Five Creative Marketing Ideas for International Schools

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One of the hardest steps in creating a strong marketing strategy for your online presence is coming up with creative marketing ideas for your international school that will set you apart from the competition.

It’s no secret that blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, etc. are amazing pieces of content - we have witnessed the benefits of creating these types of content and do so for our clients repeatedly. We encourage you to do the same. 

But what we’ve discovered in our analytics is when you bring innovation, personalization, interactivity, and/or creativity to your digital content - people engage with it longer and take more impactful steps. 

Five International School Marketing Strategies

To illustrate how captivating digital content can be, we wanted to take you through five creative marketing ideas for international schools. Click the links below to discover each campaign, including why we came up with these ideas, how we brought them to life, and what the results were. 

Alice Smith School’s Customized Viewbook 

Behind Alice Smith School’s customized viewbook, there were a number of goals:

  • Provide a piece of content to prospective families that they could build to suit their individual needs 
  • Capture leads
  • Remove the need for a hard copy prospectus
  • Present Alice Smith School in an innovative modern way

Knowing the goals, and the persona for this particular campaign, our contact at Alice Smith, Andrea Grassby, Director of Marketing and Admissions, came to us with a request. She wanted us to help the school build a piece of content that was interactive and personalized to the individual viewer. 

With the school’s goals clearly in mind, we went on a search for a solution and found CustomViewbook. Though they had never worked with an international school, we knew it was the best way to achieve the aforementioned goals. 

“Consumers have changed the way they research and make decisions on products over the last few years, they expect rapid, personalized responses and availability of information online,” said Grassby. “Expectations on how schools should respond have also changed and COVID-19 has accelerated this.”

The team at CustomViewbook and Alice Smith went back and forth discussing specific pieces of content and questions necessary to make the prospectus work. At IMPACT, we supported the production as needed and developed the supporting blog posts and the landing page where the viewbook now lives

“The viewbook looks great and has received positive feedback to date. It enables us to deliver content that is right for the enquiring family rather than send a 'one size fits' all prospectus. The back end system allows us to track the lead source to the campaign, webpage or email and our Admissions team can also send individualized links to families they are engaging with,” said Grassby.

The results

In the first two and a half months, there were:

  • 138 new leads
  • 421 return visits
  • 175 total leads

“Although this campaign is still in early stages we have already seen encouraging results in the first few weeks with more than half of the downloaded books receiving multiple views showing families are engaging with the content,” said Grassby. 

The viewbook was recently awarded Bronze in the 2020 InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Awards 'Out of the Box Concepts' category. 

"In a world where personalization matters, this concept isn't just smart, it resonates with the next generation of prospective families. Where this approach shines is in the displaying of what the viewer wants to know about the school, not what the school wants the viewer to know. Really smart," said one of the judges.

Marketing idea for international schools: Brainstorm innovative ways to produce or showcase those items your team is already producing i.e. the school profile or prospectus. 

International School of Tanganyika’s (IST) Interactive Timeline

IST was approaching its 55th anniversary and wanted a way to illustrate their history, while also connecting with both alumni and the school community.

The school’s goals included:

  • Highlighting some of the most important events that occurred since their opening
  • Sharing historical stories to celebrate its long history

Leveraging these goals, IMPACT had an internal brainstorm. We ultimately decided on an interactive timeline using Tiki-Toki.

Click here to take a look at the finished product

We requested interviews from IST historians, teachers from when the school first started, heads of schools, and read through one of their history textbooks written by the talented Graham Mercer. 

After a little over a month, we had videos, audio clips, blogs, historic photos, and countless interviews to help us tell the story of IST. 

The results

In the first six months, there was a:

  • 88% increase in time on page to 14:52
  • 727% increase in unique page views
  • 180% increase in unique organic page views
  • 80 alumni reconnected with the school

“It was an amazing artifact for our school. Not only did it help us to celebrate our anniversary, but this is something that we continue to share and build on. It is now an active timeline that we can add events to,” said Mark Hardeman, Head of School at IST.

Marketing idea for international schools: Brainstorm innovative ways to produce or showcase those items your team is already producing i.e. the school profile or prospectus.

IST’s Diversity Map

One of IST’s core values is diversity, and this was something the school wanted to illustrate through a campaign. 

