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Chicago Private School Marketing Costs With Zoe Marketing

January 18th, 2024 | 3 min. read

By Kim Kovelle

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An image of a long brick school building, representing a private school in Chicago

Enrollment is essential for schools. That’s particularly true for private schools that rely on tuition to maintain quality education. So, what’s the price for boosting your school’s numbers here in Chicago?

You want a clear idea of what it costs to market your private school. When working with a marketing agency, they should provide direct pricing and your return on investment.

With 15+ years of digital marketing experience — and four decades working with Chicago private schools with our sister company, Chicago Parent — Zoe Marketing & Communications is skilled in crafting successful marketing. Our three pricing plans spell out minimum marketing costs. But what does this look like in reality?

Here, we’ll walk you through a common cost scenario in three parts:

With the help of some graphics, you’ll understand how your investment is spent and the value you’ll see. And you’ll get a sense of whether Zoe is a good fit — or not — so you can plan your next steps.

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A sample Chicago private school and its goals

Standing out matters — especially in Chicago, which is home to 375 private schools with nearly 70,000 students. Schools face plenty of competition with a wide variety of marketing budgets.

Let’s say you’re a hypothetical K-8 private school in Lincoln Park, a Chicago neighborhood with some acclaimed options. Your scenario might look like this:

  • Goals: To become an authority, trusted voice and have people look to you when considering local private schools. You want leads from families searching online for private schools.
  • Conversions: You currently have 130 students and want 10 more — an 8% increase.
  • Zoe plan: Maximize your branding, reach, engagement, web traffic and conversions. Leverage advanced marketing tools for data-driven decision-making. The goal is to reach 50,000 potential families per month — especially targeting household incomes of $100,000+ — at a frequency of 8-10 times per month.

Earning 10 tuition-paying students is a multilayered lift. After all, choosing a school is a big decision that takes time. So, with this in mind, let’s break down the pricing.

How much a private school campaign costs with Zoe

In this case, stacking four specific tactics will best meet your school’s goals. Below are the actual costs from a plan designed by Zoe’s sales director, Michele Potts, tailored to your school.

Sample Costs for Chicago Private School Marketing

Individual pieces:

  • Sponsored content articles with Chicago Parent: $2,620/month
  • Programmatic ads (native): $1,000/month
  • Search engine marketing (SEM): $1,500/month
  • Social media retargeting ads (Facebook, Instagram): $880/month
  • Google Analytics management: Added value

Total: $6,000/month

Zoe plan: Pro (top-tier; its starting price is $6,500)

Minimum investment: $36,000/6 months

What do each of these tactics do for your private school? Here’s a deeper look:

  • Sponsored content articles: These stories appear monthly in Chicago Parent magazine and on, a leader in the parenting space. They build your authority and maximize leads by tapping into the 723,000+ engaged readers.
  • Programmatic ads (native): Your content appears on other content websites beyond in ads that look like “native” story previews. This includes various news and media websites and apps, reaching an even wider audience.
  • Search engine marketing (SEM): With Google Ads, you’ll draw traffic from parents searching for private schools in Chicago, thanks to specific phrases they’re Googling — such as “private schools in chicago.” This also includes a retargeting campaign to reach those who visited your site but didn’t fill in a “contact us” form. They’ll see your ads pop up on other websites they visit.
  • Facebook + Instagram lead generation ads: Based on people’s interests, these social media ads pop up in their feeds. There’s an easy-to-fill field to submit their email so that they can learn more about you. This tactic has retargeting, too.
  • Google Analytics management: A review of your analytics including goal creation and tracking with GA4 and additional management via Google Tag Manager.

The cost is $36,000 for six months, which is the required minimum and typical time it takes for campaigns to deliver results. Ideally, with continued investment, your reach keeps growing from there.

The results you can expect for your Chicago school

Your return on investment, or ROI, is crucial when weighing your marketing efforts. For this campaign, here is an overview of what to expect from Michele Potts, Zoe’s sales director.

Sample Results for Chicago Private School Marketing Chart

Individual pieces:

  • Sponsored content + programmatic ads: 20% minimum increase in web traffic
  • SEM (search engine marketing): At least 15 leads/month
  • Facebook + Instagram ads: 5 leads/month

Total leads: 20/month

New enrollees: 2/month

2 enrollees typically spend: $17,900

Your monthly return on investment: $11,900 or 198%

School campaigns tend to “convert” about 10% of interested leads. That means two students per month and, within six months, 12 students.

And, over those six months, your total tuition “revenue” is $107,400. Compared to your marketing spend of $36,000, your profit is $71,400 — almost double your investment.

Next steps for marketing private schools in Chicago

Marketing can help draw new students to your private school. But it’s essential to understand what an agency will charge you — and what you’ll get out of it — first.

Would Zoe Marketing & Communications be the right fit for your goals? Talk to us to find out. We offer a complete client needs assessment to determine your unique plan and pricing. From there, you decide whether it works for you.

If you’re still working to understand your private school marketing options, discover:

School Marketing Toolkit Cover
Free Guide

Download Your School Marketing Strategies Toolkit

Discover effective strategies to attract and engage prospective students and their families.


Kim Kovelle

As Zoe Marketing & Communications’ content manager, Kim Kovelle brings nearly 20 years of writing and editing experience in metro Detroit. She has strong roots in community journalism and a knack for making complicated topics make more sense.