Here you are, sitting at your desk trying to brainstorm a new marketing campaign for enrollment. Maybe you’re thinking about promoting your academics or your athletic program. Maybe you’re thinking about highlighting your global program or service learning. Maybe you’re thinking of launching a testimonial campaign.

Whatever route you choose, reverse engineer it.

Think first about why a family seeks out an independent school in general and yours in particular: They are motivated. What motivates them is that they have at least one “pain point” — a need, want, or problem — that your school addresses. Prospective parent pain points are numerous, but here are 21 for you to think about.

  1. Child is not succeeding academically in public school
  2. Child is not succeeding socially in public school
  3. Child is succeeding but needs a greater challenge
  4. Weakness of local public schools (strength of program, safety, class size, etc.)
  5. Independent school tradition in family and/or legacy
  6. Perceived status/prestige
  7. Perceived leg up to college of choice
  8. Peer-pressure (from other students or parents)
  9. Influence of child’s grandparent or other relative
  10. Offer of tuition payment by child’s grandparent or someone else (Yay!)
  11. Recommendation of counselor
  12. Desire for faith-based education
  13. Individual/personalized attention for either child or parent or both
  14. Desire for increased sports participation and/or options
  15. Accommodation for family circumstance (child is in training for Olympics and needs flexible schedule, parents travel a great deal and need a boarding school, etc.)
  16. Current school ends in X grade and child needs a new school
  17. Child has outgrown friendships and opportunities their current school
  18. Relocation
  19. Desire for character development
  20. Need for learning difference expertise and success
  21. Desire for more co-curricular opportunities

Not every parent who contacts your school will have the same pain point(s), but each will certainly have a need, want or problem. Knowing a parent’s motivation and addressing it is the beginning effective marketing.

What pain points does your school address?


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