higher education marketing strategies

The pandemic revolutionized the higher education system. After the pandemic, universities and colleges saw a record decline in student enrollment and participation, and everyone can still feel its side effects. However, many countries still demand student expansion and improved learning standards.

If you’re in higher education, you must develop creative higher education marketing strategies to attract prospective students and retain the current ones. When creating a comprehensive higher education marketing strategy, you must combine digital and traditional marketing tactics to send the right message.

Need help figuring out what to do? Don’t worry! This article will explore the meaning of higher education marketing and the twelve proven higher education marketing strategies to utilize in your school. Shall we?

What does Higher Education Marketing Mean?

Higher Education Marketing involves marketing universities or colleges to prospective students (and other stakeholders) seeking a degree. This type of marketing is essential now more than ever because higher education is gradually declining. Why?

The Michigan Journal of Economics stated that higher education gradually declined over the past decade but saw a sharp decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. In the fall of 2019, undergraduate enrollment was reduced by over 3.6% (560,000 students), which has yet to increase significantly. These factors make higher education marketing quite challenging.

Therefore, higher education marketers must develop creative digital marketing strategies to attract the best students to their institution.

Higher Education Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Miss

1. Create a Digitally Friendly Brand

Think of the best higher institutions in the world. They all have one thing in common – excellence. They have excellent staff, a prominent alumni network, extensive funding for research and operations, inclusive extra-curricular activities, and most importantly, a name that helps them get into the room of any company they apply to. 

What do you want people to think of when they hear your institution’s name? It would help if you portrayed that. Create an excellent digital brand identity that resonates with your target audience. It combines a well-coordinated higher education social media campaign, highly targeted marketing, visual aesthetics, and other minor factors. 

Build a strong brand by demonstrating the quality of the higher institution with authoritative statements backed by facts and data. You can showcase your staff’s caliber and quality, the alums’ success, and the number of yearly applications. 

2. Develop a Solid Content Creation Strategy

Businesses and organizations that have leveraged high-quality content have seen a massive increase in customer engagement and expanded their customer base. 

According to a recent study, content marketing costs 62% less and produces more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing, so higher education institutions must utilize it. 

When you create great content for your audience, you solve a prospective student’s need and establish your university as an authority. It builds trust and reliability. Great content captures attention and brings students coming back for more. A solid content creation strategy should focus on the following: 

  • Social media: Most young people live on social media. You must curate relatable content that aligns with their interest, maximizes engagement, and increases student enrollment.
  • Website content: When someone clicks on your website, the content must prove that your institution is ready for business. It should be a well-organized website that can attract students by looking at it. 
  • Video content: Social media has made video creation revolutionary for marketing strategies. You must create video content if you want to harness Instagram or TikTok. 
  • Blog posts: Creating relevant blog posts provides the correct information to stakeholders and boosts website traffic. 

Remember advertising copy and traditional media. 

3. Up Your Email Marketing Game

If your institution is sleeping on email marketing, it’s missing out on a lot. Email marketing is a powerful strategy that cuts across industries, including higher education. 

The first natural step is to create a drip campaign targeted toward prospective students. However, if your institution takes this route and is not yielding results, their messages are probably marked as spam. Email deliverability could be a severe problem, even when students opt-in to receive emails. 

How do you solve this problem?

Firstly, use email list segmentation to your advantage. This method helps you to target specific audiences and send relevant messages. The next thing is to personalize your content as much as possible. A study shows that personalized emails lead to an average ROI of 122%. Sending relevant, customized emails helps to boost engagement and increase email deliverability. 

4. Social Media Marketing

If your primary market is Gen Z, you need to pay attention to social media. Over 84% of young people between 18 to 29 use social media, so you should pitch your tent there by all means. How do you do this?

Firstly, show success stories. The best higher institutions have made good names for themselves because they can boast a good alumni network. Prospective students want to know if the institution can help them achieve their goals. Showcase alumni successes across social media platforms can be a great way to attract the right students. 

