In the highly competitive higher education sector, institutions need higher education marketing to remain at the top. If you want to know what it is all about, then read on.
It is every person’s dream to join college or university and pursue their dream career. That sounds easy, but it is much more complicated when you get down to the enrolment process.
Different institutions of higher learning offer various courses at different levels and costs. For this reason, students do their due diligence first before registering in any institute.
Higher education marketing is essential in such a competitive space if an institution wants to enroll many students. The more the number of learners that know about a particular institution, the higher the chances of registering.
Understanding higher education marketing is no easy job, but this article has made it easy for you with just one read. It provides the definition and explains in detail the different marketing approaches that you can use to market your institute. Now that you have an overview, it is time need to move to the details
What Is Higher Education Marketing?
Higher education marketing entails making known what an institute offers to those looking for a higher education degree. That is any degree that is above a high school diploma. It could be a certification for a professional course, a Bachelor’s degree, a Masters or Doctorate level degree.
There are thousands of institutions offering these opportunities, and marketing to your target market is essential. Keep in mind that higher education is a substantial financial investment, and learners want to make the most out of it. The industry is competitive, and you must have a strategic marketing plan if you are to be the top choice for students.
Likewise, universities have been facing challenges over the past few years. In 2019, the most significant challenge that came to being was Brexit. With Britain’s exit from the European Union, universities are no longer sure of their participation in exchange programs such as ERASMUS. Likewise, research funding is likely to decline. Between 2007 and 2013, universities collected about £500 million per year in EU research funding, and Brexit may affect this.
Other factors, for example, the Common Application, have allowed students to cast their net wider. Learners are applying to multiple schools, and the institutes are enrolling more students. According to Pew Research Centre’s research in 2017, more than 50% of universities and colleges accepted two-thirds of applicants, and the number is predicted to increase over the years. That means that every qualified student receives several acceptance letters, and they have to pick one.
Include this to other competitive variants like fees and international competition for students’ placement in universities in Canada, China, Australia, and other countries. Also, universities have to invest in learning facilities, staff, and infrastructure. Undoubtedly, to succeed in this ever-changing landscape, higher education institutes must invest in marketing.
Higher education marketing strategies
Given the importance of higher education marketing, it only makes sense to understand various effective strategies. Gone are the days when universities strictly relied on referrals, reputation, and professional networks to attract students. In this highly digitized era, digital marketing is the way to go. One thing for sure is that higher education institutions need to order articles in bulk if they want to survive in this competitive space.
Most learners spend a significant part of their days consuming digital media, whether on social media or surfing on laptops, mobile phones, or computers. Hence, learners have turned to the internet to research study options. Universities can tap into this by using the following effective marketing strategies.
- Having a user-friendly and SEO optimized website
- Create an inspiring blog on your website
- Authentic social media marketing
- Use influencer marketing
- Personalized video content
- Higher education Advertising
- Feedback and reviews
- Hold events to make personal connections
Having a user-friendly and SEO optimized website
If your digital marketing strategy is going to work for your institution, you need a user-friendly website. According to Kinesis, 94% of all your website visitors rate your brand based on the appearance, functionality, or usability. Therefore, a search engine optimized website is an excellent marketing tool. The three types of SEO that can work for your higher learning marketing campaign include the following.
That entails including backlinks on your website. However, ensure that the links provide students with useful information that they want.
This type of SEO relates mainly to your content. Learners look for authentic and quality content that they can relate to as they search for an institution. Ensure that your website contains well-researched keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, header tags, and internal links. Also, ensure that your website includes the latest or trendiest university news to keep your audience engaged.
Your website’s core details should include the school’s location, the charges, number of students, courses offered, the requirements, and many more. It would be best if you made these details readily available in the ‘Quick Facts’ section.
The more detailed you are, the more learners appreciate specific dates and numbers. That helps them build trust in your schools making the decision-making process more comfortable.
Off-page SEO mainly deals with the architecture of your website. You need a professional developer to take the lead in your website’s design and development.
Professionals understand that Google and other search engines gather information fast from technically sound websites. Hence, they ensure that your website pages are on point so that you can earn top rankings on search engine results.
Your website also needs to be mobile-friendly because more than 40% of students use their mobile phones to do research online. Hence, if your content can be easily accessed and downloaded on mobile phones, your click rates increase.
Create an inspiring blog on your website
Having a well-written and inspiring blog is essential for your higher education marketing plan. It would help if you created engaging blogs that, from time to time, share the experiences of students on campus stories as well.
