How Stepping Stones Montessori Stepped Into Montessori Marketing
- The Montessori Marketing Journey
- Updated School Website
- Montessori CRM
- Done For You Social Media Posting
- Client Support
About Stepping Stones Montessori
Stepping Stones Montessori School (SSMS) was founded in 1983 by a dedicated group of parents and Montessori educators who recognized the benefits that a sound, individualized, and continuous Montessori program can offer a child. Today, as the oldest private Montessori school in Grand Rapids, Stepping Stones Montessori continues to provide an outstanding educational environment.
Stepping Stones is not a typical school. They are a passionate community of self-directed children, Montessori-certified educators, supportive administrators, and dedicated parents. They partner with families so that they can better support the natural development of their children. They currently run successful Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent programs in their community, offering a high quality, authentic Montessori learning experience.
Why Nido Marketing?
SSMS knew that they were in need of a new, updated school website. They wanted a website that would communicate to prospective families the unique benefits of a Montessori education, as well as a website that could encourage parents to schedule a tour and take the next step in their enrollment journey.
After a Montessori Marketing consultation, they realized the full potential their school website. Nido Marketing walked them through how an updated website powered by a CRM designed for Montessori schools could help them grow their enrollment and track their admissions. In November of 2021, SSMS decided to partner with Nido Marketing to build a new website and step into their Montessori Marketing journey.
The Montessori Marketing Journey
We've been working in the Montessori space long enough to know that for most Montessori schools, marketing is not the top priority. School leaders and communities are focused first and foremost on providing high quality Montessori programs and keeping staff and families connected. We also think that's where your energy is better spent as an administrator and director.
Our aim as Montessori marketers is to help schools with their marketing journey so that they can fill up their programs and run them to their fullest potential. Our aim with our partnership with SSMS was to do just this. So.. you might be wondering, what does the Montessori Marketing Journey look like? Well, it's different for every school.
We like to take a customized approach and meet with schools we work with to see what they are aiming to achieve through marketing. SSMS wanted a new website, a system to automate and track clients, and an easy way to connect with their community. For them, the right choice was our Website and CRM package, as well as our social media content. Let's take a look at their journey with Nido Marketing...
1. Understanding Your School
Every Montessori school is unique. Each school has taken the time to create their own mission, identity, community, and aspirations. Good marketing requires storytelling. When we first met with SSMS, we took the time to do a deep dive of their old website in order to get a feel for what they stand for, who they are serving, and what they are aiming to do as a school and as a pillar of their local community.
We met with SSMS to ask them what their goals were in terms of marketing. Once we had an understanding of what they were looking to do, we could then share what opportunities they had for growth, what changes needed to be made, and how we could ultimately help them achieve their marketing and enrollment growth goals.
2. Building A Website That Reflects Your School
The first step to a great marketing journey is building a great website. Think of your website as your foundation, your greatest marketing asset. Without a strong foundation, you can't build the rest of the house or it will crumble. The same will happen if you don't have a great website when you develop a digital marketing strategy.
Without a strong website, people may question your legitimacy as a school and as a business. Having an effective website is an opportunity to make a great first impression and give people comfort that you're a successful school with high quality programs. It's important to showcase what you have to offer to prospective families and allow them to take the next steps in engaging with your school directly from your website.
When we began our partnership with SSMS, their website:
- Was outdated
- Didn't have strategic content
- Was not easy to navigate on devices such as smartphones or tablets
- Didn't have automated tour scheduling
- Lacked a modern aesthetic appeal
- Didn't have enough calls to actions so that families could move forward and take the next step
- Didn't have testimonials or social proof
... These were all areas for growth and opportunities!
We began our work with SSMS on building a new website for them that accurately represented their school and brand. The results were fantastic!
When parents first see the website, they see a homepage that depicts Montessori children at work, the school brand and logo, and a call to action (schedule a tour). This invites families to be curious, to know how to engage with the website, and to know where they can go to easily schedule a tour. The design is beautiful and purposeful, just like a Montessori classroom.
We included strategic content that broke down and communicated the benefits of Montessori to prospective parents. It's important to lead with benefits and value in marketing... same goes for the content and copywriting on school websites! Now families can understand why SSMS' programs stood out from the rest.
We made sure to showcase great testimonials on the homepage. Social proof is essential in marketing, especially when it comes to convincing prospective families that Montessori is the right choice. SSMS had several success stories, it was important to make that known to visitors!
