When planning for the new academic year, school staff are presented with a chance to revise and update all of their processes, so they can head into the new academic year refreshed and ready to take on new challenges. The goals you lay down here can pave the way for your future performance, and by establishing a comprehensive roadmap, you’ll have a much clearer way forward.
Planning your marketing
There are still many schools that have not put pen to paper and created an official marketing plan, which can lead to your team losing direction and cohesiveness moving forward. A good marketing plan will structure your team by providing objectives and metrics to strive for, and laying out strategies for achieving them. To create your marketing plan, start by defining your school’s objectives, which you can draw from your school’s business plan. It’s important to ensure your objectives are actionable and achievable and aren’t unrealistic. Once you’ve determined your objectives, you can start to plan the activities you’ll undertake to achieve them.
Once again, make sure your activities are achievable, and within your means and budget. Next, you’ll want to decide on the marketing channels you’ll use to achieve your objectives. If you want to drive online admissions, do you want to use Google ads or Facebook ads to boost exposure? It’s a good idea to develop a multi-channel approach, and not put all your eggs in one basket by just focusing on one. Now you can set your KPIs (key performance indicators), so you can have a more specific target to hit and track your progress. While it can sometimes be tricky to determine KPIs, it’s always a good idea to have a look at what your competitors are doing, and learn more about the industry standards, which should help you along your way.
Once you’ve drafted an actionable marketing plan, you can put it into practice and monitor its performance, making revisions along the way. Remember to keep in mind your target audience, and tailor your marketing to them. For example, the dominant wave of parents will soon belong to Gen Z, whose members have their own values and expectations when it comes to enrolling their children in school. By catering to them with your communication, you can expect more positive results.
Getting admissions ready
Before the start of a new academic year is a great time to review and update your admissions process. You can start by reviewing your current onboarding process and try to find any area for improvement. Have a look at your orientation events and judge their current effectiveness. Are students and parents getting what they need from them, and leaving the event feeling like they’re being taken care of during the onboarding process? If you feel like your events aren’t up to standard, an event checklist can make all the difference, and take the weight off your shoulders. By planning and executing your events in a systematic way you can become more efficient and improve communication with parents and students.
Once you’ve sorted your events out, it’s a good idea to revise your logistics processes. For example, will families have access to uniforms and textbooks, and anything else they need to settle in? There will likely be a start-of-year rush, so make sure you’re ready to handle the demand and think about how you’ll communicate with parents to handle the entire process.
One of the best ways to boost student applications and enrolments is by aligning your marketing and admissions teams, so they work together towards shared goals. It’s all too common for marketing and admissions teams to work in silos, but the separation is largely unjustified, seeing as their efforts are intertwined. When separated, the two teams will attempt to wear many hats, and take on tasks that are not their speciality.
Why have your marketing team done admissions-related tasks when they could be spending their time on marketing efforts? By opening up communication between the two teams, both will have a better idea of what the other’s doing, and therefore be able to concentrate more intently on their own tasks. Marketing can focus on attracting new families, and admissions can nurture them along the pipeline.
Self-development of staff members should be a big priority for every school. Before the new academic year begins, take stock of your school’s current situation: are staff offered opportunities for development, and if not, what are the roadblocks? Maybe opportunities already exist, in which case efforts need to be made to communicate their existence. Or, maybe these opportunities are desired but haven’t been able to be put into place yet.
Whatever the reason, there are always ways to offer staff members opportunities for self-development, whether it be through training programs or other forms of incentives. In line with this is job satisfaction, which has become even more important for school staff in recent years due to the pandemic. In recent years the importance of a positive working environment has come to the forefront of many people's minds, and schools need to keep up with best practices if they want to attract top talent and retain the great team members they already have.
When you’re approaching a new academic year, you need to take stock of your school’s current situation if you want to effectively plan for the future. By analysing your current strengths and weaknesses you’ll know what areas to focus on, and where you can improve. When you have a plan in place, you’ll feel much more confident going into the new year, and have a solid foundation from which to strive from and achieve your goals.