How to Win Students and Influence Parents—Aimee Gruber

You see them when they come on tour. You send personalized emails. You track their visits to your website and invite them to shadow current students. But do you know what really motivates a family to apply to your school? Given the myriad challenges facing enrollment leaders in today’s competitive market, it is critical that we make the admission process more accessible and family friendly. The Enrollment Management Association surveyed thousands of parents immediately following the 2016–17 application season. Aimee Gruber will present the survey results and reflect on the practical application this information can have on your marketing communications program.

Superhighways and Side Roads: Two Routes to Brand Clarity—David Thiel

As we endeavor to perform external communications activities in a swift and strategic fashion, we sometimes forget about the internal communications pathways that can fuel and enrich the effort. David Thiel discusses the internal systems and structures of a school that support effective external communications, resulting in greater alignment between what you advertise and what students, parents, alumni, and prospects experience once they engage your institution—brand clarity. Learn how the school leadership team is planning marketing communications strategically from the inside out.

Very, Very Video—Paul Horton

Most schools have some capacity to create their own videos—everyone has a camera in their phone, and many have video production capabilities. But what if your aspirations exceed your workload or in-house abilities? Paul Horton, a veteran still photographer and videographer, will explore the opportunities and issues of DIY and outside professional production, citing best practices and necessary resources for video and audio production appropriate for both scenarios. The end goal of investing the school’s time, talent and treasure is to attract the attention of important audiences through authentic, memorable storytelling through this “must-have” medium.

Acing Your Bid to Budget for Marketing Communications—Jim Pugh

If your school is like lots of institutions, marketing communications is typically under-resourced, leaving opportunities to connect with important audiences on the table. Frustrated? Hands tied? Understanding your school’s operating budgeting process and timetable will help you make a strong case for marketing expenses you propose to support your work in the coming year. Jim Pugh will discuss the “tricks of the trade” for getting communications into your school’s operating budget on a solid footing.

Mastering Digital Marketing—Lauren Castagnola

It’s time to expand your communications beyond a blog by your head and promoted social media posts. Learn how to tailor your email marketing campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, and website SEO to generate qualified leads for your admissions office, engage lapsed donors and ignite alumni. Take a walk through your school’s website analytics on your laptop in this session.

The Art of Messaging in a Crisis: The Authentic Voice—Jane Hulbert

This workshop will look at the importance of an authentic message that resonates with constituents. There are critical elements that must be in every communication during a crisis. This includes what we term “The SMART Apology.” National expert and on-call PR consultant for NAIS, Jane Hulbert, will instruct you on how to meet a crisis “head on” in the digital age of 24/7 communication. She will provide examples of outstanding messages from schools in crisis and guide you through what to say and when to say it when trouble beckons at your door.

Peer-Share Group Think—Carol Cheney

Carol will lead a group exercise in setting priorities and goals for your department to achieve success in the coming school year. It’s not too soon to get started.