Marketing for student retention

It's easier to keep a student than to find one.
Sep 2, 2021
Keeping students goes straight to the bottom line.

Losing students can be a serious financial drain so an eye should be kept on keeping the ones you’ve got. Fact: acquiring a new student can cost a school anywhere between five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one.

Unfortunately marketing mostly stops once a lead becomes a student. Many schools focus their marketing efforts on gaining new enrolments but for many, attrition means losing thousands of dollars over a student’s educational lifetime.

Lower churn rates, improved brand loyalty, and engaged alumni all have something in common; they result from successful retention marketing strategies.

Brands initially attract customers because of their stellar product or service, but how did they successfully keep them coming back for more? A successful retention marketing strategy.

Once you become a valuable customer, the marketing doesn’t stop; however, it does evolve.

It’s likely that your school already has a few retention marketing strategies but here are some strategies that yield great results.

Digital orientation packs
Retention starts at the very beginning by making a great impression on your newly enrolled students and their families. Digital orientation packs are a great way to welcome new families to your school. This includes a page on your school website covering everything students need to know to start their year off on the right foot. Here are just a few ideas of what you might like to include in your digital orientation pack:

  • Your school video
  • A map of your school campus
  • A link to your school handbook or directory
  • Information on how to download your school app
  • A link to your school’s online uniform shop.

Targeted communication
Boosting retention is all about creating a connected and engaged community – that means regular communication.

Communication needs to be timely, targeted, and in one easy-to-access location. If you’ve ever considered implementing a school app, your retention marketing will thank you. Instead of relying on a multitude of communication channels, families will be able to access all the information they need to know straight from the palm of their hands. You can create subscriptions for various topics or send push notifications to those who need to get the latest news.

Loyalty programs
Loyalty programs work in schools too. From multiple children fee discounts to annual Christmas or appreciation gifts, there are lots of ways to say thanks to your community for choosing your school.

Social events
Creating opportunities for connection is more important than ever – especially if you still have students who are learning remotely. It’s tough to be a new student, meet new people, and learn to find their place within your school. So, at the beginning of each semester, why not host a kick-off celebration to welcome new students and celebrate your existing ones? You don’t need to spend too much of your marketing budget on these events – it could be as simple as hosting a breakfast or lunch.

Celebrate milestones
Throughout a student’s life at your school, there will be much cause for celebration. From birthdays to awards or notable achievements, recognising these milestones as they happen will go a long way with families and strengthen your retention strategy. But, again, you don’t need to go overboard. All it takes is a quick, personalised email or push notification within your school app to make students (and their families) feel appreciated and valued.

Digitise your newsletter
School newsletters are still an excellent tool for building community and keeping families up to date about the goings-on at your school. Often, they just need a little revamp to make them engaging again.

Taking your newsletter digital means that you can create a regular distribution schedule and send it straight into your parent’s hands. In addition, you can keep newsletters centralised through a custom school app module and lean on push notifications to alert parents when your latest issue is published.

From Retention Marketing Ideas for K–12 Schools by Digistorm