Digital marketing for colleges
INSPIRE WITH POTENTIAL.
INTRIGUE WITH FLEXIBILITY.
CAPTURE WITH LIFESTYLE.
The attention of the average prospective student is strained. Their life saturated with mailers, billboards, commercials, and every digital ad space occupied by a different university.
Each college marketing around a different variation of the same tone-deaf message, "Join Us & Reach Your Potential."
Of course, students want to benefit from their college experience, but the missing element is students want to impact their college experience.
Finding ways to engage with prospective students is key to capturing their interest, and more importantly, their application.
Our Experience With
Our work with colleges & universities has been focused on driving more applications for in-person and online-only classes.
Providing digital strategies from website design, SEO, social media, and public relations have all contributed to expanding the reach and number of applications for colleges of all sizes.
Frequently asked questions
about digital marketing for Colleges
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO DRIVE MORE APPLICATIONS ONLINE?
There is no simple, straightforward answer to this question. If there were an easy way to build an online presence for your college to drive more applications, everyone would be doing it.
Driving more applications is about creating a lifestyle in its most simple form. The biggest hurdle for many colleges is that the best online profiles don't take themselves too seriously. Initially, the strategy seems counterintuitive, but your online persona doesn't have to match your other marketing materials.
HOW DO I ADVERTISE OUR UNIVERSITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Many colleges simply resort to the tactic of paid social ads. The ability to detail target prospective students, instantly get visibility and get a cache of data seems alluring. However, most of the target market for universities is "ad-averse." They instantly block out any paid promotion.
The most impactful tactic, from our experience, has been utilizing current students at the college to create content on behalf of the university. This style of content adds a bit of authenticity and allows you to showcase the lifestyle of a student, not just marketing fluff.
HOW IMPORTANT IS DIGITAL MARKETING TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?
Being active in the digital space is not only important - it's vital. The attention of prospective students (and most of us) is consumed by the digital realm.
Since consumption of digital content is so high (and growing) it's a necessary tactic to be present and active in social media and search. That's just to start. The best colleges market themselves through display ads, sponsored content, and organic content creation.
A robust digital marketing strategy is the only way to increase applications in our modern era.
HOW COMPETITIVE IS THE DIGITAL MARKETING SPACE FOR COLLEGES?
Extremely. Often, high-value search keywords are upwards of $20 per click. The market is saturated with options for prospective students, and with the flexibility of online classes, options are in abundance.
Ensuring that your college is in play is one piece of the puzzle. Being present gives you a competitive edge, but your digital marketing strategy should focus on differentiating yourself from the competition with unique, compelling messaging. Marketing fluff will get you nowhere.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY FOR MY UNIVERSITY TO STAND OUT ONLINE?
There are two key components to standing out online. First, is your messaging. We like to differentiate between "Marketing Fluff" and "Real Conversation." Marketing fluff is generic, abstract, and used by a vast majority of colleges online. Real conversations speak directly to prospective students - using their language.
Second, imagery is key to grabbing the attention of students. Showcasing a beautiful campus and state-of-the-art buildings is nice, but what resonates with prospective students is the lifestyle they will embrace if they decide to attend your college.
The Best university
College is a social experience. There is no better way to showcase the social environment of your university (even for online-only programs) than social media platforms.
Developing a distinct social voice, one that's less formal, is vital to the success of any digital marketing strategy for universities.
M&P always recommends utilizing current students to create authentic content that's less polished than the typical marketing assets for colleges.
The lifestyle of your students is just as important a factor in the decision-making process as the programs your college offers.
Students want to impact their college experience, build friendships, and expand their knowledge all at once.
The photography you showcase on the college website and marketing materials should be an emblem of what the typical student can expect when they decide to attend your college.
Just as important to capturing the attention of prospective students, is being present when they are seeking out your programs.
Search engines offer the best place to garner visibility into your college's offerings and program benefits.
As we mentioned in the FAQ, paid search (PPC) is often expensive with a poor conversion rate. SEO is a way to naturally rank highly within the search engines.
This naturally high ranking lets students know your are the authority in that specific field of study.