The Importance of Paid Search Advertising for Higher Education

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

Today’s students are happy to communicate with your higher institution, but they expect to do so through channels such as social media, email and text messages. The appeal to this type of communication is that it’s convenient. Students don’t need to be free to take your call. They can send you a private message or respond to your email when they’re ready. This opens up many new ways to interact with your school.

A Pay Per Click (PPC) strategy is a great way to position your higher institution in front of the right audience. With PPC, you pay the search engine every time one of your ads is clicked. It can get expensive quickly, especially if you’re bidding on high volume keywords. That said, PPC is part of a competitive higher EDU marketing strategy and can nudge prospects in your direction where you can then nurture your relationships with them.

Why Paid Search Makes the Cut

Here are a few reasons why paid search advertising is instrumental to your online presence.

  • Generates immediate traffic. As a college, you have certain periods to capitalize on. Paid search will complement this enrollment journey. In the spring when you want prospects to find your school, you can use PPC to target the right students. In the winter, you can reach students looking to transfer.

  • Changes appear right away. Organic traffic is great, but it takes time to see results. It also takes time to see the changes you make. With paid search, you can adjust your campaigns so that they match the market conditions and the needs of your audience.

  • You can dominate niche keywords. PPC is more expensive than organic search. But, for the traffic it brings, it can be affordable. The key is to discover the long tail keywords that your school can dominate in. Using these niche phrases, you can drive highly targeted traffic to your site at a lower cost.

Developing a Competitive PPC Strategy

Paid search is only part of your digital marketing strategy, so you can’t rely on it entirely. It does get expensive, and once you stop paying for the real estate, your ads go away. But, you can’t overlook the benefits we listed above.

As you develop a PPC strategy for your higher institution, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Set a realistic budget

  • Find long tail keywords

  • Track conversions over clicks

  • Use good grammar, spelling and language

  • Test your landing pages

  • Test your ad copy

  • Monitor all PPC ads

With 2018 approaching, be sure that paid search is included in your higher EDU marketing strategy. It’s a great way to bring more qualified traffic to your website as the spring enrollment season approaches.

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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