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What Are Lead Magnets — and How Can They Boost Student Enrollment?

5 min read
Feb 2, 2023 8:00:00 AM

What are lead magnets for schools? And how can they boost student enrollment?

On this blog, I’ve discussed email marketing for schools a handful of times. That’s because it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies out there. Email marketing can be one of your school’s most powerful enrollment tools by turning interested parents into enrolled parents.

But email marketing requires email addresses. And most people don’t just hand theirs over for nothing.

To collect email addresses via your school’s website, you need to offer something that is valuable enough for a prospective parent to provide you with their email address.

Enter: The Lead Magnet

Basically, a school lead magnet is something valuable you can offer a visitor to your school website in exchange for their contact information (typically, their first and last name, an email address, and maybe a phone number).

In the commercial world, popular lead magnets include infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, and videos — but a lead magnet can really be anything, so long as it helps somebody solve a problem or is interesting.

Here’s an example of one of SchoolMint’s own lead magnets:

schoolmint lead magnet example

Why Your School Needs Lead Magnets

Many schools have great websites but don’t take the next critical step of turning visitors into identified, prospective parents. They use their website just as a means of communication rather than as a marketing tool.

Telling a story is great. But even better is using your website to tell your story and gather the names of the people who visited your site.

Having a highly trafficked website is great. But even better is having one that actively identifies prospective parents — aka leads.

A lead magnet helps you “capture” those leads and identify the parents expressing interest in your school. A lead magnet also allows parents the opportunity to take an intermediate step in engaging with your school.

These prospective parents are not yet ready to tour or engage in person — but by filling out the information to obtain your lead magnet, they can take a low-pressure step to get more content from your school and to begin their relationship with you.

Finally, a good lead magnet strategy allows you to focus your marketing efforts.

No longer are you attempting to get “Parents” to engage with your school. With a good school lead magnet, you know that the Jones family, who you previously identified, hasn’t toured yet.

Or you know that the Smith family, who is coming in for a tour, downloaded the ebook about your school’s STEM program.

A good lead magnet strategy allows you to identify by name (and contact info) those parents who are interested so you can market to them more effectively.

What Do Good School Lead Magnets Look Like?

Incentives work only if people perceive them as valuable and relevant.

Offering prospective parents a video of your school’s graduation ceremony probably won’t garner much interest — because why would they care? Who wants to watch a video of other people’s children walking across a stage?

But an ebook that explores the benefits of enrolling your child in the particular schools in your district or a guide about choosing the right school for your child might do the trick.

What Are Lead Magnets — and How Can They Boost Student Enrollment

In addition to providing value by solving a relevant problem, a good lead magnet also:

  • Is immediately available
  • Focuses on a specific subject
  • Is easy to understand
  • Showcases your expertise

How to Create a Good Lead Magnet for Your School

Step One

A good lead magnet starts with a problem your prospect wants to be solved, so brainstorm a list of common challenges and situations your prospective families may deal with.

Remember, this is not just about your school but also about the challenges a parent might have.

Here are a few examples:

  • Getting kids ready for school on time
  • How to get kids excited about reading
  • Protecting kids on their smartphones
  • What to look for when researching schools

Step Two

Go through each problem on your list and establish the solution — as well as all the steps required to reach that solution.

Marketing Isn’t a Dirty Word for Public Schools

Now your list looks like this:

  • Get your kids ready for school on time by designating spaces in the house for their supplies; prepping outfits in advance; making lunch the night before.
  • Get your kids excited about reading by pinpointing their interests; sharing shorter reading material about those interests; taking turns reading longer material out loud.
  • Protect your kids on their smartphones by having a frank discussion about the risks involved (texting and driving, cyberbullying, sharing personal info); instituting a phone-free period each day; setting limits on texts, data, and purchases; reviewing contacts and apps together.
  • There are a lot of resources to use in researching schools. Here are 10 questions you should ask any prospective school.

Step Three

Once you combine the problem and the solution, you’ve got your basic lead magnet template.

So what type of content do you want to offer? To decide between video, ebook, white paper, or flash mob, consider what medium best suits the content.

If you’re making an in-depth guide on choosing a charter school, an ebook might be more appropriate than an infographic. But if you’re providing a few tips on making healthy meals kids will love, an infographic or slideshow is more than enough.

You could even create an online quiz to help parents establish if they qualify for financial aid or decide their education priorities.

So now your lead magnets might read:

  • Download Our Info Packet for Teaching Children Responsible Smartphone Use
  • Tips for Getting Your Kids Ready for School on Time [View Slideshow]
  • Make Your Kids Excited to Read [Watch Video]
  • 10 Key Questions to Ask When You Are Shopping for a New School

Delivering the Lead Magnet

To reach as many people as possible, there’s rarely a better place for a lead magnet than on your website’s homepage. You can also include it on thematically related web pages.

For example, if there is a section on your website about safety, consider integrating a lead magnet on safe smartphone use. Or a web page on literacy and your award-winning academic program? Your lead magnet could be about getting kids excited to read.

You can also deliver a lead magnet via an overlay (like a pop-up but less intrusive), include it in a sidebar or footer, stick it in a resources pages, or weave it into blog posts. It really depends upon how prominent you want to make it.

Once created, lead magnets are an easy way to build up your email list.

A good lead magnet provides value to prospective families, so make sure any lead magnets you create for your school are relevant to the types of families you’re hoping to attract and enroll.

Now, one thing I didn’t focus on too much in this blog was how you take the next step after a prospective parent has downloaded your lead magnet.

Once you have their contact information, follow up and nurture their interest in your school! A platform like SchoolMint Connect makes it easy to automate your follow-up process.

Looking for other ways to engage with families and increase enrollment at your school?

Schedule a free consultation with an enrollment consultant here.



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