Higher education is a highly competitive field, with schools competing over both the best students and staff members, as well as partners and funding. Due to the target groups being very diverse and scattered, marketing for higher education can be highly challenging.
In this article, we have compiled our best five tips to utilize digital marketing for higher education.
1. Be social in the right channels
This is especially important for acquiring new students and taking care of your existing ones. Gen Y and Gen Z live and breathe social media, so your school needs to have a strong social media presence.
Remember that the channels in use vary both from country to country, as well as between the generations – Gen Y still uses Facebook and Twitter, while Gen Z is turning towards Snapchat and Instagram.
Just maintaining your own social media accounts isn't always enough, though. Key opinion leaders have a special role in every organizations' marketing strategy, but even more so if the target groups belong to the younger generations. Find the key opinion leaders relevant to your potential students, or find some within your own student body, and work together with them.
2. Personalize and segment like your life depends on it
With so many different target groups to consider, personalizing and segmenting is more important than ever. Nowadays people are used to receiving timely and well-targeted communications, so you need to keep up with the times.
The possibilities for personalizing and segmenting your content are pretty much endless. Here are a few examples on where to start:
- Boost your newsletter open rates by using the recipients' first name in the title.
- Segment your target groups based on their physical location.
- Ask potential students for their interests, so you can send them relevant information about that field.
- Inform alumni about guest lecture possibilities in their field.
- Send personalized information on relevant research projects.
3. Host events
Host exclusive events to your important target groups to keep them engaged and active. You can host events for:
- Networking for alumni and local companies looking to hire.
- Publishing new research.
- Important milestones.
- Announcing a new partnership program.
- Opening a new area of study.
Don't forget to thank your guests! Send them personalized thank-you notes with more information on the event's theme.
4. Be mobile
Being mobile is all the craze nowadays – and no wonder. Mobile usage has been steadily rising for many years now, with exceptionally strong growth in China, Africa and the Middle-East (Cisco).
Especially with Gen Z in mind, investing in mobile friendliness is key. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your website and landing sites are responsive.
- Pay extra attention to the speed of your website.
- Make sure your newsletters are responsive as well.
- Invest in a mobile app for your students.
5. Use video content
We all know the drill: the average human's attention span has shortened and we can't concentrate on anything anymore – except for videos.
Use video content to liven up your marketing strategy and show an honest, truthful image of your school. Use videos in newsletters to boost your open rates, or go live on Instagram or YouTube to give potential students a taste of what it's like to study at your school.
Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line boosts the open rates by 19% (Syndacast).
Keep your content as real and down-to-earth as possible – overly polished advertisements or stock footage can be smelled a mile away.
Hungry for more?
Check out our guide for Digital Marketing for Higher Education for more tips on boosting your marketing actions.