Elaine Stallard, founder and CEO of Winter’s, recently took part in the IPSEF Middle East Forum 2016.

Elaine Stallard portrait

Below is a summary of the suggestions Elaine presented for the most efficient ways to market your school to parents at IPSEF Dubai 2016. 

Find your target audience
With the constant pressure on international schools to differentiate themselves, this is the perfect time to look at a new strategy for marketing to parents. Elaine suggests that before schools start a new campaign they first need to research their audience. This can be done by looking at the demographics and interests of their current parent group, but also by analysing competitor activities. A direct competitor may be another school in the same area, and an audience competitor could be another brand or product that regularly engages with the same customers. Analysing the efforts of these competitors may help you to recognise any shortcomings in your current marketing strategy.

Get parents’ attention
Don’t underestimate the power of content when it comes to getting parents’ attention. At Winter’s, our content is commissioned entirely in-house and not taken from other sources. An example of content working well is our World’s Largest School article, which has received over 7,500 views since it was published, bringing in a global audience. Another example is our infographic which contained a comparison of incomes, climate zones and daily expenses around the world. This infographic received over 16,500 views from 145 countries in just 10 weeks. Your school may have great insights and expertise that can boost interaction with parents.

Get started on social media
An online presence in the ‘digital world’ is essential. An important part of some parents’ school research may be to look at social media profiles for insights into news, events and the day-to-day running of an international school. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn enable you to post real-time updates, pictures and videos to parents to give them an insight into student life at your school. It is important to have a varied and engaging content plan. Visual media tends to have a higher rate of engagement across all platforms. Social media channels and campaigns can be managed through programmes such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social, often saving valuable time.

Using Google to your advantage
Google can play a key part in boosting your school’s profile. PPC (pay-per-click) activity and the Google Banner Ad Network help you to reach your key demographics, as established by your parent group research. Google Analytics will enable you to track user journeys on your school website, and this can help you to understand what parents are looking for when they’re searching for schools, and what information they need to help them make these important decisions.


Summary by Sophie Lorford - International Marketing Executive