Breaking down the application process! Showing a simplified admissions process on your homepage helps prospective families take that first step to apply. We make a point to lead with a tour, as nothing sells Montessori better than parents seeing it with their own eyes and speaking to a member of staff face to face.
After launching, SSMS' new website has:
- An updated and beautiful design with pictures and infographics
- Content that informs and invites parents to learn
- Is easy to navigate across devices
- Offers automated tour scheduling
- Has appropriate calls to action so families can engage
- Includes testimonials, success stories, and social proof
SSMS now has a beautiful and functional school website that can help them communicate the benefits of Montessori to prospective families, and invite them to schedule a tour and apply.
3. Setting Up The Montessori CRM: Automations That Help Engagement & Make Tracking Easy!
A great website has automations that make things like tour scheduling easy for visitors. Automations can also lessen the work load for schools as it can help with tracking, communication, and organizing leads and contacts. When we started working with SSMS, we helped them set up automations on their website through our Montessori CRM (Client Relationship Manager).
Our CRM includes:
- Parent Contact Manager
- Automated Emails
- Custom Form Builder
- Custom Admissions Pipeline
- Unlimited Online Tour Scheduling
- Email & SMS Text Messaging
- Custom Email Marketing
- Task Manager
- Unlimited Users
- Google Review Monitor
Through the Montessori CRM, schools have everything they need for admissions in once place. This makes automated tour scheduling easier and has helped several Montessori schools streamline their admissions process, and ultimately grow their enrollment!
Through an easy to fill-out form pictured above, parents can schedule a tour to visit SSMS easily in less than 2 minutes! This has helped SSMS increase their tours and enrollment since launching their updated website.
On SSMS' end, they can keep track of leads through a customized admissions pipeline. This allows them to track what sorts of leads are coming in through their website, phone calls, ads, etc. and move them along the pipeline to track their progress. They can ad tags to help them identify what programs prospective families are interested in and reach out to them accordingly.
The CRM also allows SSMS to send email nurtures to leads and prospective families automatically so they always stay top of mind. No need to input everything contact by contact. By tagging your leads and contacts, it's easy to make them part of a specific email nurture.
Automations have mad it easier for prospective parents of SSMS to engage with the website, schedule a tour, and receive important updates and information about enrollment. It has helped SSMS keep track of every lead so no one falls through the cracks!
4. Done For You Social Posting: Easily Connect With Families Through Social Platforms
Social media is a great tool for digital marketing. It's a great way to keep families engaged, connected, and updated with school news. It also offers a new platform for prospective families to explore what your community offers and to learn more about the benefits of a Montessori education.
Nido Marketing provides "done for you" daily social posting as part of our Content Service. All of our content is created by an experienced Montessori guide and writer with the aim of educating parents and families. This was a great solution for SSMS who wanted to provide content for their community, but didn't have the time to create it.
5. Joining A Wider Community Of Montessori Schools
As a Nido Marketing client, SSMS also has access to our school leader membership website and resource exchange, Montessori Thrive. Here, SSMS can access our private leadership forum, weekly leadership town halls, a bi-annual parent education series, and a variety of marketing, admissions, and operations resources. These resources save time and helps them connect with other leaders when they need support!
Through personalization, building a website, setting up customized automations, integrating a CRM into their admissions process, and helping with the community, Nido Marketing was able to help SSMS step into their Montessori Journey!
When we partner with schools, we believe in connectivity, responsiveness, and quick problem solving. This is why we have designated client success managers to help schools set up their new website and make the most out of all our services.
SSMS always had a point of contact at Nido Marketing who understands their school, their needs, and was able to check in with them. We are always available for our clients when they need help, support, or want to make changes.
“We started with NIDO Marketing's CRM and Website editor last year. It has been a game changer for communication with prospective families in our area. Our website is professional looking and changes/additions are easily added. The editing team is responsive and committed to troubleshooting. The CRM feature is comprehensive and makes it so much more accessible for record keeping and communication. We also use their monthly socials posts and have been happy with the variety and amount of content offered. Whenever he have a question or concern, it has been addressed in a timely manner. We would recommend NIDO to any Montessori school who wants to take their marketing game to the next level!”
- Sarah Danielski, Admissions & Licensing Administrator at SSMS
Everything has really come together wonderfully for SSMS. When we help schools with their marketing, we know that they will have more time to serve and dedicate themselves to the families within their community. That's why we love what we do!
We hope to have a continued partnership with SSMS in the future and continue to help them grow their school and reach more prospective families. Thank you to SSMS for all that you do for Montessori and for future generations!