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Marketing Plan for Private Schools

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Let’s talk about a marketing plan for private schools. It’s the first place to start, really for anyone tasked with the role of private school marketing. Are they necessary? No. Will they make your life easier? Yes. It’s one of those “not so sexy” marketing tasks that will make all of your marketing run more smoothly. In this post we’ll talk about what your marketing plan needs to have in it, why it’s important to have one, and provide you with an outline to get you started.

Marketing Your School

How will a private school marketing plan help me?


A good marketing plan should act as a definitive guide. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or confused about your school’s marketing consult the guide. When you’re making a decision about allocating marketing resources, consult the guide.

When you need to prepare for a marketing meeting with the board of directors…  you guessed it, consult the marketing plan. It will keep you on the straight and narrow which will give your markeitng efforts the time that they need to work.


There are at least a dozen ways to market a private school. That number is multiplied by the different objectives you’re trying to achieve. New enrollment, student retention, alumni donations, keeping staff, hiring staff, etc. All of these objectives have at least a dozen marketing strategies. Your marketing plan will outline each of your goals and the specific marketing items that will be done to achieve them.


In other words, it’s a foundational (if not THE foundational) piece to your private school marketing.

What is in a private school marketing plan?

Private school marketing plan goals


The first piece of a marketing plan for schools is the goals section. You’ve got to know what you want to achieve in order to achieve it right? But how many goals?

Your marketing plan should have ALL of the goals that you can reasonably achieve within a year period. The number of goals will be determined by things like budget, staff, time, etc. Only you know what that number will be. For some schools, there will only be one goal, student retention, for example. Other schools with more resources will be able to achieve multiple goals within a year. Listing those goals is the very first step. Here are a few goals a private school might want to achieve;

  • Increase student retention
  • Increase student enrollment
  • Increase referrals
  • Increase alumni donations
  • Increase staff retention
  • Hire more or better qualified staff
  • Build awareness for a new location

Marketing Strategy for Schools

After you’ve identified the goals you’d like to focus on, its time to create the strategy to hit those goals. Since there are so many marketing platforms, and each are so specific to your goals, we’ll list what you should include for each strategy portion.


  • Goal of the campaign
  • How the campaign will function
  • Why you think this strategy will work
  • How much money will be allocated to the campaign on a monthly and yearly basis
  • The KPI’s that will be tracked to measure success
  • What you would need to consider the campaign a success and worth continuing on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis

Here is an example of what this might look like for an incrased student retention goal.

Goal: Increase student retention

Strategy: Utilize a CRM system to keep track of data (like interests) of our students and parents. Use that data to deliver emails specific to their interests and to send consistent messages geared towards keeping students enrolled during key transitions phases.

Why: We believe that if we do a bad job at effectively communicating our schools mission, beliefs, and why we are a good choice overall, than parents and students begin to form their own narrative. By controlling the conversation through consistent email marketing we aim to better tell our story which we believe will lead to an increase in student retention.

Platform: Email Marketing (Active Campaign)

Budget: $200/month

Time commitment: We will comit to this strategy for one year

KPIs: Email open and response rates, overall parent and student sentament, student retention rates

Success: open rates of 40%+, increase in student retention by 10%

You would then go on to follow this structure for each strategy that you’ll be using for that specific goal. For example, you might also want to utilize direct mail marketing to increase student retention. You would fill out each of these subpoints for that specific marketing strategy. Make sense?

You can see how creating this plan allows you to get these abstract ideas down on paper with actionable steps, which is helpful in and of itself. Follow these steps and you’ll have a healthy marketing plan that will guide you through your school marketing this year.

What a Marketing Plan is Not


It can be easy to over complicate a private school marketing plan. If you’re anything like me you’ll have to remind yourself to keep it simple! So, let’s talk about what a marketing plan is NOT.

A marketing plan is not;

  • A to do list
    • Rather, it’s a reference point. You should refer to the guide to come up with your to do list. Not list all of your to do’s in the marketing plan.
  • A place to list all of the steps you need to take to execute the strategy
    • Create a separate sheet that breaks down all of the steps you need to take to execute the strategy. Using our earlier example of email marketing you’ll need to
      • Find, populate, or utilize an existing CRM/Email marketing software
      • Create the topics for 5 initial emails
      • Write the emails
      • Schedule the emails
      • Etc.
    • That is the information that you would include in you task management system, or whatever you use to prioritize your to do list.
  • A document that is so thick your eyes glaze over 4 minutes into reading it
    • It should be simple enough that someone who doesn’t understand marketing (probably a board member) could read it and understand the overall concept.
  • Set in stone
    • Your marketing plan should, and probably will change as the year goes on. As you learn more about what is working and what is not working, new objectives pop up, or budgets get shifted, so to should your marketing plan.

Let’s Recap

Marketing plans are a fundamental part of any private school marketing strategy. If done correctly, they will act as a simple guide that you should reference often to keep your marketing on the right track. They’ll help you explain, quickly and with detail, the overall goals of the marketing and how you plan to achieve them. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Follow the outline that we provided in this post and you’ll have everything that you need to  create a simple and effective marketing plan for private school.


Was this post helpful? Let us know how you plan on using the information to create your marketing plan. Leave a comment or send us a DM on our social channels (linked in the footer).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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