In March of 2021, Prenda’s tuition-free microschools became available in the state of Louisiana. That’s when Carlie Lambert, a former 2nd-grade teacher, discovered Prenda. Already passionate about the idea of microschools, she found herself listening to Kelly Smith, the founder of Prenda, speak on a few podcasts on Spotify.
As she puts it, “I was instantly hooked!”
On May 13, 2021, she became Prenda’s first approved Guide in Baton Rouge. Being the very first Guide in her community, she realized that recruiting enough students was going to take some work on her part. Even with Prenda’s help and microschool map, she knew that she was going to need to get creative as Prenda was completely new to Louisiana.
Before we get into the strategies she used, you may be wondering what is Prenda’s microschool map?
It’s a place where parents can find Guides and reach out. Once someone goes through our application process, they become an official Prenda Guide and their profile pops up on the map. See below! This is one great way how Prenda helps parents find you!
Enough about that, let’s get back to Carlie’s story.
Fortunately, Carlie had already spent time teaching herself about possible marketing techniques from her favorite marketing gurus online. Along with her dedication, these self-taught strategies helped her not only fill her microschool but to help fill two more microschools in under three months in a place where Prenda was completely unknown.
We were lucky to speak with Carlie and hear her top 5 strategies she used to educate her community and establish herself as a credible school option.
Carlie believes this was the most crucial step in her marketing journey. She took time to sit down and create a clear vision, purpose, and why this opportunity aligned with her personal values.
In her words, “Parents can feel your confidence and drive when you are personally aligned with Prenda’s mission and core values.”
Here are some questions Carlie suggests that you ask yourself in this process.
“When you believe at your core in what you are doing, your energy is contagious and hard not to notice.”
Social media is a powerful marketing tool to share your services in your community. Carlie dedicated a public Facebook page specifically for people in the community to learn about her microschool, which she affectionately named “Sweet Magnolia Learning Pod”.
“I created my Facebook posts using images with happy children outside to capture interest, then wrote something simple with it. Anytime I learned something new, I made a post about it for families. I wanted to show up consistently on Facebook. Then, people who wanted more information knew where to go to learn more.”
On her Facebook page, she posted regularly to educate and connect with her community. This allowed her to build trust and credibility while educating parents at the same time. She would often post Prenda's youtube videos, share posts from Prenda, and even share events for kids that were happening in the community that parents might be interested in.
Carlie asked her parents to share their most burning questions about her microschool. With those questions in mind, she posted videos on her Facebook page of herself addressing all of them. Many parents let her know how much they appreciated her making an effort to answer all of their questions.
In order to drive traffic to her Facebook page, she became actively involved in local Facebook groups whose members were parents and would be interested in the idea of Prenda. This included homeschooling groups and any parent-based local community groups. She took time to read what was being posted and then educated the group with her own comments or with her own crafted posts.
“Our local Facebook page has 40,000 people. You can post one business thing a day!”
Prenda has set up Facebook groups where you can post and get connected to parents in your state. These groups contain thousands of parents and Guides who are posting regularly, conversating, and getting connected. Plus, these groups are owned by Prenda and designated for this purpose so you will be joining a safe and like-minded community.
Get connected by clicking this link.
Carlie understood the power of organic marketing, especially to those who already knew and trusted her. So, she crafted a simple email about Prenda and what she was doing and sent it to everyone in her network, asking them to also share it with someone who might be interested. In this way, word of mouth became one of Carlie’s most powerful marketing tools.
Carlie discovered that planning an open house was one of the most powerful ways to create opportunities to build relationships and community awareness. Holding a community event on your own may feel intimidating to many Guides, but the payoff can be great. She used her Facebook microschool page and Facebook Live to broadcast her event (See her actual post below).
Carlie considered the best location for her open house and realized that she wanted it to be somewhere comfortable and accessible to everyone, so she chose the local library. She made sure to have a PowerPoint presentation ready, snacks, and handouts with her hours and other school information. This also opened up the opportunity to meet potential students!
We hope Carlie’s strategies were beneficial to you, and be sure to reach out if you have any questions. Marketing your microschool can seem intimidating and maybe even make us vulnerable. That is totally understandable! But at Prenda, we support you in as many ways possible through online resources, microschool map, FB groups, and more.
And it’s important to know you aren’t alone. There are thousands of Guides like you who were unsure if they could find students, and in a few short months, they completely filled their microschool.
We know you are going to find students, and when you do, you will make such an impact in your community.
P.S. Just remember that parents are actively trying to find Guides like you. The most important thing is putting yourself out there so they can find you.