Marketing for Higher Education can be tricky, especially when you are targeting non traditional university students. The exact definition of non-traditional students is up for debate. In the US, the higher education system defines them as “adult learners,” or students over the age of 25 years returning to college or enrolling for the first time. These are students who couldn’t complete their education along the normal course, due to various circumstances, such as family responsibilities, work, and other factors.
A 2018 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revealed that adult learners between 25 to 34 years are likely to increase by 11% between 2011 and 2026. Over the years, traditional weekend and night schools for adult learners have shifted online. Online settings favored those who had to work for their livelihood, while completing their education.
Modern EdTech tools enabled self-led learning pathways, with a personalized approach. The pandemic further accelerated this trend. For non-traditional course publishers and educators, getting these students back to their virtual classrooms is now a key focus, as the economy reopens. Here are some tips to promote such courses online.
Know Your Students Well
The face of non-traditional classrooms has changed over the years. Students represent various ethnicities, age groups, and socioeconomic backgrounds. For instance, 1 in 5 undergraduates in colleges today are parents, and 70% of them are single mothers. Your website content and its messaging should be crafted keeping such statistics in mind. Remember, high cost of non-tuition expenses like childcare, transportation, and housing can leave little option for these students, especially as unemployment has been high post-pandemic in the US. Keep your content sensitive to such issues.
Ensure that your marketing materials have a warm, open, and friendly tone, and that it helps prospective and existing students discover ways to pay for their courses easily.
Geotargeting Can Help Drive Campaign Results
Geotargeting can increase the success of paid search campaigns of higher education institutions. If you are targeting enrolment from a particular community, you can ensure that your messaging is absolutely on point, rather than addressing a huge audience and not speaking to anyone in particular. You can use this strategy to reach new areas where you would like to drive brand awareness.
Keep Your Website Easy to Navigate
Regardless of how computer literate people are today, websites that provide easy access to information, with intuitive navigation will ensure a better user experience. Use experience plays a vital role in whether the individual stays on your site to learn more or moves on to another website that appears more interesting or easier to navigate. Look out for intimidating processes such as complex forms, financial aid information, and lengthy applications.
At the same time, keep in mind that they might be already apprehensive about accessing online classes. Platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom can seem intimidating. Your content needs to communicate the flexibility of such platforms. You can create blog articles, how-to-do videos, and more to explain the technology. Testimonials from alumni and job placement numbers will be highly valued too. Lastly, use call to action buttons strategically to encourage further conversations or personal interactions with supportive admin personnel.
It may take some time to engage with non-traditional students, so keep all communication channels open. This includes email, phone, texts, and even social media. About 40% of undergraduates and 76% of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week. Your website must be mobile-friendly to be able to reach them on the go too. Learn more about Digital marketing in the Educational industry today.
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