Marketing Fall Semester: Enroll More Students With These 7 Emails

Drive More Fall Semester After School Sign Ups With These 7 Emails

Promoting Fall Semester After School programs is one of the many tricky things providers have to navigate over the summer. 

Ideally, you’re able to announce your Fall Semester line-up as early as May and pre-sell some of your program spots. Even so, the best pre-sales usually only net around 15-25% of the total registrations you’ll receive for Fall Semester. 

The primary push to drive fall after school registrations has to happen over the summer when

  1. You’re busy running summer camp, AND 
  2. Parents are more or less checked out 

As providers, you’ve got to hit that short window in August after parents have started planning their Fall Calendar and before they’ve filled their kids’ schedules. This time window is a moving target, especially since covid, but the HiSawyer 2022 trend report shows us that most parents sign up for semester-long programs between 4-8 weeks in advance. 

If Fall Semester starts during the 2nd week of September, that means our window of opportunity starts in the 2nd half of July. In our experience, the vast majority of Fall Semester registrations happen around the middle of August

This guide walks through the sequence of emails we send, starting in July and ending in September, to drive Fall Semester registrations on behalf of our clients. 

If you want to book a Free Strategy Call with us to see how this sequence can apply to your school, click here.

EMAIL #1: Invite Last Year’s Students Back

When to Send: Around the 3rd week of July 

As always, it’s important to foster brand loyalty by prioritizing the members of your community most likely to sign up, that is, last year’s after school students. This guide walks through how to export and email a specific segment of your HiSawyer audience.  

What goes in this email? 

First and foremost, let the readers of this email know that they’re valued students and are getting notified about Fall Semester before anyone else. That’s because you want to give them first priority on sign-ups to make sure they get spots that work for their schedule. 

In the body of the email, make sure to give all the logistical details a parent would need to sign up. This includes things like: 

✍️ A brief summary of activities and/or benefits of participating in your program

📅 The dates and times available (including extended day options)

🤔 Appropriate ages and prerequisites 

📍 Pick up locations  

🐦 Early bird pricing or sibling discount info (if applicable)  

If you use HiSawyer, we also recommend including a list of available Fall Semester Groups, with hyperlinks to sign up directly, as well as a button to your Fall Semester webpage to ‘Learn More’.

Finally, invite readers to hit reply with any questions they may have and remind them that they have one week to save their spots before this info goes out to your entire list. 

EMAIL #2: A General Announcement

When to Send: 7 Days after Email #1

What goes in this email? 

This email can be, more or less, a copy of the previous email with the following changes: 

  1. In the introduction, highlight your favorite activities and benefits of your program
  2. Include a button after the email introduction that links to your Fall Semester web page with an invitation to ‘Learn More’ 

We recommend sending this email to last semester’s students as well as your general list. That way it serves as a reminder to those parents and creates an additional sense of urgency. 

EMAILS #3 - #5: Highlight Key Benefits & Activities

When to Send: During the first few weeks of August 

In early August, most parents are starting to plan their kid’s Fall Semester. In these emails, you want to answer the question ‘Why should they sign their kid(s) up for your program, instead of the other programs available?’.

What goes in this email? 

Why do students love your programs? Why do parents love your programs? What kind of positive feedback do you get over and over again?

The answers to those questions are what you want to build this next series of emails around. 

➡️ If parents love you because you pick up from multiple schools and you’re easy to work with, make sure to highlight that in an email. 

➡️ If you’ve got multiple types of programs you can send an email that breaks down what each program covers and the benefits kids get from participating. 

➡️ If you’ve got a signature curriculum that students really benefit from, highlight the breakthroughs and accomplishments of recent students.  

➡️ If you have a week-by-week curriculum breakdown or parent guide, send an email that highlights key elements and/or introduces your teachers. 

This series of emails is where you want to make your program stand out from the crowd and seem like the ‘no-brainer’ option for parents trying to make the best choice for their kids. 

EMAILS #6 - #7: Last Call / Spots Available

When to Send: At the end of August and the Beginning of September 

It’s now, at the end of the summer, that parents are starting to panic about not having their kids’ whole schedule planned out yet. 

At this point in the process, most parents are making decisions based on logistics, “Will this fit with my kids’ schedule?”. That makes this a perfect time to highlight the days and times when you still have groups with space available. 

What goes in this email? 

Similar to emails #1 & #2, these emails should have a breakdown of the following:

✍️ A brief summary of activities and/or benefits of participating in your program

📅 The dates and times available (including extended day options)

🤔 Appropriate ages and prerequisites 

📍 Pick up locations

⏰ How much time parents have left to sign up

It should also include a list of available Fall Semester Groups, with hyperlinks to sign up directly. Especially if you’ve got groups that only have a few spaces left, we also recommend including the number of spaces available next to each group listed. 

[BONUS] Email #8: It’s Not Too Late

When to Send: A week or two after classes have started 

Once classes are officially underway, there’s usually some student shuffling that takes place. For one reason or another, most programs lose a couple of students once a semester begins. 

If you’re able to have students join once a group has already started, this can be a good time to capitalize on that reshuffle and get a few more after-school students. 

What goes in this email? 

This can be more or less the same as email #7. You want to update the groups and number of spots available, but the goal here is simply to present available options to parents that might be looking for a last-minute aftercare option that works with their schedule

A few general notes about the sequence outlined above: 

  1. While emails 1, 2, 6, 7, & 8 include a lot of the same information, it’s important not to let the emails feel redundant. This is easy to do by taking care to write a compelling introduction for each email. Parents are busy; they’re often stressed and overwhelmed. They respond well to language that is genuine and helpful. Click here to download Our Guide: 5 Golden Rules to Follow When Emailing Parents.
  2. Avoid sending emails on Mondays and Fridays. We also don’t recommend sending emails around holidays (like Labor Day Weekend). 
  3. If you don’t want to email parents who have already signed up for Fall Semester you can follow our guide for emailing a Segment of Your HiSawyer Audience, tag all your Fall Semester sign-ups, and then send an email to everyone in your list that doesn’t have that tag. 

If you have questions about any of the above or would like help implementing this sequence for your program, please book a free call or email us at robin@growmyprogram.com 

Grow My Program knows what it’s like to run after-school programs. With nearly two decades of combined experience in the after-school sector, we’re great at communicating with parents in ways they appreciate. 

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