This is part three of our three-part series: Tips for increasing enrollment at your Montessori school. The final installment looks at using marketing strategies to answer prospective parents’ questions—the critical first step in attracting new students.
The strategies in Part 3 focus on educating parents. Because Montessori differs from the standard techniques used by public schools, it is important to thoroughly understand and respond to the questions and concerns that parents unfamiliar with Montessori will have about the Montessori Method.
Before we delve into each strategy, let’s think about one of the most common questions.
How is Montessori different than the standard education system?
If your website doesn’t clearly answer this question, parents may never give your school a second look. Although entire books have been written on the subject, the following four key strategies can guide your content decisions ensuring your site answers how the Montessori Method is uniquely different.
The following strategies help each other grow over time. They aren’t meant to simply be completed in sequential order, rather they should all grow together over time.
Click on any topic below to be taken to that section.
- Your Website
- Google Search
- Reputation Management
- Facebook Promotions – Schedule a Tour
- Facebook Promotions – Open House
- Facebook Remarketing
- Content Marketing
- Video Storytelling
- Email Newsletter
- Building a Database
- Google Remarketing
Part 3: Market To Your Audience
All website content should be directed to a specific audience. In this case, your audience is prospective parents. That means blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, videos, podcasts, Infographics, etc. should be created with that audience in mind.
Blog posts form the foundation for content marketing. There is an endless amount of content that can be created. We work with our clients to create an editorial calendar to publish quality posts on a schedule designed to increase reader interest. Here are a few examples of posts that help answer the central question, How is Montessori different…?:
- Deciding Which Montessori Preschool is Right For You
- Why Students Should Teach and Teachers Guide
- A Montessori Teacher's Role in the Classroom
- A Parent's Role in a Montessori Environment
- A Typical Day in a Montessori School
Use content in as many ways as possible. Some of the subjects are closely related and can be combined into whitepapers or eBooks. For example, your school could publish a Montessori Parent’s Guide and include all of the above posts. Other examples of repurposing content include using statistics to develop an Infographic or using content as outlines for videos, webinars, or podcasts.
There is power in referencing other credible sources in your posts and content. For examples, see the Appendix below for some excellent videos that give voice to the merits of a Montessori education.
The goal of content marketing is to attract an audience. Consider topics that have a broader appeal such as
- Fall Activities to Teach your Children about Nature
- Building Fine Motor Skills in Preschool
- Fun Activities to get your Elementary Student Interested in Writing.
It’s important to include relevant graphics as a part of your content marketing strategy. Blog articles with graphics typically receive more views. We connect with pictures much more quickly than we do with text. The lead photo used in your content should visually convey the theme. Graphics used within your content should support or visually translate the information presented.
“Vision trumps all other senses” – John Medina, Brain Rules
We’ve recommended to many of our Montessori clients that they work with a professional videographer to produce a video that showcases their schools, teachers, and unique differentiators. For prospective parents, seeing is believing. Video can instantly bring your school’s culture to life and establish its credibility.
While you can create your own video content to share on social media, having at least one high-quality, professional video on your website immediately sets you apart from your competition.
You can get started by repurposing your blog posts for a video series. Each blog topic could be used to create 3-5 minute videos that are helpful to parents while establishing you as an expert in the area of education.
“In a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support.”
For ideas, see the Appendix below for videos that do a good job of promoting the Montessori Method.
The power of email marketing is that you own it and have complete control. You decide what content to send out, who should receive that content, and how it can be customized or segmented. You don’t have to depend on search engines or social media sites to deliver your message.
Any content you’ve created can be used for an email newsletter. Always consider your audience when creating the email message.
Are you sending the newsletter to a list of prospective parents or to parents of enrolled students? If the former, you may want to craft an opening message that is welcoming and invites them to learn more about the Montessori method. Just be sure to include content in your newsletter that supports your opening message.
If you are sending your email newsletter to parents that already have children enrolled at your school, you will want to make sure your message continues to invite them to engage while keeping them updated on school events.
Be sure to review all newsletter content through your audience’s eyes and consider
- Is it valuable information?
- Is it relevant?
EVERY newsletter must contain relevant and valuable information. Think about your own experience. How often have you hit unsubscribe when a newsletter contains low-quality or irrelevant content?
“Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%.” -Hubspot
Building a Database
Building a database is the process of capturing names and email addresses so that you can proactively reach out to prospective parents. Every time you interact with someone, it’s important to think about how you will continue to interact with them in the future.
To begin, request email addresses from every new parent you meet.
Your content should also aide in collecting this information by utilizing customized calls-to-actions. Whitepapers and eBooks should always require an email address before they can be downloaded. Videos should encourage viewers to subscribe and sign up for an email newsletter.
Google remarketing allows you to display ads on other websites, to people who have previously visited your website. This is extremely powerful because the parents who have previously visited your website are qualified -- they already have a level of interest in your school.
Case Study: Montessori School of Flagstaff. The image below is a screenshot of the Arizona Daily Sun, a popular news website. We created the banner ad just below the menu for Montessori School of Flagstaff to help promote a school tour. The ad is only displayed to people who have previously visited the website, and the budget is only spent if the ad is clicked.
When parents are searching for a new school, they will often visit multiple websites. By utilizing Google remarketing, we have the opportunity to continue to market to them even after they’ve left the website.
This is very valuable even if they don’t click on the ad because it creates additional brand impressions. The more often we see a brand, the more likely we will remember it. We tend to trust brands that we recognize.
Because we are only showing these ads to a highly targeted audience, it becomes a very cost-effective way to build brand recognition.
Incorporating content marketing, video storytelling, email marketing, and building a database are effective strategies to attract prospective parents to your Montessori school. Every parent who is researching schools is looking for one or more key differences in education that will help their child succeed.
Contact us today for help determining if your website and content strategies are helping increase enrollment at your Montessori school.
Informative Videos to Help Educate Prospective Parents
These videos are great for parents that want a basic understanding of how Montessori is unique. How it fosters a love for learning, creativity and critical thinking.
- Montessori Kindergarten - https://youtu.be/8euBZVO0p_E
- Montessori Elementary - https://youtu.be/IbKMR7fLqI0
Here’s an example of one of the most famous presentations about education and the need for fostering creativity. While it’s not Montessori specific, it’s directly in line with the principles of Montessori and could used to make a case for the Montessori Method.
Stephan Curry is one of the most well liked and well-respected athletes across all professional sports. This video does a great job of showcasing what Montessori means to him and how it played a role in his success and character development.
- Stephan Curry - https://youtu.be/Pb8kUvKcVTw
Here are some compelling explanations of Montessori from the TED stage