Gather round children It’s time to get schooled on making profits using higher education marketing.
What is Higher Education Marketing?
Higher education marketing is marketing for tertiary education institutions, which is an educational institution that is above high school or secondary school level and their mature learning audience.
Some university recruitment strategies leave a lot undone when it comes to higher education marketing. Given that the target audience is educated and informed, their college recruitment strategy does not reflect that. Higher education marketing strategies need to reflect a wide range of demographics. For example, socio-economic status, age, religion, gender and family life, seem intimate to potential student enrollment leads.
Challenges Digital Marketing Agencies Face in Higher Education Marketing
Over the years, digital marketing agencies have tried to fix the bad reputation of higher education marketing, both from the schools they serve and their student enrollees. Being accused of being a rip-off or an accomplice to a fraudulent college recruitment strategy is no joke and can seriously damage your agency’s reputation.
Some digital marketing agencies have distanced themselves from non-profit schools, and schools with questionable university recruitment strategies to protect themselves. Some school administrations have completely tossed the failure of higher education marketing on digital agencies while controlling all their efforts through their in-house marketing teams. These daunting practices make it hard for digital marketing agencies to find profitable ways and reasons to adopt higher education marketing.
Student debt is another talked-about topic when it comes to university recruitment strategies. Not every student will be lucky to receive a full ride to Harvard or have parents foot the entire university bill. Profiting off of non-profit universities is another controversial topic and one that landed a few American universities in hot water. The increasing blurred lines between for-profit and non-profit universities have complicated creating the right higher education marketing campaign.
In theory, education is supposed to be an ever learning and evolving entity. In practice, the changes can come a lot slower than the needs of future student enrollees. Four years is a long time in a fast-changing industry like STEM. By the time they have finished the course, the industry would have already created new technological advances and operating methods making newly graduated students’ degrees obsolete. Still, some universities tend to promote courses only after the industry is crying out for workers, limiting your target audience to people already studying the program or working in the industry.
Another financial disaster in the making is marketing courses that no one needs, such as courses that are more like hobbies rather than part of any particular career path. Siphoning digital marketing ad spend into these courses has two potential drawbacks. First, they could and usually are a total waste of money, and second, these courses can diminish the university’s academic reputation and, thus, its college recruitment strategy.
Having your potential buyers in lockdown was another challenge digital marketing agencies had to overcome in their college recruitment strategy–drastic lifestyle changes for both students and universities worldwide cut student attendance and university budgets.
Rapid adaptation of online learning was one of the strong points in favor of universities. When digital marketing agencies overcome the social and financial challenges around creating a higher education marketing campaign, they’ll discover that university recruitment strategies aren’t written in stone. With the right digital data validation company, you can find creative ways to leverage universities’ technological adaptability into profitability.
Can Higher Education Marketing be Profitable for Digital Marketing Agencies?
Although higher education is very competitive and universities love in-house digital marketing, digital marketing agencies still profit, even with not-for-profit higher education marketing strategies. Digital marketing agencies have to spend time selling themselves first before they can get to higher education marketing.
After all, universities did train you and their in-house marketing team. You have to prove you’re a better grade A student of digital marketing with the capacity to achieve their higher education marketing goals.
If you are talented enough to win the contract to become Neo, you must jump the second hurdle of budget constraints. After that, there’s the third hurdle of maximizing that constrained budget to get the furthest reach and leads.
As mentioned before, students are also budget-conscious. No one wants to go into debt for a degree that may be useless by the time they graduate. Universities may have classes they want to fill, but Gen Z knows where to find free online courses that bypass their four-year degree.
With an educationally enlightened buyer, a pandemic and drastic changes to the world economy and functionality, it may seem difficult to make higher education marketing work. Showing off the value of your client’s accreditation over newcomers through hire rates and salary ranges is a good starting point. However, your newly enlightened buyers know that hire rates and salaries aren’t usually guaranteed. They are also seeking a new lifestyle, and it’s beneficial to your digital marketing agency to sell future lifestyle goals rather than simple career paths.
With all the problems that already exist when trying to market higher education, the onset of a global pandemic put a lot of marketing plans on hiatus, drastically cut budgets, decreased student enrollment and altered entire marketing campaigns. Current and potential student leads were confused and wary about their future.
Despite all the problems with the future of higher education, your goal should be to show that there is a brighter future, and with FrescoData, you can help prepare them for it today.
How Digital Marketing Agencies Get An A+ in Profit Using Higher Education Marketing?
Success in sports naturally draws attention to any school, not so much with academics. However, industry leaders are aware of successful alumni from ten years prior who attended the school. Translating that success to a younger generation, who may not even be interested in a field that is no longer viable, wastes valuable digital marketing ad dollars. Yet sadly, that is how most digital marketing agencies do higher education marketing.
Yes, you had a high-demand product, but you are also in an overly saturated industry with declining interest in higher education. With new online schools being accredited, using the same traditional advertising methods as your competitors will end up in spam folders or become the Raid Shadow Legends of universities.
Instead of staying the traditional route of waiting for the sports team to do the heavy lifting or relying on their Ivy League status to guarantee quality student enrollment leads, you can partner with FrescoData and step into the future of higher education marketing.
Data Enhancement Services for Up-to-Date Data
- Gen Z does use email. But like every other generation before them, they don’t want to be bombarded with unnecessary emails or spam ads for your school. When creating your targeted email lists for your direct mail database, ensure you have the correct, up-to-date data to achieve pinpoint targeting with your higher education marketing campaign.
