6 Essential tips for all schools to get more students
September 20, 2022
We’ve worked with hundreds of schools, and here are the six best tips they’ve shared with us and tips we’ve learned along the way.
1. Get better at gathering student information
You need an interactive way to collect student information. Once you have a communication plan in place, refine it by honing in on how you are going to collect the necessary information. Remember “always be available,” meaning have a way for your students to sign-up 24/7 using tools/websites.
Don’t use “contact us” forms - this appears passive, and potential students don’t view this as an invitation to inquire or indicate interest in your school compared to other call to actions such as “text us at this number” or by having a live chat function on your website.
When a student calls, always get their phone number and email address - Ask, “how did you find out about us” and document it in a spreadsheet or CRM. Without you acquiring their information you can’t follow up with them and it’s imperative this is stored somewhere centrally.
Make sure someone can respond during regular business hours - the quicker the potential student’s query gets answered, the quicker you’ll be able to convert them to students and lessens the chance of them looking for different options. It also gives them a sense that they’re being taken care of
Make your forms ones that capture student information fast. Ever started a long application only to leave midway through for a break only to get distracted and never finish it? This happens all of the time, smart forms allow for basic contact information to always be gathered first and then move on to the meat of the application.
2. Mobile-friendly application and website
As more people use mobile phones, especially Gen-Z your school should have a website that works well on a mobile browser. Check throughout your website, especially places that a student might enroll. The better you can make it for students to get information from you, the more likely they will be to enroll. Making you ahead of your competitors will result in good word-of-mouth marketing, which leads us to the third tip.
3. Invest in reviews
In a survey done by Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report in over 56 countries, more than 90% of people trust family and friends’ suggestions above other forms of advertising. Students trust other students’ opinions when deciding where they enroll. Being able to showcase the good reviews to your student will highlight your competency and credibility. This is a no-brainer so why do some schools do a great job with building up reviews while other’s do not? They have a system in place. Here are two steps to get started with your own system
Survey all of your students to identify “champions” at the end of the program: One question on your survey should be the classic NPS or net promotor score question of “on a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to refer our school to a friend.” For students who give you high scores ask those student to write you a good review as a small thank you for your hard work in instructing them.
Make the outreach easy by creating a templated text or e-mail: Create a nice templated email that you can customize requesting a friendly review – spread your review requests out over important sites like Google, Yelp, Indeed, etc. Be sure to ask them to let you know when they’ve done it.
Follow up: Check in, if someone who rated your school highly in a survey didn’t write a positive review that might just be because they forgot or got busy, feel free to provide a gentle nudge or reminder for them to write a review.
4. Harness SEO / especially local SEO
Good reviews from students without anyone seeing them will end up useless. That is why it’s essential to be visible online, especially to the right audience. In fact, according to tSunela, a digital marketing agency in St. Louis that uses data-driven strategies, such as SEO, PPC, etc., 67% of internet users use search engines as their first source of information for higher education institutions.
Claim your listings on google my business, Dreambound, Yelp, and other local CNA job listings
Invest in getting more backlinks - not sure what a back link is? You can find a handy guide here
5. Make sure your information is up to date and clear
This simple but often overlooked step can help you attract more students. If you don't have the most up-to-date information, not only will Google’s sophisticated search algorithm rank you lower, but students will not be able to find what they need from you and quickly look elsewhere.
Make sure you have this information clear and up to date
Type of class - is it in-person, online, or hybrid?
Cohort date - if it’s hybrid, include the days for the in-person class
Tuition fee - so that students can plan and calculate the cost
Payment option - indicate if you allow payment plans or only pay in full
Clear information is important. Students are looking for concise, clear content that tells them exactly what needs to be done next in order for them to enroll and what they are signing up for. Make sure to provide the following information.
6.Offer flexible payment options/ways to pay
Payment plans - are important when it comes to attracting and retaining students. When you offer these amenities, you provide them with a sense of security that they won't have any problems paying off their tuition bills. You can require an upfront fee of 20-50% of their tuition fee, and they can settle the remaining balance before the end of the class.
Online payment - As mentioned above, since more people are utilizing technology many people are getting accustomed to paying online for virtually everything in their lives. The trend also applies to higher ticket items like courses. Providing convenience in making a payment will lead to happier students.
Sponsorship - many students are looking to get their training paid for by an employer - find prospective employers nearby who are looking to hire CNAs. Some may be willing to sponsor candidates who can’t afford the course.
These are just some of the best practices that successful trade school leaders use in order to convert prospective students, achieve school growth in a short span of time, and continue to stay on top among others. If you’re looking for tools or solutions to improve in any of the above areas learn more about how Dreambound can help you by checking out our free school portal features that help schools grow here.