Summer Funnel…is YOURS full?

It’s finally summer. Well, at least it is here in Baltimore. As I sat watching a charity softball game yesterday, and saw scores of kids running around and getting autographs from their favorite NFL players, I was thinking about how schools market to this group.

In fact, it’s quite remarkable how many of our schools aren’t really sure, at this point in the summer, what kind of applicant pool they are expecting for the upcoming enrollment season. And that’s kind of scary. Do you know how many 8th graders are in your feeder school classes? How about what the birth rate is for students who would be entering school this year? Without that data, you could be looking at a REALLY uncomfortable admission season.

Over the last two weeks, Admission Pro has delivered admission and marketing reports to our clients for the summer mailing season. What’s been most remarkable about our work together has been the realization of how many students are actually in the market for a given year.

For instance, if you are a high school in a relatively populated area, wouldn’t it be good to know that there are roughly 2,000 students who match your typical family profile in a 30 mile radius? That one piece of data can mean the difference between hitting and missing your enrollment goals for the year, and if you DON’T know it, you are setting yourself up for disaster.

Of course, there is another important point to consider.

Relationships.

How can you get to know if a family is a good fit for your school, if you don’t even know who they are?

With some great early work with these clients, we were able to provide them a prospect pool of over 2,000 families that were exact matches for their school. Wouldn’t THAT be a great way to go into the summer?

So, as you are preparing for the summer break, take a second and look at your prospect pool. Is it ready to really filly your school in the fall?

Are you on top of your game?

I have had the privilege over the past few years of working with some schools that were full. Not full in the way that I used to think of it. Nothing like that actually. In my old paradigm, full meant “on the number, and everyone’s happy”. That perspective was shattered on a school visit in the UK.

I met a school that had admission issues, and they were looking for a solution. Their challenge, however, is one that almost every school I have ever met would kill for. Literally.

This school had a 13 year waiting list.

Let that sink in for a moment.

13 years. They were projected to be completely full for 13 years, with full pay students. Done. Dusted. Wrapped up in a bow.

And yet, this school was concerned with competition, staying ahead of the market and doing things differently, so that they could continue their dominance. That was a refreshing and eye-opening conversation. We didn’t talk about the problems that are inherent in that kind of logjam of paperwork (yes, they still used paper), or the possibility of families falling through the cracks with a 13 year process.

We talked about Staying On Top Of The Game. It was fantastic.

As you think about your state of admissions, where are you? Are you on top of your game? Are you getting the most out of your marketing efforts and attracting the right families to your events? As this school proved, Same Old-Same Old just doesn’t work, especially in this hyper-competitive market.

There is another school in the UK that is bursting at the seams, and they have figured things out. I want you to watch this video, and then think about their reason for doing it:

So…this school took a look at their data. They were full and wanted to stay there. They saw that grandparents were helping to pay tuition of their students. They also wanted to connect with traditional past-times…hence the toys and games that resonate with an older demographic. Once this video aired, they reported one more fascinating statistic: the number one demographic at their open houses were now pregnant women.  Hornsby House kept demand up, without showing anything relating to curriculum, caring faculty, facilities, sport or anything else. It was all about the kids.

You have to congratulate Miles Latham and his team at Affixxius Academic, who asked the right questions and delivered a product that allowed Hornsby House to Stay On Top Of Their Game.

As you plan for your next admission cycle. Think about your market and who you are trying to reach. Think about your goals, and don’t be afraid to think big.

Let’s get YOU on top of YOUR game.