Well done if you are the new Ambassador for your school's Classlist site!
The five-part detailed launch strategy pages later in this section provide an in-depth guide to organising a marketing campaign and a whole-school launch with fanfare: this approach should guarantee you a thriving Classlist site where your school's parents sign up quickly and start using Classlist all together. If you are wondering about what the new GDPR (data protection) legislation means for your PTA using Classlist, click here.
However, you can also get your school active on Classlist using a soft launch or a viral campaign.
NB: a top tip at this stage is to get your friends and/or your PTA committee to help share the work and lighten the load!
- Register your school with Classlist. You will automatically become the lead Ambassador (ie administrator) if you are the person registering. Use the help links to set up your school structure.
To be guided through initial set up you can use the Set-Up Wizard.
- Download posters and flyers from the Resources section. Print them off and spread them around school and in book bags.
- Use your existing communication channels to tell parents that you will be using Classlist to communicate with parents, and explain how it will benefit them (again, use the material in Resources to help).
- Ask the Head Teacher to send a message endorsing Classlist and asking parents to sign up (there are sample letters you can tailor in Resources so they don't need to write it themselves). Put a paragraph in the school newsletter.
- Make sure you include the Classlist website in all your marketing messages so that parents can click the link and sign up straight away - people forget if they have to look it up themselves!
- Recruit your PTA team and your personal friends: get them to sign up (obviously they have to be parents at the same school) and encourage them to start using the site. They will get kudos for being early-adopters, and your site will look more welcoming and friendly to other parents when they see posts and content from people they are familiar with.
- Invite parents personally to sign up: collect emails from people at the gate or use existing contact databases if you have them. Use the 'invite parents' feature on Classlist to invite parents using email, facebook or WhatsApp.
- Ask your early-adopters group to invite more people they know, and to ask those people to invite their friends as well. It can help to ask one person in each year group or class to take on the challenge of getting as many parents from that class to join up: you can get competitive and offer a small prize for the class with the most joiners if you feel like it!
- It is very effective to target a particular year group such as Reception or Year 7, because new parents will want to get to know other people, and will have lots of questions and enthusiasm!
- Start using the Classlist features to market events, send announcements and post messages to each class. You will probably have to continue using old methods to communicate as well for a while until the majority of your parents have signed up to Classlist.
Building on the foundations
- Keep nagging! Use every opportunity to encourage parents to sign up: have a stall in the playground, at parent teacher consultations, at the school play, and especially at any welcome events for new parents.
- Ask your trusty early adopters group to keep posting chatty messages, say hello to new members and use the marketplace to sell or give away any stuff which would otherwise go to the charity shop: anything to make the site appealing to new members when they join.
- Don't give up! It may take longer to get going if you don't plan a formal launch campaign, but it will happen. You will see surges at certain times eg if you have a big event like a summer fair coming up which lots of people are interested in. Try to keep posting and populating the site with content, even if it feels like only the same few names appear to begin with.
- Get tough and harness the fear of missing out: announce that from a certain date onwards you will only be using Classlist to publicise school events, sell tickets, arrange parent socials and tell parents about PTA business... It helps if you have something popular that you know parents will be interested in - a bonfire night or film night for example.