Charter School Marketing Tips - CSMC

 Charter School Marketing Tips
Always take full advantage of all your space. For post cards, go no smaller
than a 5”x7” and if using a single page 8.5”x11”, then consider using both
If you are going to make an outreach flyer, invest the effort and money to
make it look as attractive as possible. Use high-resolution images and hire a
photographer to take great pictures of your school and students.
Use a skilled graphic designer to create your flyer. There should be
commitment to the theme and values of your school in the flyer. For cost
savings, often times you can reach out to Graphic Arts professors at a local
community college or university and have students create it.
Use a professional printer to print your flyers. Not FedEx Office or your house
printer. They will cost you less when you print in bulk and will look better.
Think down the line. Whatever amount you think you’ll need, print double or
triple. The printing cost will not increase proportionally and you’ll have extras
to ask parents to give out or to use at events.
If the postcard flyer will be used for mailing, remember that only half of the
back side should be used for text. The remaining half should be reserved for
the address label and postage. (remember to apply to the Post Office for
non-profit bulk rate discounts:
The most important information on the flyer is:
 Your school name/logo
 Your grades served
 Your phone number
 Your school address (cross streets help if you are in a large city)
 Your web address
 That it is a FREE and PUBLIC school
 A single unique character or achievement of your school
Some of the least important items to have on your flyer
 Your Facebook address or any reference to Facebook – Same applies
for Twitter, Instagram or any other social media vehicle. (You can
have these links on your webpage, but not outreach flyers)
 Any kind of barcode images that are meant to be scanned by
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Additional tips:
• Know your target audience.
o What matters to them?
o What language do they speak?
o What do they know about charter schools?
o What are their challenges in their local school?
o Why would they be interested or willing to move their child to another
o What is their likely education level?
• Use bullets or headers rather than sentences or paragraphs
• Do not put hard dates on the flyer or they will immediately be useless once
that date or year passes
• Use terms like:
o Safe, small school environment
o Commitment to serving all students
o A unique school, designed for You!
o Fully credentialed teachers (not highly qualified)
o Performing & Visual Arts classes
o Cutting edge technology in every classroom
o Challenging your child to be their very best
o Any other significantly unique characteristics of your school
• Translation challenges: Remember that there is no word in the Spanish
language for “charter”. When referencing a charter school in Spanish, it is
referred as “una escuela charter”. Parents who primarily speak Spanish, and
are not familiar with what a charter school, may not initially be interested in
seeking more information on your school. One of the most effective
explanations for a charter school in Spanish is comparing to a private school,
with all of the benefits of a private, but in a free public school setting. Be
careful not portray yourself as a private school or that you have any religious
Tri-fold Flyers
Tri-fold brochures offer you the opportunity to present a greater amount of
information on your school, in an easy to grab manner. They are relatively
inexpensive to print and can be printed in large quantities and used for a variety of
outreach activities.
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Be careful not to try and put too much information and text on your tri-folds.
Remember that they are still a marketing piece and bullets work best.
The front of your flyer should only have an image, your logo, name, grades
served address, phone number, and web address.
Do not attempt to design one on your own unless you have advanced
graphic design skills. Using a program like Publisher will make for a less
attractive, less professional look. Think about it: when was the last time you
saw a self-published piece of marketing literature that looked anything but?
Don’t design each panel separately: The inside of brochures do not have
follow the 3inch column flow. The inside can be all one flowing page, or two
columns can be made into one. Making the reader go from the bottom of
one column to the top of the next makes for disjointed reading.
Giveaway Items
Think of the parents, students, and supporters of your school as walking and talking
billboards. If they have your school’s logo or materials on their body or in their
hands then it can be the most effective advertising your school could have.
Stop trying to use school branded items as fundraisers. Create a line item in
your budget for marketing items and purchase items that will actually be
used on a regular basis by your parents.
Giving away school branded items is a great and low cost way to increase
your presence in your community.
Good items for purchase are:
o Low cost T-shirts (using one color silkscreen reduces the cost
significantly) – they will be worn all over the city if they are nice.
o License plate frames – will be seen on cars everywhere they go
o Bumper stickers o Vinyl car window stickers
o Low cost lanyards – parents tend to keep these for years
Bad items for purchase are:
o Pens or pencils
o Notepads or post-its
o Stress ball type items
o Mints, lip balm, candy, water bottles, or anything else with a very short
life span.
Aim for a 2 to 1 return on your investment (ROI). If you invest the amount
worth one student’s ADA, then your ROI goal should be to get at least 2
students enrolled.
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