Strong kindergarten enrollment means more student funding and a healthier, more vibrant school district. But will parents enroll their children in your schools or choose a private school, homeschooling, or a neighbouring district? When parents choose a kindergarten they are usually choosing their child’s school district until graduation. As parents increasingly base school choice on information they gather online, your school district needs a smart digital strategy for improving kindergarten enrollment!
Know your audience
Your primary audience is made up of parents in their 20s and 30s. This group is active on social media. They expect to find all the info they need online and are much more likely to check your website than pick up the phone to call your office. Engage them on social media, and make it easy for them to find the info they need online!
Timing is everything
Don’t wait for the first day of registration to begin your digital campaign! School choice is a huge decision for parents, and many of them choose a school long before registration begins. Your district needs an engaging digital profile all year long, and your kindergarten registration campaign should start up well before the first day of registration. If registration opens February 1, start your digital campaign in November!
Get your websites ready
Execute your kindergarten enrollment strategy across all websites in your division: your central site, elementary school sites, even middle and high schools. Every website contributes to parents’ overall impression of your school district. Remember, they are looking for a place where their children can succeed from kindergarten through to graduation! Here are a few strategies to get your websites ready:
Online parent toolkit: Finding registration information should not require a call to your office! Build an easy-to-find section of your district website with all relevant registration information: forms, program details, school boundary maps, transportation info, FAQ, important contacts and a registration checklist.
Infographics or checklists: The registration process can be complicated and daunting for parents. Help them out with an infographic that shows the registration process from start to finish, or a simple checklist that lets them cross off all the steps in order. For first-time parents even knowing what year their child should start kindergarten can be daunting, an infographic can help!
Forms: Allow parents to complete registration forms easily and securely on your website, or at minimum let them download and print the forms.
Website images: Use plenty of high quality, candid photos of students enjoying learning and engaging with their teachers. Use high resolution photos of your own students or purchase stock photos. Great photos act as visual cues that let parents know their children can be happy and successful in your schools.
Be proud of your programs: What does your school district offer in Kindergarten and beyond? What is your focus? Your philosophy? What will students learn? Highlight special facilities, projects, programs, and field trips. It is not enough to simply link to a curriculum document that shows none of your district’s personality.
Create links: Parents are likely to visit their local school website first, not your district website. If you keep all registration information on your district website, make sure there are working links to that content from your school sites. But a link is not enough; your school sites should list the detailed program information parents need, and have beautiful design and photos that show why the school is a great place to be!
District-wide strategy: Middle and high schools are part of your strategy too! Remember, parents are looking for a district where their children will succeed all the way through their school years. All of your school websites need to show off your great programs and include plenty of beautiful photos!
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are very powerful information sharing tools. Use these platforms to broadcast registration information to your followers. People will continue to follow if you consistently provide valuable resources and information as part of your overall social media strategy.
Social media is also a great place to have conversations with your audience. Encourage people to ask questions and engage with you online (and make sure to reply when they do!).
Include links to your social media accounts on your district and school websites, and utilize Facebook’s advertising tool to get your registration news in front of your ideal audience.
What if your kindergarten enrollment numbers are too low and you're losing students to competing schools in the area? What if parents in your area are unsure about registering at your schools, or they simply don’t know how to register?
Go directly to where the parents are!
As we mentioned above, your primary audience is in their 20s and 30s and are very active on social media, especially Facebook. With Facebook Advertising you can send ads directly to the News Feed of parents who live within a 1 mile radius of your school. Facebook ads are an efficient way to show parents what makes your school special, get important information in front of them, and entice them back to your website for all the details.
Stay top of mind with parents and ‘sell them’ on what makes your school the right place for their kids!
For more tips on how school districts can make the most of social media, check out our post on producing eye-catching images for Facebook.
Read our post about knowing your school district website audience to learn more about reaching prospective parents and students.