Helping Launch A New York City Charter School Network

Zeta Schools Case Study

HEEDGROUP helped successfully launch a new school network on a very tight timeline.

Launching Zeta Charter Schools

With just 3 months before the lottery for this new charter school network in New York City, HEEDGROUP was called in to launch a hyper-targeted marketing campaign to fill staff positions and fill students seats.



In New York City, the charter school solution is a welcoming organization in some extremely economically challenged neighborhoods. Charter Schools have been developed by the New York City Department of Education as an experiment to test new teaching methods and learning opportunities in low - income neighborhoods. They have grown immensely in popularity and now serve approximately 10% of all New York City (NYC) students - just to note, NYC students make up the largest school district in all of the United States. Due to their immense popularity, most Charter Schools run a lottery in the Spring prior to the start of the school year to determine the student body for the Fall. Once families have applied for the lottery on behalf of their child/children, they anxiously await with anticipation to gain entry into some of the most sought after Charter Schools in New York City.  

After receiving permission from New York City to launch their Charter School network for the upcoming Fall school year, Zeta Schools approached HEEDGROUP at the end of January for help. Zeta Schools was a start-up Charter Network who wanted to open two brand new schools in the Fall located in two low - income New York City neighborhoods. This was going to be their first year of operation with plans of opening more grades and schools every year, pending a successful launch of their first two schools. Like other charter schools, Zeta Schools was holding a lottery on April 1st to determine student enrollment for the Fall. With less than three months left before the lottery date, HEEDGROUP was tasked to help Zeta Schools fill hundreds of Kindergarten and First Grade applications for seats in their two inaugural schools. They also needed help to recruit a large portion of staff to run their two new schools, including teachers, operations people and administrators. 

With the lottery quickly looming, HEEDGROUP GOT TO WORK!

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Immediately, HEEDGROUP created and launched a highly targeted and localized (down to zip codes) campaign to reach parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents of preschool aged children, aging into elementary school. There was also a focus on students of the same age group, but who were already enrolled in another school who might potentially switch to Zeta's new schools. On a national level, another highly targeted campaign was simultaneously created and launched to attract applicants for all open staff positions for Zeta Schools.

“During our initial launch, we needed a partner who could help us attain our big aims quickly. HEEDGROUP helped us conduct broad community outreach to ensure families knew about our new world-class school option for their kids."

- Emily Kim, CEO & Founder at Zeta Charter Schools

Efforts to reach the most pressing goals for Zeta Schools were achieved and passed using the following efforts as well as others:

  1. Paid Search Campaign Creation, Execution and Management.

  2. Email Marketing Creation, Execution and Management.

  3. Social Media Creatives, Publishing and Management.

  4. Blog Creation & Management.

  5. Out of Home Marketing Material Design and Creation - Flyers, Posters, Pamphlets, Banners, Family handbook and all multi-lingual. 

With all the above marketing efforts running simultaneously and in-synch, Zeta Schools was able to reach all their initial business goals and even surpass them leading to a successful lottery pull in just 2 full months after the campaign launched. Followed by a successful start of the school year in the Fall due to continuing family communications and events all supported by HEEDGROUP.


Within just six days of launching both highly targeted campaigns, website traffic to the Zeta Schools “Career Page” increased by over 21% and traffic to their “Student Application Page” had increased by over 60%. These immediate results were extremely pertinent for the inaugural success of the Zeta Schools Network as we were working with an immovable and quickly approaching deadline to fill all student positions in less than three months, and a majority of staffing positions within 5 months. Let’s face it, a school needs students and staff to operate so we knew the pressure was on. 

Within 25 Days of Campaign Launch:

  1. ZETA Schools received a multitude of both student and staffing position applications.

  2. Unique visitors to the ZETA Schools Website were up by over 500%.

  3. Overall visits to the ZETA Schools Website were up by 490%

  4. Pageview growth on the ZETA Schools Website grew by over 200%. 

  5. ZETA Schools Facebook following had increased by over 50%.

  6. ZETA Schools Twitter impressions had increased by over 5,000%.

By April 1st, in less than 3 months after HEEDGROUP was asked for help, there were over 500 students who had applied to ZETA Schools for the 360 available seats! Just six months after being approached, almost all staffing positions for both schools had been filled as well. 

As of 2020, the ZETA Schools Network has grown by three grades (per school) and now serves children Pre - K through Third Grade, and has added a third school in another low-income New York City neighborhood. 

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Zeta Schools Case Study Brief

Step 1:
Understand the deadline and work backwards

Step 2:
Design hyper-targeted campaigns 

Step 3:
Reach the customers where they live online and off