Thanks to modern life, the world of higher education marketing is moulding into a completely new spectrum. Here we discuss the essential higher education marketing strategies that are boosting enrolment numbers for colleges and universities across the country.
What is Higher Education Marketing?
Put simply, higher education marketing is exactly how it presents itself “on the tin”: marketing that is specifically targeted towards the higher education market. Attending college or university is no longer a must-do, and student life often draws images of loans and debt. In a critical time where higher education age people are making more of their own decisions, it is crucial for colleges and universities to develop engaging marketing strategies to magnetise the attention of potential new students. Higher education institutions are seeing a large decline in student enrolment[i]. Higher education marketing is more important than ever.
How Marketing can Improve Student Enrolment
A college or university may have fantastic facilities, perfect acceptance rates and the best teachers in the county. But without effective marketing strategies, no one is going to know. The higher education institutes that are seeing an upsurge in student enrolments are those that have invested in marketing campaigns; they know how good they are and they make it their mission to tell their target market all about it. By adjusting your strategies, your college or university can go beyond simple survival and start thriving.
How to Market a College or University
It is all well and good telling you to market your college or university, but how to do you effectively do so in an age where people’s attention is being pulled in hundreds of directions all at once?
Here are some of our top tips:
Physical advertisements – get your name out there
Although considered slightly ‘outdated’ by many, there is still an appeal to print marketing. Brightly coloured, well designed leaflets and flyers or adverts in publications (local newspapers for example) can boost your reach and make students familiar with the name of your college or university. If done cleverly, you can use printed media at a range of events for a good few years. So, invest in banner printing, business cards, and whatever else you think could attract attention.
Invest in Social Influencers to Share School Moments
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know that influencer marketing is an enormous deal at the moment. But this kind of strategy does not have to mean getting a A-list celebrity on board to promote your college (unless you happen to be friends with one of course!). All you need are a few social savvy students to share their positive experiences.
Using Video Marketing to Create Engaging Stories
For video marketing to work, you need emotion. Simple. Whether your video makes your target audience feel happy, scared, angry or sad, it needs to make them feel an emotion. With 45% of people watching over an hour of YouTube and Facebook videos each week[ii], video marketing is win-win strategy for students and institutions.
The more real stories you use from real people, the more selling power your video will have. You do not even need fancy equipment or a full editing team. Just make some videos of major events, campus festivals and move-in days and give your target audience a glimpse into the best part of student life at your campus.
User-Generated Content for Social Proof and Reach
Word-of-mouth referrals might feel like they are a dying breed, but 70% of people trust online peer recommendations over third-party professional content[iii]. Bringing former-students’ opinions in front of the eyes of future prospects can make a significant difference to your enrolment figures.
A good idea is to create a hashtag that students can use to unite their experiences all in one place. You will then be able to share their Tweets and Instagram posts on your website and use them in marketing material to entice potential students. These days you will be hard pressed to find a student without their Smartphone glued to their hands, therefore social media is no longer just a bonus tool to have in your marketing strategy, it is critical.
So, why create a marketing campaign for a college or university?
Higher education institutions are focusing on marketing more than ever before with many hiring marketing professionals and large amounts of time and money to create powerful institutional brands. By creating, conveying, and managing a solid and united marketing message, colleges and universities can achieve a significant advantage in boosting enrolment numbers and recruiting top talent.
Can you share any tips on boosting student enrolment rates through clever marketing?
Fain, P., 2016. National College Enrollments Continue to Slide. [Online]
Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/12/19/national-college-enrollments-continue-slide
[Accessed 2020 October 2020].
Lister, M., 2020. 37 Staggering Video Marketing Statistics for 2018. [Online]
Available at: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/03/08/video-marketing-statistics
[Accessed 6 September 2020].
Turton, S., 2015. Reviews, tweets, Instagram posts: why customers are the new marketers. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2015/sep/17/reviews-tweets-instagram-customers-marketers
[Accessed 6 October 2020].
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