Your school has no doubt put a marketing strategy into place to attract visitors to your website, and has encouraged them to visit your school so they can see what a great place it is!
You now need to turn them into applicants… and this blog post will give you some great tips to help you.
If you take the time to discuss the contents of this post with your admissions team, adapt the ideas to your school’s individual needs, and meet regularly with your team to get updates, you are almost certain to increase your enrolment rate.
Let’s now look at some of the ways you can do this.
1) Create a sense of urgency
You may have heard of the acronym FOMO (for the uninitiated that is a fear of missing out!) and it is vital that once a family has visited your school, that you capitalise on their interest and encourage them to take the next step.
One way in which to do this is to give them a substantial discount off the application fee, if they apply within a set number of days (you can choose how many days this will be) after visiting your school.
This early-bird offer can help in several ways:
- It helps families save money
- It provides an incentive to make a decision quickly while your school is still firmly on their minds
- It gives you a reason to follow up after their visit to remind them of their interest in your school and to encourage them to take advantage of the offer.
It is entirely up to your school what discounted amount you offer, but £50 to £100 is quite usual… to make up for the loss of funds by families taking up the early-bird offer, some schools increase their application fee to enable them to offer the discount.
2) Establish a clear visitor follow-up plan
You need to focus on identifying ways to persuade your visitors to become applicants.
Your head could schedule regular meetings with your admissions team to review the list of prospects that have visited the school in recent months:
- Create a follow-up strategy for the different visitors to the school that addresses their individual questions and concerns, such as asking them if there was anything that was stopping them from completing an application to the school at that time – this question might prompt them to mention something that needs to be addressed
- Make sure that expectations are being managed and find out how the follow-ups are going with each visitor
- Recognise the difficulties that your admissions team might be experiencing as they try to chase up the prospects … and offer encouragement
- Your head could also help troubleshoot by contacting prospective applicants to find out why they are not responding to follow-up calls or are reluctant to take the next step.
Usually, there are only a small number of standard objections that your admissions team will come across whilst trying to convert prospective families into applicants and by identifying these typical objections your head could create a list of suitable solutions – the template could then be used by future admission team members.
Typical objections that may prevent a prospective parent from taking the next step and enrolling their child in your school – this is not an exhaustive list and you may come across other objections:
a) They cannot afford the tuition fee
b) Following on from the above point, they might be waiting to find out if they are eligible for some financial help before they apply
c) They are waiting for a divorced partner to visit the school as well (as the choice of school is usually a joint decision)
d) They think that they live too far away from the school
e) The school does not offer sufficient before school or after school care provision.
3) Do your admissions team and head understand their respective roles within the admissions process?
It is important that the head and the admissions team understand their roles in the process – and that their respective roles are clearly defined to ensure that everyone is working smoothly to convert prospective families into applicants.
It is not the responsibility of the admissions team to pre-screen candidates or to conduct a school interview.
Your school’s admissions team generally works in a sales capacity; removing any objections that a prospective family might have about their child attending your school and persuading them to complete the admissions process and to attend a school interview.
Then, generally speaking, your head will hold the interview and will help the prospective pupil and parents to decide if your school might be a good fit for them.
If the admissions team take on roles that are not their responsibility then they potentially run the risk of putting off prospective families – increasing the pressure on them to make a decision too early on in the admissions process for example.
It is a finely balanced process that needs to be handled correctly to help your school with its conversion rates.
4) Regularly review your conversion rates
You should take the time to review your conversion rates regularly.
- Keep an eye on the numbers of prospective families that go on to visit your school
- Then keep an eye on how many visitors convert into applicants
- If you see a drop in conversion rates at any stage of the process, then you should identify why this is and work out a plan of action to address the issues.
We hope that the above tips have been useful and that you will consider using some of them to improve your school’s conversion rate and ultimately increase the number of pupils who enrol at your school. Good luck!
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