Our team here at IMPACT wanted to achieve IST’s goal of showcasing diversity and sharing experiences of community members, but do so using a creative marketing idea. After brainstorming, and sifting through different concepts, we decided on an interactive map using Google Maps

Using interactive Google maps is one of creative marketing ideasWe interviewed teachers, parents, and students, asking them various questions about their time at IST, their ethnic background, and what cultural diversity means to them. We then inserted their stories as little pins on the map.

Click here to take a look. 

The results 

In the first six months, on the main page, we saw:

  • 4,323 pageviews 
  • 3,909 unique pageviews 
  • 1:33 average time on page 

On the parent blog, with no paid advertising, we saw:

  • 156 pageviews
  • 125 unique pageviews
  • 4:51 average time on page 

On the teacher blog, with no paid advertising, we saw:

  • 82 pageviews
  • 68 unique pageviews
  • 1:22 average time on page 

On the student blog, with no paid advertising, we saw:

  • 152 pageviews
  • 140 unique pageviews
  • 3:01 average time on page 

“This was a great visual to show the international nature of our school community,” said Hardeman. “It is also great to see how different cultures connect with our school, and how deeply everyone values the various cultures that we have on campus each day.” 

Marketing idea for international schools: Brainstorm with your team how to represent your school’s values through your content. This will help attract and retain best fit families. 

IST’s Business Directory 

As stated in the timeline campaign, one of IST’s major goals was to connect with alumni. We wanted to move away from the awareness stage of the funnel and into more of the delight with this campaign. With this in mind, we dove into a brainstorming session and came up with the alumni business directory. The benefit of this campaign was two-fold:

  • IST would be able to connect with their alumni and learn more about their impact in Dar es Salaam
  • IST would be able to support new families in the community with a resource they could use as they settle into Dar  

“By highlighting our alumni's businesses, we are able to share information about hotels, restaurants, travel, and services that support families to learn about our city and give them access to resources within our community.”

Our team sent out a form to IST’s alumni community letting them know about the directory and asking if they wanted to be part of it. Responses came back instantly, with many community members eager to join. Then, we created a Constituent Directory on their website.  

Click here to take a look.

The results

In the first six months, with no paid advertising, we saw:

  • 120 pageviews
  • 101 unique pageviews
  • 8:08 average time on page 
  • 16 business sign ups 

As with the campaigns described above, this is a living, breathing, creative piece of content. We come up with the idea and bring it to life, but our clients then have the ability to continually add to it. 

Marketing idea for international schools: We ask a lot of our alumni communities. Think about ways you can serve them through your campaign content.  

Nishimachi International School’s Interactive Packing Checklist 

Nishimachi International School (NIS) wanted to create something that would reach and appeal to families relocating to Japan.

The idea for a packing checklist came up early on in our brainstorming, but we wanted to go one step further and add interactivity. We came up with our list through research and working with the client. Once we had enough items, we loaded them on the website as you can see here.

We also created an interactive, downloadable PDF. Once the user packed the item, they could click a button and add a checkmark. 

Marketing idea for international schools: If you’re looking for a simple way to increase engagement on your content, add some sort of interactive element. 

The results

Though we don’t have access to the specific results, our contact, Kacie Leviton, the Marketing and Communications Manager at NIS, had the following to say. 

“I thought it did well for the duration we ran it. Had we ran it and promoted it more, it would have performed better,” said Leviton. “It’s important to differentiate your school from the other schools in your area and answer what sets you apart and makes you unique. IMPACT helped us identify this and helped us to create content to promote it.”  

Start Marketing Your International School

Here at IMPACT, we come up with innovative, creative marketing ideas for international schools and deliver them to our clients.  

Want to unlock your team’s potential, discover how to market effectively (and respectfully) in the current global landscape, and learn how to create a detailed digital marketing strategy in just eight to 10 weeks? Click the link below to find out more! 

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Jessica Thompson

Jessica is a wonder with words. An award-winning writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, she's currently in a Master's program at Washington State University working to improve herself as a digital marketer and strategic communicator to better aid in bringing forth innovative, cutting edge campaigns. She has worked in the journalism field as the editor of a newspaper, ventured into communications working with the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, and now is in a position that has sparked a passion for digital marketing. When not in front of her computer writing away, you can find her in the kitchen (she recently mastered baguettes), dragging her fiancee out for a photo shoot, or on the ice braving the puck as a goaltender.