With such a large number of postsecondary choices available to students, todays higher education market is more competitive and challenging to navigate than ever before. It is well established that prospective students start their research online, so why not meet them where they are?  A smart digital marketing strategy can be impactful and provide a tailored approach that inspires your future students to choose your institution.   

Plotting out your Digital Marketing Strategy 

Reaching prospective students online in an impactful way requires a tailored approach to the incoming students media habits. 

Live videos

Most millennials would rather spend money on an experience than buying something decadent or desirable. To put simply: They value experiences more than items.  Live videos are a great way to interact and connect with millennials as it allows viewers to immediately engage with current events.  

Live streaming can drive interaction with those potential students in that valuable “right hereright now” moment by showcasing your schools’ events, lectures and other creative content. 

Snapchat 

not merely a popular social app, with 6 million Canadian Millennials Snapchatting daily, it offers superior ad formats and provides a dynamic interaction with your potential students.   

Schools can create their own geo filter that allows students to use it when they are on the campus or at specific events. These types of filters appear on the user’s display allowing them to get a closer look at the real life of that school. Snapchat opens a door to show the unique personality of the school and create a connection with current students, prospective students as well as help them keep in touch with alumni. 

Google Ads 

You’ve likely heard that paid Google Ads can be uber competitive and costly, but the truth is that in the current market, turning your back on this potentially lucrative form of advertising is simply not an option. Finding ways to overcome the inherent hurdles and execute on a PPC campaign with a healthy return is possible by utilizing newer features with Google Ads.   

Remember, you’re not trying to attract huge volumes of clicks. You’re trying to get clicks from intention-rich users. Thus, specific, subject-related keywords are of much greater value than generic terms.  

 What if you could make your Google Ads campaigns as powerful as in-person recruitment meetings? Google’s Responsive Search ads adapt your content to closely match potential students’ search terms and their intents which can improve your campaign’s performance. 

Webinars 

Webinars should be a vital component of your higher education student enrollment strategy. These can expand the ways prospective students can experience your college in a more personal, engaging manner than written material.  Students and teachers can host your webinars to appeal to all audiences. You can record and offer your webinars on-demand on your university website.  

SEO 

Optimizing the key pages within your website for search engines is crucial. The majority of prospective students use Google as the number one way to complete their post-secondary research. Is your school coming up on page one of their search results or on page 20? Chances are, if your institution isn’t on page one it’s going to be difficult for future students to find you.  

But even beyond optimizing for your home page and program pages, you need to have a solid SEO strategy around your entire site – including your blog. While your website pages may remain mostly static, each new blog post is an opportunity to drive SEO with new keywords you haven’t yet tried. Test out long tail keywords to drive more quality traffic to your site and ensure that content provides value to the prospective student.

Content Marketing 

Content marketing, or “inbound marketing,” relies not on pushing out marketing messages about your institution and hoping students will respond, but on providing the relevant, timely content your audiences seek in order to endear them to your university. Provide them with content that they actually want to read – that inspires them to take action.  Rather than focusing solely on trumpeting your institution’s accolades, supply them with advice, tips and emotionally appealing content that they’ll want to bookmark and share. 

Dynamic Content

How many times has Netflix recommended just the right TV show for you to binge-watch? Dynamic content is web content that can be changed based on information the publisher has about the person viewing it.  To create dynamic content for your school, you will need a platform capable of doing it. Many marketing automation systems, such as HubSpot offer dynamic content functionality. 

You can create dynamic content that will appeal to prospects at different stages of the enrolment journey. Think of the people who are discovering your school for the first time, potential applicants who have already made inquiries, applicants considering whether to enrol – you want the audience to read the content in large numbers. 

Plotting out your Digital Marketing Strategy  In Summary 

Millennials tend to choose brands that have a clear voice, character and are creative. With today’s technologies, social media platforms and apps there are endless ways colleges and universities could promote their school and programs, as well as show their personality to prospective students.   

The days of focusing solely on traditional marketing are no more. Students want genuine and authentic relationships with their college before enrolling. A higher education marketing strategy that focuses on the strategies we’ve mentioned here does exactly that. 

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Jackie Patton