How to Strategically Position Your School
Competition is a fact of life and it makes growing enrollment difficult (while also putting downward pressure on tuition for private schools).
Finding a unique, unchallenged space in your neighborhood's market is the Holy Grail for any school.
📊 The benefits of finding a market gap (a small niche segment of the parent market that is unfettered by competition) are obvious: greater control over your parent audience, their needs, higher tuition, and lower inquiry costs.
💡 So, in short: Educational Niche ➔ Healthy School Finances
What assets do you have in your toolbox to position your school as a unique brand?
Here's a small piece of advice, many market gaps seem straightforward and are tempting but are ultimately illusory.
For example, the following are NOT unique advantages for your school.
Small class sizes, personalized learning, warm nurturing environment, educating the whole child, inquiry-based learning, STEM, PBL, instilling love of learning, character education, academic excellence, highly qualified teachers...
These are taglines used by at least 8 out of 10 schools we work with when we start out.
They are taglines that have been overused and have become void of substance for any parent.
Unoccupied territory in your neighborhood's school market can present a major opportunity, but the challenge lies in identifying which gaps are profitable and which are traps.
Enrollment success will come from positioning your school as a truly unique brand.
🎯 Here is where Enrollhand can help.
Most school leaders think that marketing is about developing your brand message and spreading the word.
In fact, above all else, school marketing is about testing hundreds of messages for your school. It is about narrowing in on what message resonates most with your target parent audience.
By the end of our program, not only will you have spread the word to the entire community and grown enrollment. You will also have honed your message and discovered which niche segment in your neighborhood's market is the most lucrative for your school.
A slightly narrower but more sophisticated tool we use for analyzing a school's position and competition is “market mapping”.
Market maps are diagrams providing a visual means of studying your school's competition.
Market mapping allows a school to better understand itself, its market, and, most importantly, the competition. The process is useful both internally (to help a school understand its own strengths) and externally (to chart how parents perceive the school's brand in relation to the competition).
🌐 To plan where you are going, it helps to know where you are—and where your competitors are too.
An appreciation of the opportunities and threats of the school market, and the relative and shifting positions of competing schools, is essential to long-term successful strategic planning through your Board of Directors.