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Why parent advocates are a powerful tool for your international school's marketing

Why parent advocates are a powerful tool for your international school's marketing

Posted by Nik Higgins on September 13, 2021

Here at The Ambassador Platform, as the name suggests, we love student ambassadors. We think they're an underutilized marketing resource that can help increase student recruitment.

But ambassadors don't always have to be students. In fact, parents can make valuable ambassadors, too.

Parents are very credible advocates when talking to other parents on a range of questions and concerns. Their perspective can be very helpful for other parents when planning applications.

The things that parents value most in independent schools - personal attention to students, academic reputation, quality of academic facilities, safety of the school environment - are not easy to validate from a prospectus. They are also experiential and judgement-based. Who knows better than families with children already at the school?

With that in mind, here are three benefits of embracing a parent ambassadors program at your international school.

1. Parents help you scale your outreach efforts

Understandably, schools may not want to use children as ambassadors, especially younger pupils. Parents can fill the ranks.

You most likely have sixth form ambassadors who can give prospective students and parents a guided tour, but that's hard to scale. That's why it makes sense to enlist parents too.

In any case, students can only give an impression of the school from their own perspective. Current parents have a more mature and broader view so their feedback and opinions are more credible.

This needn't be a chore for your parent community either. With online content and chat, they can communicate with other parents in a convenient, time-efficient way.

For example Dulwich College Singapore has set up a forum that lets prospective parents chat to current parents and staff online. Topics include:

  • Feedback on the school's teaching and learning
  • How well do they communicate with our parents
  • How does the school manage during difficult times
  • How can parents volunteer at the school
  • Are students happy and engaged
  • What are the school's attitudes towards inclusiveness and diversity
  • General advice on settling into a new school

It's an incredibly timely, collaborative and credible source of information for parents who are making an important decision about their children's future.

2. Parent advocates are highly credible ambassadors

Parent opinions are worth their weight in gold.

Indeed, a Parentkind poll found that 81 percent of British parents valued the opinions of local parents and students more than a school's Ofsted rating.

Every parent who sends their child to your international school is a valuable advocate in waiting. After all, they're trusting you to look after the most important people in their lives. It's hard to think of a better endorsement.

This means they have a unique and compelling perspective that your marketing and admissions team cannot match. They understand and relate to prospective parents, providing organic insights and advice based on real-world experience.

3. Chances are you are already using them

Parents are already a critical influencer when it comes to selecting schools. Parents are cited three times more than any other key influencer when it comes to a students' higher education decision-making process?

But there's a huge difference between an informal, ad-hoc, unmanaged 'mum's network' and a well-established, broadly based and transparent scheme like Dulwich College Singapore's.

Of course, you may already be using an informal parental advocacy program, such as a Facebook group, or simply coffee mornings. But a digital platform can amplify and expand your reach.

If you embrace a digital ambassador program, you can reach more prospects with a personalized marketing message that increases admissions. Indeed, this parent-generated content can make prospects five times more likely to convert.

Embrace your parent advocates with The Ambassador Platform

Digital ambassadors, including parent advocates, could be your international school's new secret weapon. They can provide an authentic view into what your school is really like, which can make all the difference for on-the-fence parents and their children.

If you'd like to find out more about how working with parent advocates and other ambassadors can lead to increased admissions get in touch today.