Marketing Strategy

Why Your School Needs an Elevator Pitch (and How to Write One!)

May 3, 2019

Ah, the elevator pitch. A cliche? Perhaps, but there’s a very good reason for that. Sometimes, one sentence is all you have.

Let’s use an everyday example. You’re searching for something on Google, and up pop the first 10 results. What makes you click on one and not the others?

It’s the instant connection. It’s the one sentence that answers your question in a way that makes you feel like whoever wrote it understands you. They acknowledge your problem, they have a solution, and they’re ready to show you how to achieve it. That’s an elevator pitch.

So, why not work on yours? Elevator pitches act as perfect one-liners for on your school’s website and social media and in search engine marketing ads. Here are a few things you need to think about when writing your school’s ideal elevator pitch.


Why they work

Unless parents are loyal alumni who would never consider sending their children anywhere but your institution, you can bet that every family is going to be weighing you up against a myriad of other options.

That means you don’t have the luxury of convincing them over pages and pages of collateral - you’ll only get that if you make it to round two, AKA the consideration stage in your buyer’s journey. One thing that will surely get you there is your elevator pitch.

If you can perfect two or three sentences that really grasp the essence of who you are, what you offer, and why you do what you do in a way that captures attention and stirs emotion, you’ll be light years ahead of the competition. Think back to your school’s USPs, the things that truly make it unique — this is what you want to highlight with your elevator pitch.


Defining your “why”

We are a school - that’s your “what”. We employ teachers to educate students - that’s your “how”. Your “why” is the reason you do what you do, and clearly defines the values that drive you forward.

This is an important piece of marketing advice for schools. You don’t just educate children — your mission is to guide and support children as they explore the possibilities the world has to offer, and provide the resources they need to realize their full potential.

Your why is the part that will build an instant connection, driving people to dive a little deeper and invest time in evaluating you as a front-running option. Your why also creates trust by showing them your brand is in it to address their problems, not just for the money that comes with new enrollments.

Let’s test the theory. We’re feeling stressed out, so we consult Dr. Google for a solution. Two results pop up. 

Anti-anxiety tablets: Anti-anxiety tablets - pharmacy approved, quality ingredients. Fast-acting anti-anxiety medication at a cheap price.

Daily Bliss: We understand that sometimes, the hustle and bustle of modern day life can feel a bit overwhelming. Daily Bliss combines a potent, expert-approved formula with essential oils to instantly calm the nerves and soothe the senses.

If you were planning to trust a brand with your emotional wellbeing, which one would you click on? ...Yep, thought so.


How to pitch the pitch

So now we know why the elevator pitch matters, how do you translate all of that goodness into one of your own?

Be authentic

The first step is to be authentic. Not just authentic in what you’re telling people, but authentic to the overall brand that you’ve built for your school. Consistency is key, and since your elevator pitch is often the first impression (and potentially, only) people get, it should capture your values in an honest and open way — planting the seeds for further communication.


Authenticity is one of the key things parents expect when your school communicates with them.

Find out the others in our post, 3 Things Parents Expect from Your School Marketing


Show, don’t tell

It’s important to show prospective families what they’ll be reaping by sending their kids to your school, rather than just telling them. We’re talking about storytelling: using descriptive language to walk through exactly what you offer, rather than stating the bare facts with no emotion or empathy. Take a look at these two examples:

“For 100 years, School X has offered tertiary education to students aged 12-18 and is committed to excellence.”

Yawn. We just aged 10 years reading that.

“Through our uncompromising commitment to providing bountiful education and opportunity, School X prides itself on its well-rounded curriculum that focuses on laying solid foundations and pursuing strengths for a bigger, brighter future.”

I don’t need to hear any more. Where do I sign up?


The takeaways

Remember - sometimes all you have is one sentence. If you want to know what your elevator pitch should be, simply answer this: who are you, and what do you stand for? 

Want to learn more about building your school's brand through communications?

Be sure to check out our recent post about building and managing your school's reputation.