for your school to increase student enrolment and attract more candidates before the new admission season starts.
How Students Choose a School
Before jumping into tips and tricks you can apply to increase student enrolment, let’s examine the factors that matter most when future students choose a school. Your educational institution needs to put these factors at the forefront and emphasise them in the marketing messages you communicate.
According to a research report about UK school performance and parental choice of schools, these are factors common for both low- and high-income families:
- Tuition fees
- School Ofsted ratings and reputation
- Teacher qualification and teaching methods
- School values and mission
- Campus and facilities
- Extracurricular activities.
How to Increase Student Enrolment at Your School
If you need strategies to boost enrolment, ensure potential applicants can easily find your school online. They “shop” for educational institutions on the internet just like other products and services. It is important your school is easily discovered and spotted by your target audience — be it your future students or teaching staff candidates.
Consider incorporating these strategies into your marketing plan to attract more potential school students — easier and faster than your competitors.
Establish a Strong School Brand
To ensure future students distinguish your school from the myriad of other educational institutions, build a strong brand. Good brands are associated with a certain identity. Customers (in your case, students) will feel a connection with it, trust it, and remain loyal to it.
What is your school associated with? Based on the impressions of current students and alumni about the school, crystalise your brand promise and declare it openly to a potential student persona.
Here’s how to do it for your school:
- Formulate your school’s unique differentiator. This could be a bias towards certain academic programmes, innovative teaching methods applied at your school, a unique pupil or teacher community, or an alumni brotherhood.
- Incorporate this differentiator into your vision and mission statements. Declare these in all your marketing communications—from enrolment brochures to your school website and social media. These statements should help your target audience remember your educational institution.
- Create a distinctive visual identity. Work with a design agency on a design concept or visual elements, such as logos, fonts, and school colours, which prospective students will associate with your school.
- Use this design concept at all times—on your school website, social media profiles, hall banners, brochures, email marketing activities, etc.
- Use the same tone of voice and messaging across all marketing platforms, where your student persona can encounter your educational institution—to formulate strong brand associations in their minds.
Branded communication, along with visual consistency, will win your school the attention of a wider audience and attract more students from online and offline marketing channels.
Use Your School Website as an Admission Tool
A website is a powerful tool to help your school establish an online presence and streamline your marketing efforts.
Make your school website a place where you describe the application process in a clear and detailed manner — to ensure your prospective students complete it frictionlessly. Provide step-by-step instructions or a checklist on how to complete the application. Add contact information for your Admissions Office or a staff member who will process student inquiries whenever they are stuck along the enrolment journey.
Take a proactive approach and send automated reminders about important admission deadlines to the applicant’s email address.
To make your website easily searchable for potential students, it needs to be thoroughly optimised for search engines. Certain keywords need to be incorporated into the website wording, so whenever your target audience uses Google with queries like “best schools in (location)” or “high-quality education in (location),” the link to your website pops up in the top 10 results. You can work on your website’s search engine optimisation with a professional SEO agency.
Create a Google Business Profile for Your School
You have probably seen the profiles of cafés, stores, and other businesses in your area displayed like snippets when you search for them in Google and on Google Maps. They used a tool called Google Business to create these profiles. Google Business is an effective and free way to increase the searchability of your school and display information about it to native and international students.
To create a Google Business profile, follow the instructions here. Add your school’s business name, address, contact information, and service hours. You can also personalise your school profile with photos of your campus and reviews from current students, staff, and the community, which will serve as social proof of your high rating. Once the profile is created, it becomes searchable in Google and brings traffic to your school website.
Develop a Powerful Inbound Marketing Strategy
If inbound marketing has not yet been included in your school’s promotion strategy, this is your sign to explore it. This kind of online marketing method helps you attract potential students to your school by creating and posting content that is useful to them.
Think of actual topics that overlap with student preferences and make them the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. Your school website, social media accounts, third-party resources, and forums where your target audiences “hang out” are the platforms where you can practice inbound marketing.
For instance, since your staff members know the ins and outs of the application process, they can consult others on how to complete it. Why not post an article on this topic in your school blog? First, the content will help the readers struggling with the enrolment journey; second, your school will become more authoritative and trustworthy in their eyes; third, the article will generate organic traffic to your website.
Use the Power of Social Media Platforms
According to DataReportal, over 86% of the United Kingdom’s internet user base (regardless of age) used at least one social media platform in January 2023. The average time spent on social platforms daily is around two hours. So, why can’t your school use social platforms as a channel to reach your potential students and advertise your brand to them? It certainly can and should!
Your target audience—and this refers to your potential students and teaching staff — can visit your social media profile if they have already heard something about your school. It is quite common these days to make social media “background checks” on companies of interest, educational institutions included. So, at a bare minimum, your school’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts need to be up-to-date.
To truly use the power of social media and attract potential students through this marketing channel, you need to post regular updates to your school’s accounts. Showcase your school’s day-to-day living: campus routine, extracurriculars, etc., and demonstrate video content, for instance, with student testimonials to provide answers to common student inquiries. Remember the first command of inbound marketing — the posts need to be useful to the potential audience.
If you want to engage even more users to your posts, try running paid social media ad campaigns. For instance, before the active enrolment season starts, you can launch an advertising campaign targeting your potential students. The campaign message would need to be tailor-made to fit their interests and describe how easy the application process is at your school. If the message resonates with the target audience and invokes a desire to click on the ad, they are redirected to your school website or social media page to learn more about your educational institution.
If you want to harness the maximum benefits of social media advertising but do not have a dedicated staff member to conduct marketing campaigns, turn to soccialy. We are a social media advertising platform and consultancy with over 30 years of experience in the educational sector. We will take the burden off your shoulders and execute a turnkey campaign that meets your needs. With soccialy, you do not need technical knowledge, as we’ll get you covered with accurate targeting and high relevance for incoming inquiries.
As the competition for potential students stiffens, educational institutions look for new tactics to increase enrolment. Some of the effective strategies to attract a wider audience to your school are establishing a strong brand online, launching an informative and search-engine-optimised website, creating a Google Business profile, and engaging in inbound marketing.
Social media advertising is a powerful method of attracting potential students to your educational institution. If you have not yet launched a social media ads campaign or are unsatisfied with your initial results, this is your sign to do it! Book a free 30-minute call, and we’ll help you get started with social media ads for student enrolment and recruitment.
How do students learn about the school they’d like to enrol in?
Most students use search engines to find a school with a high enrolment rate. That is why it is crucial you SEО-optimise your school website and have a Google Business Profile to ensure your school is included in SERP.
Which tools should you use to increase student enrolment?
A school website and social media, at the very least. Targeted online ad campaigns will help your school reach a wider audience and be remembered among competing educational institutions.
How do you advertise a school to students?
Apart from traditional marketing strategies, like open days and school fairs, you can use online advertising campaigns (in Google and social media) to advertise and promote your school.