One of my favourite clients is a large secondary school in Kent. I’ve been working with the school for a few years now. Their Head came on one of my marketing courses in Maidstone in 2012. Since then I’ve delivered a marketing audit for them, and helped with their branding, prospectus and website.
The school wants to be the 1st choice for parents in the area, and they have become really “savvy” at pupil recruitment. One of the most successful elements of their marketing campaign has been their work with half a dozen core feeder primaries within easy travel distance. They reckon the best way to show their school to prospective pupils and parents is to get them through the doors at the age of 7, 8, 9 and 10. In September last year they identified the dates for all of their core feeder primary school Inset Days. Inset Days are a real pain in the neck for working primary school parents because they have to take a day off work, or organise childcare. My client has created special Activity Days aimed at primary school pupils to coincide with those Inset Days. They have held a “Dance Day” and a “Textiles Day” so far.
These activity days have proved to be the most successful events they have ever created for prospective pupils. More popular in fact than their Open Day! Attendance has been astonishingly high, and parental feedback has been very positive. Whether this translates into 1st Choices in due course remains to be seen, but the theory is sound. You have a much greater chance of recruiting a pupil who has been through your doors a couple of times than someone who has never visited you.