In 2022 the digital marketing economy was estimated to be worth a massive 321bn USD! And, while your school will likely be carrying out some form of digital marketing, many international schools tend to stick to only a few digital marketing channels without realizing the potential of others.
If you feel that your school hasn’t taken advantage of the plethora of digital marketing channels and know that it’s important for you to be using them, we’ll explain the importance of digital marketing for international schools, the strategies that you can use, and how you can create a digital marketing plan.
Introduction to Digital Marketing for Schools
Compared to traditional marketing techniques, digital marketing can be an efficient and cost-effective way for schools to reach a wider audience and engage with potential parents and other members of their community. Digital marketing efforts help schools build relationships with and increase engagement with their target audiences, promote their services, and build trust and loyalty.
Digital marketing for schools is so much more than creating a website or launching a social media campaign. With available tools such as Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics, it is possible to integrate campaigns across multiple platforms and measure their success.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to using digital channels, such as search engines, websites, social media platforms, or email to promote a product or service. It involves creating and sharing content that is relevant to your target audience and using online strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive traffic to your website.
Understanding the Importance of Digital Marketing for Schools
When it comes to digital marketing for schools, a good digital marketing strategy’s aim is to connect with potential customers (parents and families) and generate leads. It can also be used to build relationships with existing customers and increase brand awareness.
On top of connecting with new families and building rapport with existing ones, here are some of the other key benefits digital marketing for schools provides:
Reach a Wider Audience
Digital marketing can help schools to reach out to a wider audience beyond their local community. Schools can use digital channels to reach out to potential students and their families, as well as other stakeholders such as alumni, donors and partners.
Digital marketing can help schools to increase engagement with their target audiences. Schools can use social media, email newsletters and other online tools to create relationships with their target audiences and keep them updated on events and activities.
Build Trust and Loyalty
Digital marketing can help schools to build trust and loyalty with their target audiences. Schools can use digital channels to promote their services and build relationships with their target audiences.
Increase Brand Awareness
Digital marketing can help schools to increase their brand awareness. Schools can use digital channels to promote their services and create an online presence.
Now that we know more about the benefits and importance of digital marketing for schools, let’s take a quick look at the types of strategies and tools available.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Schools
There are several digital marketing channels that international schools can use to engage potential families. Here are some of the most effective digital marketing strategies for schools:
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps schools to improve their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO involves optimizing a website’s content and structure to improve its rankings on SERPs.
Looking for some quick ways to optimize your school’s website? Read our article here.
Social media is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies for schools. Schools can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok to reach potential families and build a community for other stakeholders such as alumni, donors, and partners.
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves creating and sharing content that is relevant to target audiences. Good content is the cornerstone of any digital marketing campaign and can be distributed to audiences through a variety of channels.
Email marketing is another effective digital marketing strategy for international schools because they can use email newsletters to keep potential and current families updated about events and activities and promote their services. The great benefit of email campaigns is that they can be automated and even customized to suit the reader’s interests.
Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
PPC advertising is a digital marketing strategy that involves using search engines and social media platforms to display ads to potential customers. Schools can use PPC advertising to reach out to potential families beyond the reach of what your organic social and web channels would bring in. Organic reach has been declining on many social media platforms, so PPC campaigns allow schools to define their audience to reach beyond followers—perfect for filling up that open day or summer camp!
Creating a Digital Marketing Plan for Schools
Creating a digital marketing plan is an important step for schools to ensure that their digital marketing efforts are successful. A digital marketing plan should include a clear description of the goals, objectives and strategies of the marketing campaign. It should also include an analysis of the target audience, an outline of the resources required, and a timeline for implementation.
Here at IES, we are big fans of the SOSTAC method, which was specifically developed for digital marketing. When creating a digital marketing plan, schools should consider these following SOSTAC factors:
- Situation: What is the school’s current situation? Who are its competitors and what are they doing?
- Objectives: Schools should set clear objectives and goals to help track and measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns.
- Strategies: Schools should develop strategies to reach out to their target audiences and promote their services.
- Tactics: Once a school decides on their marketing strategy, they should clearly define what tactics (including any tools) they will utilize to reach their goals.
- Actions: Many great plans fail because they don’t define who will execute each part of the plan.. A school should clearly define who will do what, and when they will do it.
- Control: How will the school measure success and what tools will be used to measure their goals? There are many great tools available for measuring online marketing performance. Some, such as Google Analytics, are very powerful and free to use.
- Resources: Schools should identify the resources they need to implement the digital marketing plan, such as staff time, budget, and other resources.
- Timeline: Schools should set a timeline for the implementation of the digital marketing plan.
By creating a digital marketing plan, schools can ensure their digital marketing efforts are successful and that their goals are reached.
How to Measure the Success of Digital Marketing for Schools
There are many tools available that can help schools measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns in order to ensure their efforts are successful and campaigns optimized. By using tools like Google Analytics, schools can measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns by tracking and analyzing key metrics, such as website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates.
By tracking and analyzing these metrics, schools can get an understanding of how their target audiences are engaging with their digital marketing campaigns. Once they understand these interactions, they can make adjustments to their strategies to improve results.
Common Challenges for Digital Marketing for Schools
Many school marketing teams are small and members end up wearing many different hats. This makes having a marketing mix with many different channels difficult to manage. Here are some of the most common challenges schools commonly face when it comes to digital marketing:
- Limited budget: International Schools often have limited budgets for digital marketing campaigns, which can make it difficult to reach potential families. While digital platforms can be far more cost effective than traditional marketing channels, it is important to optimize campaigns regularly to maximize return on investment (ROI).
- Limited resources: Schools often have limited resources for digital marketing campaigns, which can make it difficult to create content, launch campaigns, and track and analyze metrics.
- Lack of expertise: Schools often lack the expertise needed to create and implement effective digital marketing campaigns, which results in missed opportunities to reach new families and increase admissions.
Digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important tool for international schools to use in order to reach a wider audience and engage potential parents and other stakeholders. By understanding its importance, benefits, and utilizing the tools available to their full potential, marketing and admissions personnel can ensure that their school’s digital marketing efforts help them reach their set goals and objectives.
Got 15 minutes to spare?
Do you need help with your school’s digital marketing? IES’s team of digital marketers have years of experience in marketing International Schools in Asia and can help you find potential families that are looking for a school like yours.
Contact us today using the form below and we’ll arrange a time for a short introductory call with our team.
Author: Richard Longstaffe, Digital Marketing Specialist at IES