Higher education can take a page from business when it comes to marketing. The principles are the same, and nearly every school wants more students in at least one discipline. If your school is already full, you can still use marketing strategies to target types of students you are looking for, such as exchange or international students.
When you market a school, you want to put people behind your brand. Every school works with different types of people, and meeting cool people is a big reason students attend school in the first place. You want to show off the best talent you have to offer your students so that they feel like they can connect on a human level.
You also want to work with current trends in online advertising. This means more than just adopting current SEO standards for those huge websites. Your school can network with new social media platforms to become an early adopter with a strong presence. You can work to make your school’s web presence voice-search friendly. You can also create a strong mobile presence for students and prospective students.
Here are 14 ways to market higher education in 2020.
- Fix up that SEO. People are always talking about it, but it’s always changing! Be sure to stay on top of the trends. Some news has come out about algorithm changes (as always), but there has also been news about word count and responsive pages. Staying up-to-date will give your page that much more edge.
- Go social with video. Even on LinkedIn, video is rocking the social media landscape. People love the convenience and entertainment value of video. Plus, you get a chance to put a face to your message and show off your school’s aesthetics.
- Give 360-degree online tours. Students can save a ton of money on deciding whether to visit in person with these tours. It also saves the counselors a lot of time, leaving more time for those who actually decide to visit. Overall, it’s a great way to enhance the admissions process.
- Develop a mobile-friendly web page. This is a big deal for search engine rankings. If you haven’t fixed up your pages yet to load on mobile, do so pronto. Everyone, especially young people, is on their phones.
- Put your people out there. Show the faces behind your school. Students want to know who to connect with.
- Get data on your campaigns. Schools tend to be large, so this may require a comprehensive plan. But it’s worth it! Whether you go to fairs, do email outreach, or run ads on television, you want to get more data on your campaigns in order to decide on a strategy. You just can’t go wrong with more information.
- Work with students and parents on content. User-generated content is making waves in marketing. Encourage people to tag your school on social media at the very least. You can also work with a marketing company to create stories around the student experience.
- Become an early adopter. Social media platforms seem to pop up often. The truth is that pretty much all social media is new for schools, though. Even if you’re not the first on a new platform, you can ramp up your presence on existing platforms to build a competitive edge online.
- Try augmented reality as a method of learning. This is something truly new, but it’s something students love. It can be a great way to create an immersive learning experience.
- Evaluate your web page again! Auditing your web page is worth every bit of time. Have an expert firm look it over for you once or twice a year if you can.
- Minimalize your ad and content design. Minimalism is a trend. The more on-trend your school is, the more students will want to connect with you. Try paring down your fonts and graphics to match a more modern look.
- Offer online learning options. Students are working more these days, and people are going back to school later. They often need flexible class schedules. Your program can be fully or partially online to encourage enrollment.
- Create public-private partnerships. This is an oldie, but it’s a goodie (as they say). Try partnering with foundations, businesses, and chambers to boost your social presence as a school.
- Use fewer ads overall. Schools can utilize current trends in advertising to keep a modern image. Right now, the trend is less when it comes to advertising.
Sound like a lot? Well, the good news is that you have a lot of options when it comes to marketing higher education! Schools face large challenges in advertising due to budgets and the overall media landscape, which can seem crowded. Our advice is to try a little bit of everything at first until you find something that really works for your school. You never know what that might be until you’ve worked with modern trends and analyzed some data.