3 Tips for Better Understanding Digital Marketing in Higher Education

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

As a higher education marketer, you're familiar with the changing landscape for reaching prospective students. No longer do high schoolers dig through books at the library to research schools. Nor is meeting with an admissions counselor the first interaction a student has with an institution. Today’s students use the internet, websites, and social media to research and identify the best schools.

Digital marketing is essential to your growth as a higher institution. Here are three ways that you can use these channels to promote your college or university.

1. Generate Qualified Leads

Lead generation is best executed through paid search and remarketing. When a prospect searches for an educational program that you offer, paid search will help place your website at the top of the search results. This way, the prospect will see your school first and visit your website. To achieve these goals, it helps to work with a digital marketing firm. Together, you can put together effective ads with the right messaging and keywords.

Remarketing reaches out to people who have visited your website but didn’t convert. Remarketing is effective in higher education because it takes time for people to convert. By keeping your school front and center during the research phase, you encourage students to re-engage with your programs later in their journey.

2. Increase Student Applications

Your school probably has an application deadline. As prospects engage with your school and take the next steps to fill out a contact form or tour your campus, the last step will be to fill out an application. Either the student is interested in attending your school or not.

It can be difficult to get students to fill out college applications. Factors such as the length of your application, its cost, and its deadline can influence whether or not a prospect completes the process. However, you don’t want to lose great applicants over these factors, which is why digital marketing comes in handy. Use targeted ads, paid search, and social campaigns to prompt students to “Apply Now” or “Get Started”.

3. Increase Brand Awareness

You can also use digital marketing to build brand awareness for your institution. Social media is one of the best tools you have available. Use this platform for content marketing, storytelling, and more. Remember, you are not alone in your social efforts. Reach out to current students and alumni who are happy to share their experiences.

Also, video is a powerful medium for brand awareness. Show prospective students what a day on campus looks like and how they would fit in. All of the content that you create - blogs, videos, images, infographics, testimonials, and alumni news - can be repurposed into other forms of content. This way, you have plenty to share across all social networks.

By using digital marketing to bring in more leads, increase your number of applicants and build brand awareness, you can separate your higher institution from others and put your name at the top of more lists. Better yet, everything you do is measurable so you can make data-driven decisions that are sensible for your school.

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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