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Word-of-mouth drives new families to OACS schools

Written on December 13th, 2010

Word-of-mouth continues to be a powerful form of marketing when it comes to attracting new families to Christian schools.

As part of an OACS News series engaging new families about their hopes and expectations when choosing to enrol their children at an independent Christian school, many parents referred to word-of-mouth when asked how they learned about the school.

Janet Sanii, a parent at Ottawa Christian School, says she learned of the school through a colleague whose children are enrolled and had “extremely positive input” about the experience. The colleague suggested Sanii visit the school and let her know who to talk to, prompting her to attend an open house.

The idea to check out a Christian school for new Holland Marsh District Christian School parent Lynne Stewart came from hearing about a positive Christian education experience from her cousin.

“She has been telling me for years how wonderful Christian education could be,” says Stewart.

Lesley Milne says she learned about Jarvis Community Christian School through friends who sent their children there and told her a lot about the school, sharing positive things such as the nice character of the teachers. Her husband’s hairdresser also attended the school as a child.

Orangeville Christian School principal Paul Marcus says word-of-mouth is the main driver for new families coming to the school, and notes most recently he has seen it play out through an influx of building rentals.

He says while the school generally didn’t have a lot of requests to rent the space one group came in for a birthday party and told their friends, who told other friends, and now the school is getting quite a few rentals that it hadn’t in the past.

“One of the things about word-of-mouth is just finding ways to get it started because it is going to happen organically (and) there are ways to try and foster positive word-of-mouth,” says Marcus, noting that negative word-of-mouth is something to avoid at all costs and tends to “spread like wildfire.”

In an effort to foster positive word-of-mouth, Marcus has been engaging in different forms of social media at the school, including regular blog postings and a Facebook account used solely to promote the school.

Marcus says the social media effort is about “being out there” and ensuring the school’s image and what it is doing is readily available. During the summer he says a couple times people would reference enjoying seeing what students participate in through the photo blog.

Click here to visit the Orangeville Christian School blog.