In 2019, Northshore Christian Academy was facing declining enrollment numbers in spite of consistently high performance on standardized tests and many other measures of success. The school’s leadership worked hard to qualify as an Exemplary High Performing School for the National Blue Ribbon Award, but they knew it wouldn’t be enough to reverse the trend on its own. They needed a marketing and PR plan, so they came to Rocketship.
A Year-long Blue Ribbon Award Promotion
Working with NCA leaders, Rocketship proposed a year-long sustaining PR and promotion effort to make the most of the opportunity. Was all of this necessary?
Schools can only win the Blue Ribbon Award once in a five year period. And the prominence of the award makes all brand communications orders of magnitude more newsworthy and impactful. Our theory was that the Blue Ribbon Award would amplify every marketing effort from top to bottom of the funnel: increased reach, increased engagement, increased inquiries, increased enrollments.
Rocketship helped NCA develop a three-phase marketing communications plan, which included everything from a press release and social media efforts to planned events. Looking back, in the words of Superintendent Holly Leach:
- That was a lot of work we put into getting [the Blue Ribbon Award]. We were just absolutely thrilled that we received that award. And once we were notified, it immediately became, how do we promote it? How do we really utilize it in communicating the high quality program that we have in both academics, our community and our school?
- We needed somebody to help us see the big picture, put it all together, and then execute a communication plan so people in the community could understand the value and meaning of that achievement.
- So that was the process and Rocketship really helped us with. I think also Rocketship was great with brainstorming and helping us think beyond a press release and website updates, and expand this to like a year long promotion and a celebration.
Download Our Case Study PDF to See the Full Communications Plan and More.
A Strong Return on Investment
So what were the results? Let’s look at website metrics comparing the year in which the activities took place, and the year following (when the impacts of the award on community awareness would be reflected in the numbers and inquiry levels):
Growing Enrollment For Schools in the Pandemic Era
By the end of our campaign, NCA saw a 195% increase in search traffic and a 65% increase in new student enrollment. Our partnership reversed the school’s downward enrollment trend, revitalizing interest from the surrounding community. NCA ultimately brought in dozens of additional new students who likely wouldn’t have otherwise attended.
Ready to learn more about how Rocketship turned around NCA’s enrollment numbers? Download the full case study and communication plan.