Most cost-effective school growth strategy

Private education is an increasingly competitive space. Every year, schools feel the need to allocate even bigger budgets towards marketing activities. Advertising, PR and branding are all getting more and more expensive to buy, anywhere in the world.
In countries like Vietnam, where there is no such thing as free PR, keeping your brand prominent in the market place can be a high-cost activity. One quarter page ad’ in the national paper will cost you around $1000… or more if you wanted it in colour.
To appear as an online Google Ad’, you will need to bid no less than $5. In a month, you can easily spend $5000 to get some visitors to your site.
It is often said that attracting new customers costs fives times more than retaining existing ones. Schools can save their hundreds of thousand dollars by focusing on a the big “R” – Retention. Moreover, according to Shawn Graham, a digital marketing expert, the likelihood of getting repeat business from an existing customer is significantly higher than trying to convert a new one (70% vs 20%). Here’s a nice little diagram that I found on Shawn’s website,, summarising what schools and businesses alike can do to retain customers:
  1. Make it valuable: communicate regularly with your parents and students they have developed and what they have achieved since being at the school,
  2. Make it simple: incentivise your existing customers to repeat or continue their custom with you. Make it easy for them to re-enrol.
  3. Make an impact: understand what your customers want, what makes them happy and put them first. Do something that they will remember and appreciate.
  4. Make it personal: whether you’re a school with 100 students or 1000, try and remember the students’ names. Build a connection with your students and their families. Perhaps send them a bouquet of flowers when they have a new addition to the family. Or a personalised birthday card when it’s your student’s birthday…
Let’s put some effort in ‘marketing’ to the existing customers and see the wonders it will do to the growth of student numbers.

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