What the Heck Happened Last Year?

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You can’t plan the for future without understanding the past.  That’s why a good recruitment report is so critical to an effective recruitment plan.  Your recruitment report is a lot like a well-crafted news report.  It answers a few critical questions in straightforward way.  It sticks to the facts and -- while it may explore a few theories -- avoids conjecture.  And of course, if you can deliver it with a nice smile, all the better.

You can spend a lot of time on beautiful data visualization, but even a simple summary of key data makes a big difference in learning the lessons from last year.  Just like a good reporter, here are the questions you should be answering:

WHO

Who are the people that were interested in your school?  What are their demographics and where do they live?  The more you understand your prospective families, the more you know which messages and tactics will help you generate even more interest.

WHAT

What happened to them?  Are they in your school?  If not, at what point in your process did they drop off?  If your results are disappointing, it’s important to understand if your challenge is in generating enough interest in your school or in getting interested families through your process.

WHEN

When did families inquire into your school?  What marketing activities were you doing at that time?  This will help you understand the times of year when families in your area are thinking about school options and which of your marketing pieces are driving interest.

WHERE

Where did families hear about you? You want to capture all of the ways in which a family learned about your school.  If your inquiry form doesn’t ask the question (it should!), follow-up with family surveys.  Self-reported data helps give you a directional sense of what’s working, but conversion pixels on your online application form form are the gold standard.

HOW

How did prospective families first contact you?  Was it through your school’s website or Facebook page?  Did they call you or just drop by the school one day?  Capturing this information will help you understand where you should be marketing and which calls to action resonate with your families.

WHY

Why did families choose your school?  If your application form isn't asking this question (it should!) you can follow-up with surveys and focus groups.  Understanding why families chose your schools is critical to developing as effective message for prospective families.  It also helps you understand how to deliver on your promise of a better future for their child.

While they won't tell you exactly how to adjust your strategy to make this year a success, answering these six questions will give you a good idea of what's happening.