According to the ISC, the international education market made $38.5bn in the last year alone and shows no sign of slowing down. With the constant pressure on international schools to innovate and differentiate themselves from others, there’s no better time than now for schools to consider how best to market their school to parents.
Below is a summary of tips that Elaine Stallard, CEO of Winter’s International School Finder, shares in a bid to advise schools on improving their marketing strategy.
Research, research, research
The first step is to research competitor activities. Direct competitors are similar schools in the same area, whereas audience competitors are other brands and companies competing for attention and share of voice with parents and students. To effectively take control of the share of voice, it is advisable to carry out research among your current parent group in order to build a profile, find out what parents are looking for in a school, as well as what the best way is to engage and interact with them throughout each year.
Putting parents first
Don’t underestimate the power of content when it comes to getting parents’ attention. At Winter’s International School Finder, our content is commissioned in-house in its entirety. One example of it working well is our interactive ‘moving abroad’ infographic, which caters to parents who are looking for information ahead of moving to another country. The infographic covers a wide range of topics, such as disposable income, global climate zones across the world and every day prices like taxi fares. By making a wealth of information easy to digest in this shareable graph, we received hundreds of visits to our website. It is important to think about the information your school has at its disposal and how you can use it to tell a story or provide information to parents to encourage interaction.
Getting started on social media
Parents investigate schools’ social media channels as part of their research process ahead of making the big leap, often in search of answers to their many questions about living abroad. Schools thus should have a presence on social media supported by an engaging content plan. In order to effectively manage social media platforms and the various campaigns, you can use tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite to schedule posts and ensure a regular stream of content.
Using Google to your advantage
Google and other search engines can play a key part in boosting the profile of your school’s website. PPC (pay-per-click) activity and the Google Banner Ad Network enable you to reach new audiences, by targeting your key demographics, as established by your parent group research. Coupling these activities with Google Analytics will enable you to track user journeys, which can help you develop an understanding of the information parents are looking for when deciding the right school for their children.
By: Elaine Stallard