Digital Marketing For Colleges & Universities
UNDERSTANDING STUDENT TENDENCIES AND EMPHASIZING DIGITAL PLACEMENT CAN YEILD INCREDIBLE RESULTS.
Marketing from universities to prospective students is clearly headed in one direction: online enrollment.
Whether the university offers online classes or encourages students to complete their registration online, the emphasis is still the same. Websites are clearly the first step in a prospective student’s decision-making process.
As a result, the search space has become flooded with ads and directories listing “The Best [Insert Program] School.”
It has become a vital part of any college marketing & communications team cut through the digital noise.
Our History With HIGHER EDUCATION
Our work with various higher-ed organizations have given us a robust insight into the typical search patterns for students going through the decision-making process of choosing a school to attend.
Structuring a website to highlight unique amenities, followed by detailed program information leads to repeat visits, and builds a sense of trust of with prospective students.
Best Digital Strategies For HIGHER EDUCATION & UNIVERSITIES
BUILDING RELEVANCY AND AUTHORITY WITH ALL SEARCH ENGINES IS A KEY COMPONENT TO BUILDING TRUST WITH PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS.
If you're apart of an educational institution, you're used to spending time on earning your reputation and attracting prospective students across the nation. It's not typical that you'll pay much attention to your branding and that's ok - that's our job.
As the marketplace becomes more competitive it becomes increasingly important to stand out, to use real quality photo's instead of stock photos, to put out quality marketing material that attracts the right student instead of creating content that could be interchangeable with any other university.
VISUAL BRANDING & PHOTOGRAPHY
We’ve mentioned a few times that there is a search-cycle for prospective students. This trend of visiting a site 7+ times before making a decision to apply spans across all of our work with various institutions – and all the departments within them.
The best way to establish messaging (and effectiveness of messaging) for each point within the student search-cycle is to established granular track for each step. From visiting a program page, to requesting more information, to scheduling a meeting with an advisor. All is trackable!
While appearing for “best of…” searches is a tall order for many university websites, SEO power can be emphasized deeper within the student search process to establish authority.
Most students, later in the the search cycle, will seek out specific program information. That’s where college-site SEO can be most effective. By establishing authority within program-based searches, universities ranking high within search engine results are viewed as the authority for that program.
WEB ANALYTICS & SEARCH ENGINE OPTMIZATION
PAY-PER-CLICK (PPC) ADVERTISING
We have to be honest here, the PPC market for universities (especially online classes) are extremely saturated. This leads to two problems. First, more competitors on a keyword make it harder to cut through the noise on the page. Second, it drives the price-per-click extremely high.
Developing a PPC campaign can certainly create tangible results for an institution. However, budget needs to be robust and targeting needs to be laser-focused to have long-lasting success.
It’s no secret that the target demographic for higher education are some of the most active participants of social media. While having an active social presence is important to cultivate, the strategy should be heeded with caution.
Our data indicates that intent for each platform is a key to success. Most students are not scrolling through Instagram thinking about their college decision. Pushing ads through that platform can come across as forced – especially to this ad-adverse demographic.
Natural content should be emphasized with the intent to promote student lifestyle!
Content development for universities goes hand-in-hand with social marketing. However, the entirety of content marketing encompasses a lot more than just students. It’s alumni news, highlight faculty research, and keeping a fresh look to the homepage for returning site visitors.
Not only is fresh content a key component to a good SEO strategy, new pages often get traction in search engines for question-based or very specific searches. Making the content a new gateway to the website, and hopefully to all the information surrounding the new page.