Higher education is more competitive and demanding than ever. With so many talented students looking to enroll each year, it is important that higher education institutions put their best marketing foot forward to attract new students and compel them to apply.

Need some help getting your digital marketing campaign off the ground? Here are five great marketing tips for higher education institutions. 

Determine your lead personas and understand their needs.

This might seem like common sense, but listen up. Of course, your audience is primarily made up of prospective students, but did you know that there are other interested parties who may be checking out your site? If you do not know them or understand their needs, you might be missing out on some major marketing opportunities.

Parents are another major group that might be scrolling through your website. They too are concerned for their child’s future, and they will want to know more about your institution and what your programs offer. For parents sending their first child off to uni, this is a new experience. The more open and informative you are, the more parents may appreciate your institution and encourage their child to enroll.

Even among your most obvious demographic, you have sub-categories of students who have different needs. For example, students coming out of high school have different needs than those who are returning to school after being in the work place. Older students might be juggling multiple responsibilities, such as child care and other major expenses, so they might be more concerned about how much school will cost and how demanding classes will be.

Think about your lead personas and what they need to know before enrolling. Meeting their needs will only benefit you in the long run.

Offer valuable content.

Whether a student is coming to your institution fresh out of high school or returning to school after working for some time, they probably have a million questions about school in general.

Students are not always willing to email someone at your institution outright, so you need to anticipate these questions and provide students with a way to get them answered. For all institutions, the best place to answer these questions is through valuable content on a blog.

There are two types of content you can utilise: complimentary and premium. Complimentary content is your blog. It is free for anyone to access and does not require the reader to sign up for emails, though it does encourage it. Complimentary content is general and it entices readers to sign up for premium content or emailing lists. By answering some questions efficiently, you show your readers that you can answer more if they sign up.

Premium content is more in-depth, such as an ebook or a webinar, and it should require viewers to give you their email addresses. This type of content is seen as more valuable and should offer more benefits than the complimentary content. You might host a webinar with heads of certain departments to introduce students to your great faculty members or you might produce an ebook that walks students through the enrollment process.

Focus on SEO tactics.

If your website is buried on the third or fourth page of Google search results, you might as well not be online at all. So few people ever go past the first page of search results. Therefore it is vital to your institution that you are easy to find.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a multi-faceted process. Here are a few quick ways to optimise your website to make it easier to find in Google search results:

  • Optimise your pages with relevant keywords
  • Optimise social media profiles with keywords
  • Run PPC ads on Google, Facebook and other social media platforms
  • Ensure your website is mobile friendly
  • Post new content often on your site

Focus your social media strategy.

You probably have a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your institution, but just having these accounts does not mean that they will do you much good unless you know how to use them.

Remember to use social media accounts according to your audience. Younger students tend to gravitate towards Twitter and Instagram as well as Snapchat, so if you want to post information to them, use those platforms. Parents and older students are usually more active on LinkedIn and Facebook, so you should not use Twitter to share information meant for parents.

The Golden Rule of Social Media Marketing is to follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your posts on social media should be informative, educational or entertaining. The remaining 20 percent can be self-promotional. Post news articles about your institution, faculty members and alumni. Share other blogs about student living and highlight festivals and other events going on in the town where your institution is located. Show followers how great it will be to be a part of your campus.

Measure all analytics.

One of the biggest mistakes higher education institute marketers make is not keeping track of their campaigns via analytics. When emails announcing new blog posts are sent out, how many people click on them? Does it vary if the emails are sent later in the day versus early in the morning? Do people open but then not click through?

Analytics can help you answer these questions and many more. With this knowledge, you will be able to create better emails that directly address your consumer base and send them out when these consumers are most active.

Social media analytics will help you temper your campaign effectiveness. You cans see how many people like or follow your account each week, and which posts they responded to the most. What topics got the most responses, comments or retweets?

When you’re working for a higher education institute, you might find that your time is stretched pretty thin, but marketing should not fall by the wayside. Keep your audience at the forefront of every campaign, and you should be in great shape for a successful digital marketing campaign.

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