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[Admin Tips] 7 Key Tactics for Marketing Your Virtual Program to Families

[Admin Tips] 7 Key Tactics for Marketing Your Virtual Program to Families

As the fall semester approaches, families are thinking about their schooling options. Families and students looking for permanent online learning options are growing in numbers, and virtual learning is here to stay. Families and students who are concerned about returning to school as the coronavirus delta variant rages on or who have found that virtual learning works for them are looking for continuous online learning options and are growing in numbers. In addition, there are many new online learning programs to choose from, and competition for students looking to return to a virtual environment is stiff.

Families are researching options and looking for the best fit for their child and their needs. Before you begin marketing your program, it’s important to be able to set your schooling options apart. Are there additional benefits your program offers families that other programs don’t? Be sure to describe the features and supports that you’ve carefully planned to offer to help students be successful.

Here are some simple, no- or low-cost strategies that you can implement to attract and retain students who are looking for virtual learning options:

1. Web Presence

Consider your Web presence your home base to direct prospective families from other marketing efforts. Make it easy to navigate to, and give it equal weight with your brick-and-mortar schools.

Get your program information front and center—provide as much information as possible, include contact information, and consider including a form to collect contact information for families who are interested in enrolling. Families generally want to know what their children will learn, what the learning experience will be like, and what support is available. Have success stories or testimonials? This is the perfect place to show them off.

2. Faculty and Staff Buy-In

Share information and updates on your virtual program with school counselors, teachers, school secretaries, and other staff members who regularly interact with families. They can help identify or refer students and families who would benefit from your virtual program. Leave some flyers with them to help them refer families to enroll in your program.

3. Public Relations

News coverage is a great way to boost awareness and your marketing efforts. Newspaper or television news coverage can drive people to your website and social media channels, further enhancing your digital strategy.

Local media are always on the hunt for a story. Be sure to keep them in the loop about your program, and show how it can help families who are looking for options. Arranging to put them in touch with a current family for an interview will add a personal touch to the story that families can relate to.

4. Webinars

Use webinars to generate awareness for your program, connect with families, and help families decide to enroll. You can also use webinars to establish your program as a part of your school community and build rapport and strengthen relationships with families and community members who may become important advocates for your program. Live webinars are very effective, but they take a lot of time to host and set up. Maximize your effort by recording and offering webinars to families to watch on demand, whenever their schedule allows.

5. Grassroots Support

Flyers are a great way to get the word out to families. Distributing flyers and other forms of collateral can be an effective method of delivering your message and raising awareness. Some ideas of places to distribute or leave behind flyers include medical centers, pediatrician’s offices, the school liaison office at your local military base, libraries, community centers, pools/recreation centers, and relevant businesses where students and their families frequent (dance studios, drama schools, athletic training facilities, martial arts facilities, etc.).

6. Social Media

Don’t forget to leverage your social media channels. Post enrollment announcements and reminders, news, webinar invites, short-form videos, and other visually appealing content featuring your virtual program, along with a link to the webpage or enrollment form to all of your social media accounts. Boosting social posts can be an effective and inexpensive way to extend the reach of your posts beyond your followers and target additional families in your area who may not be followers.

7. Email/Direct Mail

Reaching out directly to families via bulk email and mail is an efficient way to educate families about your program and the support you provide. These are also great options to utilize if you are able to access a list of families who have recently transferred to homeschooling or similar programs out of your district. Be sure to include links to your website for more information and provide a way for families to contact you with questions by including your phone number and email address.

Use a combination of these strategies together to reach and retain families looking for virtual options in your area. By using multiple methods, your program will be able to reach more prospective families.

Looking for free resources for your hybrid or virtual program for the coming school year? Visit our planning resources page for tried-and-true guides, workbooks, printables, and blog posts.