4 Admission Marketing Tips to Kick off the Year

September 24, 2013 Peter Baron

I just got back from three excellent days at SSATB’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. The sessions were strong — I thought John Palfrey’s keynote was one of the highlights — and time spent with friends in the admission world is always one of the things I look forward to the most.

But something else, equally positive, struck me — it’s way the conference serves as the unofficial kickoff to the year for many in admissions. You could feel the energy.

Many admission officers are coming off of what may have been a very busy summer building their matriculated class. SSATB gives them a chance to catch their breath, engage in some professional development to get the ideas flowing for the year ahead, and build excitement for the start of the next recruitment season.

You could hear people in the halls chatting about recruiting strategies and techniques that they’re looking forward to trying during 2013-2014, and I wanted to somehow capture the enthusiasm. So I set out to ask a few admission directors the following: What admission marketing opportunities are you looking forward to trying this year?

Scheduling time to look at the data

Brendan SchneiderBrendan Schneider
Director of Admission & Financial Aid, Sewickley Academy
Author, SchneiderB.com

“I’m very excited about forcing myself to take the time to look at (Sewickley Academy’s) data and then using it to inform my persona development and content strategy. This way, I can give people what they want and solve their problems.”

Making the move from print to inbound marketing

Betsy EllsworthBetsy Ellsworth
Director of Admission and Financial Aid
Greenhills School

“At Greenhills School, what we’re going to do this year is stop all print publication advertising. We’re not going to be in any of the local papers. We’re not going to spend $8000 (per ad buy) on print anymore to advertise open houses. It’s all going to be inbound marketing – using Twitter, using Facebook, using Pinterest – all of those things to get people to come.

We tried it a bit last year for two of our open houses and we didn’t lose any numbers at all. So we’re going to try and save $30,000+ this year by going the inbound way.”

Does our uniqueness sell in the market?

Claude AndersonClaude Anderson
Dean of Enrollment, Northfield Mount Hermon School
Author, Marketing to Full Pay — The Five Pillars Workshop

“We’ve been working on identifying our (Northfield Mount Hermon’s) uniquenesses and we have put those into place.

Now, we’re getting an opportunity to test them in the market both from a quantitative and qualitative level to determine whether the full pay customer is willing to purchase what we think is unique about us, and whether it’s worth the cost of our $52,000 tuition.”

Better understanding our site visitors

Larry JensenLarry Jensen
Director of Admission, Christchurch School

“We really want to find something out about the profile of the families visiting our site… looking at analytic data about bounce rates, what pages people come to our site from, how long they stay and what other pages they visit… Those are all possibilities that are very exciting.

To get those people who are not even committing enough to give us their contact information and really don’t want to call yet, to try to find a way to reach them and inform them about us. Not really trying to convert them and sell them on anything at that point, but just inform them and be good shepherds.”

I want to thank each for sharing, and I also encourage you to let us know your ideas via the comments below.

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