Also, showcase your beautiful campus and students’ achievements. Are the students doing groundbreaking work? Is the university hosting some tournaments or competitions? All these help you to improve the school’s reputation. 

5. Create A Mobile-Friendly Website

Your institution’s website is your greeting card. The first thing most prospective students look at when choosing a school is their website. It creates the first impression they have of the school. 

Your website should be informational and mobile-friendly. Most universities focus on one more than the other. In most cases, they focus on dumping all types of content on their website without focusing on their aesthetic design. Your website should have the correct data and an effective UX design and optimize for conversions. 

Since you’re primarily targeting Gen Z, your website should be optimized for smartphones, as most people in this age group use mobile devices more. It doesn’t matter how aesthetically pleasing your website is. If it’s not responsive on every device, your school is shooting itself in the foot.  

6. Utilize SEO

People prefer information from university websites to blog posts when searching for credible information. You should improve your website’s SEO strategy to increase rankings and organic search results. How do you do this?

The key to improving your SEO tactics is understanding what your target audience is looking for and incorporating it into your website. 

You must ensure that prospective students feel at home when they log in. Create a solid SEO strategy for your overall higher education marketing strategy. 

Look out for long-tail keywords that can increase your organic search results. For instance, focus on “the best places to live in Boston as a student.” Aside from using keyword tools, an excellent way to develop keywords is to answer students’ frequently asked questions.

7. Use Chatbots to Your Advantage.

One of the benefits of digital marketing for higher education is that it eases accessibility, even after working hours. Distance is no barrier when students want to get a quality education. Your target audience is spread everywhere around the globe.

When students have needs, they often fill out an inquiry form and expect a response within the shortest possible time, preferably the same day. If the staff delays responding to that request, it leaves a wrong first impression on the student. Nobody wants to go to a school with inaccessible staff. 

You must use chatbots to attend to students’ needs quickly. When students use the chatbot, it gives a series of automated responses that keep them engaged until a real person answers the questions. 

8. Incorporate Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is one of the most powerful tools to increase student enrollment. This study reveals that digital advertising will make up over 66% of the overall advertising budget by 2023, so it’s only appropriate that higher education takes a good slice of that pie. 

Digital advertising works more wonders for higher education marketing than traditional advertising because it targets prospects based on demographics, intent, engagements, backgrounds, and the like. 

For example, a data-driven higher education marketing agency can use digital marketing to target graduate students with specific bachelor’s degrees and locations to create awareness about their university. Such a precise strategy can powerfully impact the advertising campaign results. 

9. Make Communications As Personalized As Possible.

This tip works excellently with email marketing. You should meet your target audience at every stage of the sales funnel. When you personalize communication and answer their specific questions, they’re more inclined to put your institution top-of-mind. You can use marketing automation to target the right audience and send personalized information to them. 

For instance, you can use email list segmentation to target different groups, such as academic wanderers, aspiring students, career starters, industry switchers, and career accelerators. These different groups need personalized messaging to convert them. 

When you understand the needs of different groups of people coming to your university, getting them to respond to you faster becomes easier. 

10. Measure the Right KPIs

The ultimate goal is to increase student enrollment at your institution. However, that goal is too big to measure. Even if you make some progress, it will be challenging to figure out because there is no metric to measure against. 

The best way to know if you’re making progress is to track specific KPIs, such as cost per acquisition, traffic sources, CTA conversion rates, social media engagements, etc. You can use these metrics to determine the effectiveness of your overall higher education digital marketing strategy. 

Let FrescoData Increase Student Enrollment With Data

Boost your student enrollment rate by employing the best data-driven higher education marketing strategies. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. FrescoData is a data-driven digital marketing company with a large B2B and B2C database of potential customer information, especially for higher institutions. 

We stand tall amongst our competitors because we help you to specifically target prospective students with drip campaigns using the right automation and analytical tools. Contact FrescoData today.

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