- Ensure you use data enhancement from reputable data validation services to reduce spam complaints and increase open rates. As a GDPR compliant data validation company, FrescoData provides data validation services which include data enhancement. We also provide email list services to buy targeted email lists from industry sources and help you create a direct mail database.
- We can use behavior monitoring and data enhancement to improve your current direct mail database, sharpen pinpointing targeting and help you create stunning short-form videos and programmatic display ads. You can include short-form videos of life experiences from successful alumni specific to the potential student program aspirations in your email marketing strategy. The videos can be created to match successful alumni data to find lookalike audiences.
- Research is vital to universities, and you can capitalize on having access to a data validation company that knows just what to do with education industry data. Even if you get data directly from your client, FrescoData can perform data enhancement services and data validation services to ensure that your data will be up-to-date and verified, no matter what college recruitment strategy you use.
Promote A-Class User Generated Content on Social Media
- You can use the same short-form videos from your email campaigns and reuse them for your social media strategy. TikTok, YouTube and Twitter are the leading platforms where these do well. Of course, social media is about creative content so your videos need to be creative and relaxing enough to fit well in the space without becoming obtrusive.
- Kick the school portrait pics with professional voiceovers and sell the live college experience using one of your current students. Be funny. (Gen Z funny, not Dad jokes funny.) Collaborate with Gen Z influencers who attend your school or whose brand can align with your college recruitment strategy.
- Avoid Facebook ads and aged content that doesn’t suit the demographics of your target audiences. YouTube can be an excellent part of your college recruitment strategy with daily or weekly vlogs on college life.
- All this creative content can be used in an interactive marketing plan or to drive user engagement. Once you get your potential student enrollment leads talking about your university client, they’ll create the user-generated content and hopefully viral content and the rest is digital marketing history.
Make Future Industry Higher Education Marketing Trends Matter
- According to a recent US survey on college alums, universities should seek to sell the entire college experience and look beyond degree completion. Paying attention to potential industry trends or pitfalls should be a part of universities’ mandate to better serve students even long after graduation.
- Back in the 80s and early 90s, there weren’t many people promoting CSS and HTML courses or even advanced computer classes. Today we can see the error in not promoting technical courses as the entire world is being dragged into the digital future whether we want to or not.
- Facebook launched Meta on October 28, 2021, and this presents an excellent opportunity for universities to design and market courses that will serve in the new Metaverse. Right now, all the devices and infrastructure aren’t even in a place as yet. Now is the right time to take advantage of the next level of social connection and a stellar opportunity to market innovative product design programs or courses that will tackle the possible identity and security issues that Facebook is well known for.
- You can base your higher education marketing campaign on the identity protection of students in the new virtual Metaverse.
- Go where Gen Z and Generation Alpha live. Be there ahead of the competition and set up shop. Look for potential industry trends in different industries and match current programs or create new program offerings and career paths. Then, get your potential student enrollment leads thinking about a future with your university today.
Budget For Non-Profit and Still Get Top of the Class Results
- Most non-profit schools are in the Ivy League status, so they expect specific standards for marketing to their target audience. To keep the non-profit status, they also must have a certain intake of students who aren’t in their ideal target group.
- This approach leads to increased advertising costs, spam complaints, subpar university recruitment strategies and inept student onboarding practices, rather than a personalized omnichannel marketing strategy.
- Instead, a conversational marketing approach works best with those students who may not be what your client wants but will need to feel embraced by the school and not alienated because they didn’t fit the ideal buyer profile. Conversational marketing occurs when the customer prefers, giving you the flexibility to cater to students who left their homes to study abroad or work and do online classes with a family.
- Chatbots are okay, but live chat is better, especially one that can quickly translate. Using live chat, messenger and mobile applications, you can take your higher education marketing strategies mobile.
- Gen Z is a mobile generation. Not having a mobile marketing strategy or creating programmatic display ads that can be used both on mobile and on CTV displays is a huge miss in your higher education marketing campaign. Incorporating FrescoData’s geofencing to generate leads near the university town or find lookalikes students near past successful alumni.
- Cutting tuition prices is not enough to lure students back. Using a more personalized approach that suits future lifestyle goals, reduces unnecessary mass marketing costs, creates a more successful buyer’s journey, increases referral rates and higher education marketing returns.
The fact that universities were equipped to adapt to the sudden digital changes at the onset of Covid-19 shows the great potential for adopting new university recruitment strategies. Now, it’s a simple matter of your higher education marketing agency to get them to adopt new higher education marketing strategies.
When you partner with FrescoData, which provides data enhancement services, data validation services and email list services to create an up-to-date direct mail database for a more versatile college recruitment strategy. With a verified data validation company, you can create programmatic display ads that can be mobile-friendly with pinpoint targeting for higher accuracy in mobile campaigns.
Let’s strategize your next higher education marketing campaign and help future students see the long-term benefits of a college education.
Read Our other blogs on Higher Education Marketing
- Higher Education Marketing: 5 Ways Your University Can Stand Out
- How To Increase Student Enrollment: 5 Omnichannel Marketing Strategies That Boost Program Visibility
- Digital Marketing For Higher Education: How To Reach Senior Professionals & Executive MBAs
- Digital Marketing For Higher Education: How To Market To Executives Post COVID-19