Just like any business, educational institutions have to market their brand. You are competing with other schools in order to attract students, after all.
The following are five effective marketing tips that everyone in the education sector should be leveraging in order to boost enrollment numbers and build their reputation:
1. Use Video Marketing
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how valuable a short video is. People are much more likely to watch a two or three-minute 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. 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 percent 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 level. This is hard to do with written content.
It's 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 ten minute video can make a big impact. There are plenty of things you can create video content for and when you're planning out your content, think about your target audience and answer questions they might have with video content.
- Give a video tour of you admissions office and meet the staff.
- Interview faculty members.
- Answer common new student FAQs.
- Talk to current students about their experience on campus.
- Give an inside look into the hands-on learning parts of your degree programs.
By giving potential students behind the scenes access, they become more comfortable with your school and can begin to see themselves there.
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.
2. Encourage User-Generated Content
Consumers, in general, don't typically trust what a business has to say right away. One way that businesses get around this is by using customer testimonials. The same works for schools. If you can get current and past students to recommend your school, prospective students are much more likely to consider you.
Instead of just getting them to do testimonials, share user-generated content on your social channels, such as Instagram pictures that they've taken on your campus or at sporting events. By engaging current students, staff, and faculty and encouraging them to share content related to their own personal experiences with your school you are leveraging their audiences. This way you'll be in front of eyeballs you wouldn't have access to in your own organic reach.
Be specific and encourage people to share by telling them exactly how and where they can share. Let them know what social platforms you're leveraging and how to tag you in the post. Run contests based on hashtags and pick a random winner from the pool of users who shared content related to your school on their own social accounts. Create school-wide hashtags and vertical-specific hashtags, and even throw in a competitive edge by pitting one program against another (like nurses vs. CNAs) and reward the ones with the most engagement.
3. Take Advantage of Social Media
The first step to a successful social media presence is knowing where your audience is and being there for them. Prospective students are more likely to be on Instagram and Snap Chat, for example, so putting a ton of effort into publishing engaging content on LinkedIn isn't going to have the same impact.
Taking advantage of what social media can do for your marketing is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of task. You want to be organized with publishing goals. Having a content calendar will keep everything in one place and your social media content consistent. If you want to hold space in the social media realm, you have to be consistent. Creating several posts at once (called batching) and scheduling your posts over the coming days or weeks is a great way to keep your social media marketing on track.
You can use social media to provide helpful information about your program, campus, and the community. Post details about upcoming events on and off campus, and re-purpose content you've used elsewhere and tweak it just a little to keep things fresh. Use social media to answer questions from prospective students and even host live Q&As with faculty or with past students who have found success after graduation. You can also host live streams of campus events to generate more interest in your school.
Consider finding social media influencers. These are people who have large social media followings full of people in your target audience. This could include students who are currently enrolled and who are active on social media. You can work with social media influencers who will share your content with their followers to help increase exposure for your school.
4. Create a Mobile Strategy
Assume that pretty much every incoming student is going to check you out on a smartphone. It's important to keep your marketing efforts mobile-friendly, and your site isn't mobile-friendly by default. First and foremost, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. You're in big trouble if you're not since a majority of your target audience will be using their smartphones to surf the web. If you're running ads online, consider platforms that prospective students are most likely to use.
You'll want a site that loads quickly and is user friendly. Your design might look really great, but it may not render well in all formats.
5. Implement Segmented Email Marketing
Email marketing is highly effective. 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.
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.
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.
- Don't stop with just one or two emails, people on average need to see something seven times before they buy.
- Attention-grabbing but short subject lines.
- Organize email message in a scannable way.
- Personalize your message to the recipient.
- Use graphics and visuals-but not too many.
- Re-send the same email to your un-opened list but change the subject line. You can increase your open rate with the same content.
When you work with Neon Goldfish, we get to know you and your school. Our team of marketing experts can 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.