At the heart of a good marketing strategy is a great story that allows your audience to connect meaningfully with what you do. This is particularly important within education marketing, where parents are entrusting you with the academic and personal growth of their children.

The key to telling a story that captures parents’ attention and wins their hearts is understanding what matters most to them. And the best way to understand how prospective parents think and feel is to analyze the data you have on parents who already send their children to your institution.

Here are four ways you can use data to inform your education marketing strategy.

Get There First

We undertook a survey over the summer and discovered that 33% of parents start their search for preschools when their children are only two or three years old. Thirty-one percent of parents begin looking for private primary schools when their children are three to four.

This means that you need to start marketing to parents years before they’ll actually settle on your school. Using paid search or social tactics along with targeted display can help you target this audience before your competition gets there.

Related: 25 Free Social Media Post Ideas for Your School’s Social Media Marketing

Establish audiences for your ads that target very young parents. This ensures that your school’s name comes into their field of vision long before they’re encountering other schools online.

Embrace Unique Ad Formats

Ninety-five percent of parents say they want to find a school with a caring environment, but deciphering whether or not a school is caring is no easy task. For those schools hoping to display their softer side and speak to these emotional needs, rich media, engaging video, and large-format ads can help you get there.

Think big, colorful photography of a classroom full of happy children, helmed by a warm, engaging teacher; or video showing parents and current students speaking about their collective experiences interacting with and attending your school. These are the kinds of ad formats that can capture the hearts and minds of prospective parents.

Let Data Inform Design

When you know what matters most to prospective parents, you can tailor your messaging to those issues. Our survey of parents showed that 80% found it very important to send their child to a school with high-quality teachers, while 52% indicated that educational philosophy was very important. Create a website with a bold mission statement that speaks to the heart of why you do what you do.

More practical matters, like location, class size, and school ranking were also important to parents. Consider including a page on your website that presents parents with an “at a glance” stat sheet and addresses those concerns.

Related: 3 Ways to Let Data Direct Your Marketing for Better Results

Get Specific in Your Messaging

Your school offers something unique to your students, so why would you settle for generic messaging on your website? This is where storytelling comes in. Once you understand the messaging that matters most to parents, you can weave it into great copy on your website that clearly tells them who you are, why you’re different, and what you bring to the table to make their child’s educational future bright.

Related: 31 Easy Back-to-School Marketing Ideas That Work for Any Business

We found that 64% of parents will visit a school’s website while researching their private school options. It’s vital that you have compelling messaging on your site, from a strong mission statement to meaningful content that informs and positions you as a thought leader.

Today’s savvy education marketers know the important role that data can play in shaping a campaign and finding a suitable audience. When you target the right parents with the right messaging at the right time, you set your school up to become the frontrunner in parents’ searches for the ideal private school.