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“Come One, Come All:” Marketing to Schools

“If you build it, they will come” may work with baseball diamonds in the middle of Iowa cornfields, but it takes more than great programs to get schools into your institution. A good marketing strategy, including well-designed publications, may be the key to connecting your outstanding program with the area classes that can benefit most from participating.

When developing publications to market your programs, consider these questions:

  • What type of publication will reach the audience?
    • Letter: 1 program, limited time, teachers only
    • Flyer: 1 program, limited time, teachers, students, general public
    • Calendar: multiple programs, one year in advance, teachers only
    • Newsletter: multiple programs, seasonal or more, multiple audiences
    • Brochure: multiple programs, multiple years, multiple audiences
  • What kind of presentation will have the most effective impact?
    • Clear writing
    • Easy-to-read, uncluttered format
    • “Tear offs” — membership form, free visit “ticket”
    • Scheduling information — phone, fax, written (confirmation always in writing)
  • How can I pay for production of my publication?
    • Budget
    • Grant
    • School system cooperation: duplication and distribution, inclusion in school system publication, individual school newspapers
    • Donation
  • How can I distribute my publication to make certain it reaches the target audience?
    • Ideal: each teacher by name or all teachers (call school and ask secretary who is lead teacher; get directory from school administration)
    • Select teachers by grade or subject area (best with names)
    • To secretary, resource teacher, media specialist, or principal for distribution within a building (better than nothing, but scattered at best)
  • How can I evaluate my publication?
    • Inclusion in tour evaluation for participants
    • Follow-up letter to non-participants asking, “Why didn’t you come?”

“”Come One, Come All” Marketing to Schools,” The Docent Educator 8.3 (Spring 1999): 20.

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