Just like any business, educational institutions have to market their brand. You are competing with other schools in order to attract students, and you have a lot of value to offer. Your staff and faculty want every student to succeed, you have diversity in the programs you provide, and you’re hoping to boost enrollment by highlighting some of these things.
But is that setting you apart?
Who are you marketing to right now?
If your efforts are only focused on shouting into the online abyss about your great school with great programs, you’re not focused enough on what potential students need from an education program like yours.
They want to know how they can be successful through and after your program. They already know why they want to go to school, they might know what they want to be, but they don’t know why they should go to your school.
It sounds pretty straightforward until you realize you have to figure out how to make them want to enroll in your school. Let’s take a closer look at five effective marketing tips that everyone in the education sector can leverage to boost enrollment numbers and build an online presence that converts.
1. Understand Your Potential Students
Before you do anything, you must understand the ideal student you want to attract to your school. Not every single person with a pulse is a strong candidate to enroll in one of your programs.
You want students excited about the field of study they choose. You want students who will be engaged with the coursework, fellow students, and the faculty. You want students who will complete your program and go on to succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
These ideal students share a lot of common attributes. They share similar pain points and challenges. They share similar goals.
You have to ask yourself:
- What are those pain points they share?
- What are those similar goals?
- What do you provide that speaks to these things?
Once you know and understand the ideal potential student you want to attract, your marketing will become more focused and produce more quality opportunities.
2. Create a Message They Care About
The words you use in your marketing messages matter… a lot.
These words make or break first impressions and quickly turn a potential student into someone who really wants to learn more about your school or someone who is going to check out some other options and might be back.
Your marketing messaging must align with goals and address pain points or challenges.
Sure, you can share all about your approachable staff, convenient class schedule, online options, and track-record for success, but a lot of those items are going to be expected.
What makes you different from every other school?
How can you help them get what they want?
If you speak to what is causing them to seek furthering their education with actionable benefits that solve or soften the pain points they are experiencing, you’ve hooked them. They want to know more about how you can help them achieve their goals.
Skip the vanilla messaging and get straight to the point. Your marketing message needs to speak to them in a way that shows you understand, and you have a solution.
3. Use Video Marketing
Video increases brand awareness. Video helps generate more quality leads.
People prefer to watch videos to learn more about everything.
If you are not using video in your current marketing strategy, it is time to consider putting something together.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how valuable a short video is.
People are much more likely to watch a short video than they are to read a blog post. They're also more likely to finish watching a video than they are to finish reading a blog post. This is not a recommendation to abandon writing blog posts. Blogging is a key element to a lot of well-rounded marketing strategies. Including a short video along with your blog content, like you see in this post, enhances your content by providing a second medium to consume it. The simple fact is humans are visual creatures, which means they absorb visual content much more effectively. According to Optinmonster, those who use videos in their marketing strategy get an average of 66% more qualified leads per year. Optinmonster also concluded that video marketers can achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness and a staggering 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer from a marketing video they published on social media.
The power of video marketing is evident– the same study shows that 96% of people turn to videos to learn more about a brand.
Video marketing is extremely effective because it makes it much easier to show off your school's personality, thereby allowing viewers to connect with you more successfully, which will enable you to engage with them on a more personal and real level. This is hard to do with written content.
Not only do people like videos, but it's super easy for people to consume video content in today's world.
Younger people watch videos on their smartphones on a daily basis-and this is your target audience. Fortunately, filming and producing video content isn't all that difficult either. Cell phones have great cameras, and even a 60 second video can make a big impact.
There are plenty of things you can create video content for and when you're planning out what to film, think about your target audience and answer questions they might have when you write out your video script.
Consider shooting a video tour of the school, interview members of your faculty, answer common questions new students have, and go through the admissions process step-by-step.
These are just some ideas to get your creativity flowing. The possibilities are endless.
By giving potential students behind the scenes access, or answering some common questions and introducing them to your facility in a more personal way, they become more comfortable with your school and can begin to see themselves there even before they step foot on campus.
Videos also lend well to keeping people on your pages, and that increases your site dwell-time, which is the amount of time a prospective student stays on a page. High dwell-times tell search engines you have content worth seeing. They will take notice and your site will rank better for it.
4. Segment Your Database to Send Effective Messages
Email marketing is highly effective, but every contact in your CRM is not at the same point in the buying cycle or interested in the same things.
So, why send everyone the same message?
The more data points you have on contacts in your CRM, the more focused you can get your marketing messages.
Start by identifying how you want to segment your students in your CRM.
Are they a prospective student, current student, or an alumni?
Have an organized approach. It's not very professional to send alumni and current students emails about enrolling-that message doesn't apply to them. You wouldn't want to send massage school students information about what's going on in the nursing program, and you want your message to be clear and relevant to what the recipient's goals are.
What program are they interested in?
Have they completed a tour but not yet filled out an application?
Are they still discovering your brand? Or have they had a tour, understand your programs, and are ready to enroll? Segment your messages to create a personalized connection.
This is where the value of an organized CRM shows its worth.
All of this information can ensure the communications you send fits who and where they are rather than a one-size-fits-all boring update that no one really cares about.
When sending out emails to students on your email list, you want to convince them to go to your school. Sending a generic email that you're sending everyone isn't going to help do this. Instead, segment your email list so you can send more personalized emails. Use the information they supply when opting in, and segment your list accordingly so they all receive relevant content of value.
A couple more things about email marketing:
- Don't stop with just one or two emails, people on average need to see something seven times before they buy.
- Use attention-grabbing but short subject lines.
- Organize email messages in a scannable way.
- Personalize your message to the recipient.
- Use graphics and visuals-but not too many.
- Resend the same email to your unopened list but change the subject line. You can increase your open rate with the same content. What do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing. And it will take you five minutes, and your potential to convert someone new just increased.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Numbers don’t lie and making decisions based on your gut might have led to some success in the past but should not be your only method of measurement.
Determine what success looks like. What are the marketing KPIs that drive enrollment?
Make sure you have the ability to track progress. Automate as much of this as possible to remove manual processes that will definitely lead to inefficiencies.
Review these KPIs on a regular basis to spot areas you are doing well in and areas that need some attention.
Taking the Next Step
Of course, this list is not the end-all, be-all of marketing strategies but think about how you can leverage these 5 ideas into your marketing strategy.
What are you already doing well?
Which of them could you focus on a little more?
Digging deeper into your marketing strategy by creating trust and authority, sharing ways that show your authenticity, and monitoring the progress of your efforts will allow you to hone in on your ideal prospective students even more, and that will only lead to...well...more leads.
Chances are you already have your marketing in places where prospective students can see it, but getting them to stop and look takes a little bit of focused planning. These things aren’t hard to do, but they do take some time and effort to implement and organize. By utilizing these techniques, you’ll understand what marketing efforts work and what ones don’t, and your diligence will be well worth it as you continue to build on your brand.
Our marketing approach can help you make a lasting impression on your ideal prospects. We know you’ll find success in implementing the strategies we’ve shared here. If you feel like these are great tips but you don’t have the time to do it all yourself, we can help create a customized marketing plan built around your unique marketing message.
When you work with Neon Goldfish, we get to know you and your school, and we leverage your marketing efforts to boost your enrollment. Find out how you can improve your online marketing strategy by contacting us at Neon Goldfish today.