Colleges and universities cannot rely on reputation and prestige. Some educational institutions, such as Berkeley or Harvard, are brands. People know that these brands are good. But even institutions of this level have to promote themselves, so they can justify the price that students pay, as well as the competition they face to get there. As for the colleges and universities that haven’t developed a brand, marketing strategies are even more important.
Each educational institution has one main goal: to attract the best students to apply. College admission officers don’t just sit there waiting for the next generation of applicants to flow in. They are recruiters at the same time. They scout high schools to identify students with great potential. They attract learners from abroad, so they can enhance the diversity levels on campus. They do everything in their power to present the school as the best choice, so the price they charge for a single year of learning wouldn’t be seen as something outrageous.
How should proper education marketing be done?
Let’s focus on a few tips that are beneficial for the marketing teams at universities, but for the recruiters and admissions officers as well.
6 Strategies for Higher Education Marketing
#1. Use Social Media
Future college applicants are young people who mainly get their information through social media. Instagram and Facebook now make it easy for them to control the time they spend on social media, so they want to access good content. The content that promotes colleges and universities is good for them. When a promoted college program gets their attention, they will certainly consider it.
Facebook and Instagram are useful for their highly targeted campaigns. When the institution invests in paid social media marketing to college students, the ad will reach applicants with real chances to accept the offer.
You should know that many intelligent young people think that college is pure garbage. They take the examples of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, but forget that these successful leaders still got into college; they just chose other ways to educate themselves after that. When you use social media marketing to promote a certain program, focus on the message that formal education is still important and useful. Then, show how your program beats the competition.
#2. Insert Video and Animation
When marketers realize how important social media platforms are, they usually focus on images. Instagram is a photo-driven platform, so they hire professional photographers to help them build a presence.
Yes; brand imagery is important. When it comes to telling a story, however, video and animation give you better opportunities.
You can feature great clips that show social life on campus, as well as the accommodation facilities. Future students are interested in these things, and they can get a better impression through a video.
As for animation, you can insert it in videos that show the advantages of the programs offered at that college. The university can also offer educational videos that involve animation. Cambridge University, through its Lines of Thought series on YouTube, is a great example of such marketing.
#3. Generate the Content
The content you publish has to be impressive. When you watch the videos on the YouTube channel of Cambridge University, you see why it’s one of the best schools in the world. The content is highly professional and it aims to reach millions of people around the world for free.
That’s the kind of content that gets students to notice a program. Free YouTube videos and Coursera courses are a great foundation for successful digital marketing. But social media content is important, too. Facebook and Instagram shouldn’t be taken as platforms that solely serve for ads. When people check out the profile, they should find impressive visuals and captions there.
#4. Optimize Your Email Program
Whenever you publish something on social media, you want future college applicants at the official website of the program that gets their interest. They will get general information there. They can also explore the school’s blog and social media channels. But what happens if they want more information? Calling the university is not their favorite thing to do. Of course, you’ll give them that option. But most of them will prefer email communication, so you should enable that, too.
Each site visitor should get a suggestion to sign up for the email marketing campaign. They will receive useful content on a weekly basis. This content can include tips on admissions and choosing college programs. It can also feature interviews with popular professors. But for the sake of personalization, you should also allow students to contact the admissions office, and they should always get a prompt response.
#5. Share via Stories
Edited videos are cool, but they don’t give out a realistic impression on campus life. Live streaming does. Instagram Live enables you to stream lengthy recordings of lectures and campus happenings. The Stories let you do that in a shorter format, so you’ll choose only the most memorable moments of the lecture or event.
Ask students to answer fun questions. Let future applicants ask questions and answer them through stories. There are many creative marketing opportunities to explore this aspect.
#6. Listen to Feedback
Do people think that the advertisements for your college are tacky? Do they think you went too aggressive with paid social media marketing? Do they feel like your message is not relevant to their needs?
Listen to the feedback, especially if it’s negative. Future applicants tell you what they think is wrong with the campaign. Of course, there’s a lot of space for improvement, no matter how great the promotional strategy is. The feedback tells you what direction to take towards improvement.
Marketing is not reserved for businesses. Educational institutions compete in their industry, too. To justify the money they charge, they have to achieve a higher ranking. To do that, they have to build better programs and attract better students. To attract the best applicants, they have to promote themselves.
In its foundations, business promotion is not much different. Marketers build brands because they want to attract more buyers. The college program also needs a branding campaign. Essentially, students are investing their money in education and you should show how this school delivers the best value for that money. The competition in this sector is HUGE, so you better start developing an outstanding marketing campaign. Among universities like Cambridge, Stanford and Harvard, it’s not easy to get noticed.
About the Author!
Emma is a world traveler, blogger, and UK EduBirdie author. She is a passionate online learner, exploring interests in one niche after another. Through her blog posts, Emma is trying to make people at least as passionate about learning as she is.