That enables incoming learners to get an idea of what to expect. Ensure that your blog contains the right keyword and quality content. Also, update it often to prevent future students from thinking of your school the same way.
Authentic social media marketing
Today’s younger generation is no longer interested in traditional marketing, and you must be authentic and reach them on social media, where they spend a lot of their time. A majority of them have mobile phones and are on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more. All you need to do is make your institution’s presence felt on these platforms by creating a personalized, targeted social media campaign.
You need to keep the engagement going on social media. You can achieve this by having a personable learner as a host for a show that talks about student experiences. Choosing such interesting topics combined with an excellent host choice will bring more numbers to your website, creating more awareness about your institution’s brand.
Also, feedback is critical. Your audience feels valued when you like their comments or reply to their posts and queries. Hence, keep them engaged and earn their loyalty fast.
You can hire social media management services to create and manage your profile, create quality content and manage your following. Likewise, they can help you fine-tune your marketing plan through analytics. It is essential to evaluate your social media performance to know what to improve for better results.
Use influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can work for your institution as well as it works for marketing other products. Start by analyzing your social media channel feedback and performance and wherever your school’s hashtags appear. Then, go more in-depth and study the audience that is commenting and talking about your school. That way, you understand their needs and can communicate to them using an effective strategy.
Once you know your audience, choosing your influencers or ambassadors becomes easier. During selection, make sure that it is a person or brand that connects to your dream students. It is advisable to select a student studying in your school that has outstanding character and academic excellence.
Instead of hearing professors speak, learners are more comfortable following real students doing college activities in real-time. Hence, utilize social media features such as live feeds to create that much needed personalized feel. Viewers get engaged all the way, and they can ask questions, give their views, and even suggest future topics of discussion, and it makes them feel valued.
Personalized video content
Not all prospective learners get to visit every school that they want to join. It could be because of logistical reasons or lack of time or money. Hence, the video should be part of your higher education marketing strategy. Marketers that utilize video raise revenue 49% faster than those who do not. With 86% of higher learning institutions having a strong presence on YouTube, you need to harness video marketing power.
It is easier for students to watch live videos than to read through FAQs and page-long content. 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product. Live videos make it easier for learners to ask questions and interact in real-time, and they are more caring.
Always create high-quality videos that have relatable content. That aligns perfectly with today’s generation that wants to engage with schools in a convenient manner.
You can leverage videos in your campus newsletters, admission emails, websites, social media, podcasts, and more. Know that the best campus stories are told from the horse’s mouth, which would be current students. That personalized approach combines with prospective learner data drives your marketing strategy.
Consider that if a student’s website journey shows endless views and interaction with an accounting page, it is likely that the learner wants to take an accounting course.
Enrolling such students in an email marketing campaign showing current accounting students sharing their experiences could be a splendid idea. In other words, learn your prospects and use the right video channels to reach out to them.
Higher Education Advertising
Online platforms offer PPC (Pay Per Click) services and charge some small fees every time a visitor clicks a link on an advert. Hence, higher education institutions should also tap into this and buy visits to their sites instead of waiting on organic traffic only, which takes time to build.
The good thing with PPC advertising is that your audience is narrowed down by demographics, age, interests, and more. Hence, advertisers can generate many quality leads in a short period.
You can also advertise your institution on podcasts and reach the right people. 51% of people in the United States have listened to podcasts. 32% listen to them each month. Most podcast listeners are young adults that are likely to be pursuing higher education. Hence, you can sponsor several business podcasts to push your name out there.
You can also engage in conventional marketing in the form of posters or live performances. However, these are more localized and should be an addition to your digital marketing approach. They are also cheap, and there is no harm in making your school’s name known more in your community.
Feedback and reviews
Reviews can market your institution big time. 88% of customers have confidence in online reviews like personal recommendations. 72% give their trust to businesses that positive reviews. Hence, let the happy students speak for your institution. You can get testimonials from learners that have been in your institution and succeeded, and most would be willing to do that.
Hold events to make personal connections
It would be suitable for potential students to meet with current learners or alumni and interact on a deeper level. Organizing such events in your school or booking a booth at university fairs would help. The learners can find as much information as they could want and get satisfactory answers.
There is no doubt that higher education marketing is essential if you want your dream students to enroll in your institution. If you correctly implement the strategies provided herein, you are bound to succeed and make your school the number one choice for higher education learners. They include having an SEO-optimized website, inspiring blogs, influencer marketing, social media marketing, advertising, personalized video content, and getting reviews and feedback for your services.