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How we helped a leading private school educate the public on their benefits

Private Schools Marketing

St. John’s-Ravenscourt is a leading, private academic institution whose history dates back almost 200 years. Their progressive approach to education challenges students to push themselves every day so they can become the best version of themselves. In the spring of 2016, the school approached Metric to help increase early enrolment numbers.

We began by commissioning third-party market research aimed at identifying audience motivators and geographic regions that were more likely to enrol their child. Based on these findings, we segmented our audience into three psychographic profiles and built a campaign platform and media strategy focused on connecting with these communities.

We started with a creative approach that was based on a single moment—the first time a parent realizes that their child has untapped potential. The campaign included six pieces of creative, each of which spoke to a different skill set, with the theme line “It’s easy to spot a future student.” Each ad featured a child building on their interests, and ads ran on a mix of online and offline media solutions.

After running this campaign for two years and carefully tracking its performance, we put our findings to work in developing the next iteration. The new campaign concept of “Turn Learners into Leaders” depicted SJR’s focus on nurturing each learners’ unique strengths and interests so they can become their best selves.

Our initial campaign had surpassed all performance expectations, attracting over 300 parents to SJR’s open house. This meant we could narrow our focus for the next campaign, refining our audience profile and hyper-targeting qualified leads with messaging that was specific to their stage in the customer journey. We also dialed-up the focus on academic programming, a key competitive strength of SJR’s. Ads featured students in all program areas, with an emphasis on sciences, health, debate and other academic streams.

We also expanded the campaign to new geographies, in accordance with SJR’s new goal of growing enrollment in its domestic boarding program. Ads featured older students, reflective of the acceptable age for boarders, along with a new headline and feature programs that were in-demand in select geographies.

The campaign ran in-market via online ads directing parties to conversion pages that told the SJR story and delivered a contact form to learn more. Retargeting allowed enhanced messaging to guide users from awareness to consideration, and A/B testing enabled us to continuously optimize the campaign by cycling through multiple executions and displaying higher performing ads throughout the campaign.

Campaign creative also informed the development of new marketing and communications collateral, including a viewbook and program insert. Over the years, these campaigns have continuously filled spots at the SJR open house with qualified leads that have gone on to thrive in the school’s environment. They’ve driven hundreds of conversions and helped raise awareness of the SJR brand, with over 18.5 million impressions over the course of four years. Along with instituting the most successful recruitment campaigns in the history of the organization, Metric’s data-driven approach has enabled SJR’s senior administrative, marketing and recruitments teams to better understand their audiences, refine their approach and use the tools they have to the fullest possible advantage.

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