Is Your Independent School's Prospectus A Thing Of The Past?
Published on 08/02/17
Prospectuses used to be considered as a take-it-or-leave-it document... but now, more and more Independent schools are beginning to replace the lost focus on these incredibly valuable school brochures.
A well executed school prospects will provide your Independent School with yet another opportunity to convince prospective parents and pupils to choose your school over your competitors. But things have changed. Gone are the days of school's boasting about their own successes and strong points. You have to be authentic. This is a key word that you should keep in the forefront of your mind.
1. not false or copied; genuine; real.
2. having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified.
3. representing one's true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.
"Tight-knit community", "academic excellence", "hands-on-learning", "unique", "beautiful campus" etc etc etc. Sound familiar? Of course it does. In fact, you may even find some of those words lingering around your own school prospectus. But, shouldn't every Independent School possess these attributes? At the end of the day, that's what parents are paying for, isn't it? Of course! But with all of these claims, the only way to put any defining, authentic significance on them, is to back them up with evidence. Stating all of the wonderful attributes your Independent School possesses isn't enough; you have to verify your claims in order to be authentic.
evidence [ev-i-duh ns]
1. That which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. Something that makes plain or clear; an indication or a sign: to show clearly.
Making a claim without providing the appropriate evidence is essentially an empty statement. The proof is in the pudding! If you're going to make claims about your academic prowess, back them up with statistics (perhaps in the form of an infographic). If your school adopts a "hands-on-learning" experience, show it through high quality school photography alongside a promotional school video.
One of the best ways to provide evidence is in the form of a testimonial. Your audience are going to be able to clearly identify the words carefully crafted by your marketing team and they just won't have the same impact as something as real and authentic as a testimonial from one of your students. Use these testimonials to tell the stories of your students and graduates to bring your Independent School's personality to life.
To The Point
Don't douse your readers in mountains of maunder. If you can say the same thing with half the amount of words... do it! High quality photography can illustrate and demonstrate a whole page of copy. If you feel one perfectly executed image would get your message across, maybe all you need is a small amount of supporting copy. That being said, try and keep the word count to less than 100 per page.
This isn't a slogan, motto or a strap-line. It is a statement which should help a student, or family, fulfil their dreams and aspirations. This is usually accompanied with corresponding imagery, videos and testimonials to support your claim (evidence & authenticity). It is what should convince any prospective applicant to choose your school over your competitors. The fit that relates to how closely your offering, gain creators and pain relievers respond to the wants, pains and gains that are important to your customer. The closer the fit, the more likely a pupil or parent will be to choose your Independent School.
Customer wants: What your parents and pupils aspire to achieve or fulfil - in terms of personal development - during their time at school.
Pains: Bad outcomes, obstacles, and risks related to customer wants.
Gains: What your customers are seeking and want to achieve.
Your offering: Everything your Independent School has to offer; everything your value proposition is built around.
Pain relievers: How your offering responds to and alleviates customer's concerns.
Gain creators: How your offering will help your customers achieve their wants.
Focus On Your 5%
Find your niche and cater to it. Are you a school with a strong focus on stem subjects or do you encourage a more creative style of learning? Will students find your curriculum culturally diverse, with the benefit of multiple school trips or do you focus on your tradition and heritage? You will often find that schools attempt to portray themselves as - what we like to call - "all-rounders". However, this isn't always helpful when it comes to attracting people to your school; by attempting to appeal to everyone, you'll appeal to no one. Avoid being the jack of all trades and the master of none and accept the fact that it's impossible to be an expressive and creative school with a strong focus on stem subjects. Focus on the 5% that makes you special! What does your school have, do, or possess that can't be found or matched elsewhere?
Once you have identified your target market, you're familiar with who you are addressing, and understand what they want, value, and expect, you will be in the best position to respond with an accurate understanding of the cost vs. value discussion. Parents want to know that they are getting their money's worth, which is why your message should solve the applicants problem and fulfil their desires.
Step 1: Identify your prospects
Step 2: Understand how you bring them value
Step 3: Know what you offer/do uniquely well (or at least better than most).
At the end of the day, your prospectus doesn't have to tell parents everything there is to know about the school; it should simply inspire enough intrigue to encourage them to come and visit the place and witness it all for themselves. Collectively, any of your marketing materials should aim to get them through the door, once you've done that - the job is done.
If you believe you would benefit from a new Independent School prospectus, get in touch with one of our team of specialists today. We can offer you help and advice on how to structure your content, get our photographer to your site to capture the true nature of your school, and clearly portray this through your value proposition; all within a beautifully designed school prospectus.
Give us a call on 03453 191 039.
Or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or have a look through some of our work for some inspiration and to see how we have helped some of our other clients with their marketing efforts.