Higher Education Marketing Strategies
People who are currently on the lookout for the college of their dreams or any other type of higher education will try to find all the information they need online.
We're talking about the generations of future students who are used to searching everything online. Majority if not all of them will seek the information they need this way.
That’s why institutions of higher education should rethink their marketing strategies. They need to
research, develop and implement higher education marketing strategies. Even schools need to build their online presence and embrace the power of digital marketing to attract more students.
Who needs higher education marketing?
Colleges, universities, or any other type of education beyond high school falls into the category of higher education institutions. Thus, higher education marketing strategies serve to attract prospective students and boost enrollment rates.
Especially during the era of Covid-19, when our interactions are limited to almost scarce, marketing strategies can extend the reach of these institutions further and spread their mission and vision.
Colleges and universities can take advantage of the following strategies to attract a diverse group of people - from recent high school graduates to other groups of non-traditional students.
Marketing Strategies for Higher Education
Define your audience
You need to define your audience to tailor your content and unique value proposition. If you want to engage the right audience, you have to know and understand who they are. Start by developing your buyer persona.
Bear in mind that this is not just your possible student, so you might have several personas. These are also their parents, current students, alumni, donors, and even current and future members of the faculty.
Make a list of their traits, demographics, hobbies, everything you need for you to understand the ideal student. Once you know this, it will make it easier for you to work on the next marketing strategies.
Show your unique brand traits
Your buyer persona or personas will also help you tailor your brand, mission, and vision. What is it that makes your school unique? What makes it stand out among your competitors? Those are your unique brand traits.
College history, unique faculty, community, student guidance system, top-notch courses all account for your unique attributes. Reflect on all these qualities and use them to make an emotional connection with your students.
Don’t forget to highlight your COVID-19 policy and how your campus is committed to student safety.
Refresh your brand and highlight all your unique traits to enchant prospective students and retain existing ones.
Once you finish with the basics, defining your user persona and polishing your brand, you can explore higher education marketing strategies.
Be authentic on social media
On average, people spend between 2 to 3 hours daily on social media. You can use this fact to your advantage in your digital marketing strategy. This means that your prospective student will definitely look you up online. Not only will they comb through your social media posts, but they will also judge you by them.
Therefore, you need to be authentic across social media platforms. Your posts will help your future students envision and visualize life at your university. Your social media strategy should include informative posts that showcase academic achievements, community life, and campus life.
Make sure you respond to any inquiry via social media promptly. Current high school students might contact you via direct message or through the comments section. Engagement is important, so make sure you have a team of people ready to respond quickly.
Promote your school via influencer marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is still an efficient strategy that increases your brand awareness. Universities have heavily relied on this strategy and you can do it too. You can promote your school easily online with the help of your current students, former students, and even influencers.
These posts can be followed by a unique hashtag, so people can interact with you with more ease. Your current students should be encouraged to use this hashtag as well. This will also help in your efforts to build brand awareness online.
Let your successful students, alumni, and even famous alumni talk about their experience and their employment successes after graduation. You can promote these posts across social media to attract the attention of your future students.
Host live Q&A info session
We’ve seen the rise of live videos during the era of social distancing. Take advantage of this trend in your digital marketing strategy because unscripted videos will show your authenticity.
Consider this activity as a more personal and informal FAQ held in real-time on your social media channels. You can host a series of live sessions hosted by a faculty member, a student representative, and even the dean.
This strategy will help you engage with a highly connected generation that is constantly online. It will also show that you are aware of the current technologies and that your school is up to date.
Create video tour of the campus
If you truly want to connect with your prospective students on an emotional level, use videos in your strategy. Videos that showcase day-to-day activities on campus, students, classes, will tell your story better than anything else.
Videos spread across social media channels will give a glimpse into life at your school and help future students enrol.
You should include a video tour of campus on your website as well. Due to Covid-19, campuses already experience a decrease in on-campus visits. You can easily counteract this trend by providing a detailed campus tour online.
Build a website
Your website can be used as your primary marketing tool. To properly utilize the benefits it can create, you need to work on the following aspects.
1. Make sure your website is easy to navigate
A functional website that is easy to navigate will help your audience get the information they need. This will leave a good impression on anyone who wants to enrol, which is your ultimate goal. A website that is easy to navigate, fast-loading, and updated with the latest info will give you a competitive edge. Here are top tips for improving website navigation. Use them to improve user experience on the site.
2. Make it search engine friendly
If we assume that the majority of prospective students are turning to Google search results to find the college of their dreams, you need to increase search engine visibility. A free SEO audit will come in handy if you want to identify any gaps, flaws, or issues affecting your organic search results. A search-engine-friendly website will boost your site authority, increase organic traffic, expand your visit rate, and you can move ahead of the competition.
3. Make it mobile-friendly
Most of the people these days are doing their searches on the go. Thus, having a mobile-friendly website will make the information more available and will extend your reach. According to data, half of the global website traffic in 2021 is coming from mobile devices.
This is not a surprise if the average screen time in 2021 is more than four hours during workdays. With this in mind, we can easily assume that the majority of your website traffic will come from mobile devices.
4. Incorporate a Chatbot
A chatbot is another component you should consider elevating the user experience. This addition will help users find the information they seek with ease and quickly. We live in the era of easily accessible information that is just a few clicks away.
This means that anyone looking for enrollment information on the website is most likely to engage with a chatbot than wait an entire day for an email response. The chatbot will help you increase your conversion rate, improve customer service and satisfaction. You also have the option to transfer the conversation to a university representative and retain the student’s interest.
5. Run a blog
Now that you’ve decided to elevate your website and improve user experience, you can turn your focus on the blog section. The blog is a great higher education marketing tool as it can cover many relevant topics and drive organic traffic.
The content can be optimized to include the keywords you want to rank for. If you make the content relevant as well researched and written, you’ll have a successful blog. Not only that but your organic search results will receive a nice boost.
You can divide the blog section into several categories based on the information a prospect might look for. The right content that covers all questions a prospect needs can help schools get to a wider audience.
For example, you can answer all admission questions in the admission category. Discuss admission FAQ in great detail and finish every blog post with a clear CTA. Next, you can have department categories where the faculty members can write about their latest achievements. You can also have guests post published on other blogs and link to your existing blog posts.
Lastly, you can have a blog category that answers all issues a student faces. Your students can write about their experience in time management, procrastination tips and tricks.
6. Use Google Ads to target prospective students
You can also utilize Google banner ads to increase reach and attract people interested in higher education. This is especially useful if you want your ads to be shown to people who’ve already searched for colleges and universities. Apart from enticing ad copy, these ads should be visually appealing to reach the right audience. In general, focus on the most relevant keywords, and tailor your campaign to best fit your marketing goals.
To implement higher education marketing strategies, deal with the basics first. Once you identify your ideal student (buyer persona) and polish your brand, move to your website. Improve your website, so you’ll improve your rankings and organic traffic. Once everything is settled, you can implement the strategies we’ve listed and improve your enrollment rate. If you need help with implementing marketing strategies for higher education, contact our website support team. We can take your college or university website to the next level.