Higher education has managed to thrive barely unchanged throughout most of its history. However, institutions are seeing a massive decline in student enrollment in recent years. Somehow, college is no longer considered a requirement for success in modern times. I’m not really surprised, given that these institutions no longer have the high-brow draw of the past. Not to mention, nothing’s appealing about drowning in a sea of debt.
As new environmental pressures threaten the survival of educational institutions, administrators are left with no other choice but to acknowledge that post-secondary education is on the verge of a massive transformation. To survive, colleges and universities must stop resisting these changes. The only way for them to thrive in this new era is to embrace online digital marketing practices to engage the next generations.
Now, let’s find out how higher education can see better days with online marketing.
Video, the New King of Content
Video has long dethroned written content. It’s taken the world by storm. And so far, there’s no indication of video content losing its magic anytime soon. If you’ve yet to use videos to promote your school, you could be missing on a lot of potential ways to engage with your target market.
Much like any organization or business these days, educational institutions need promotional videos to tap into a market that’s as ever evolving as the nature of the modern technologies they follow.
Here are a few reasons why video content is king:
Grabs people’s attention
Compared to blocks of text, a video has a better chance of capturing the attention of your target audience. Using the right platforms, you can even interact with your viewers.
Makes boring stuff sound interesting
Video content is the Hamilton of online marketing. It makes subjects that you usually find tedious sound interesting. Every once in a while, you might even make audiences shed a tear. Videos can paint concepts in colorful ways, making it easier for viewers to grasp the message and retain the information conveyed.
Connects you with your audience
By using website videos to promote your school, your prospects gain a better idea of who you are as an institution and why you do what you do. Everything starts with that personal connection. As you continue to nurture your relationship with your viewers, you should start seeing better numbers.
Reaches anyone from anywhere in the world
Social media videos are on the rise, thanks to platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Now, it’s easier for you to engage audiences from all over the world. And if your video is done well, you won’t have any trouble improving student enrollment.
Top Marketing Trends
Online marketing empowers educational institutions to make their brand visible, trustworthy and engaging in the eyes of students and parents of the modern era. Compared to traditional methods, it’s cost-efficient. It also lets schools reach a wider audience base faster.
1. Influencer marketing
Anyone who spends a few hours a day on social media knows how huge influencer marketing has become. As the internet democratized the global stage, it also helped change who people viewed as role models, and ultimately, influencers in their daily lives.
Influencers are the rock stars of social media. They don’t necessarily have to be celebrities, but their opinions need to matter to your potential market. In higher education institutions, influencers can be social savvy students who are willing to share their unique experiences with the school. Acting as brand ambassadors, they can create content that your target audience will easily relate to and enhance your school’s image.
How to do it
Casually check your student’s social media channels. You can start by looking up keywords relating to your school. You can also reach out to student body leaders, athletes, cheerleaders, and anyone with a huge following on social media. Once you’ve selected candidates, you can ask them if they’re willing to appear on branded website videos. You could also get them to share their experiences with fellow students, whether it’s through Instagram photos or live stream videos on Facebook. When it comes to posting branded content, the more subtle their posts are, the better.
2. Video Marketing
As we’ve established, video marketing is an immensely powerful tool for conveying your brand story, creating relationships with your target audience, and generating new leads. Considering a third of all online activity is now spent on streaming videos, it would be unwise to waste the potential of video content to persuade prospects.
And the best way to do that is to sell with emotion, not just logic.
How to do it
Visitors won’t hesitate to run away from a boring website. But you can encourage them to stay by adding a video. Research shows that the average video viewer stays on a page 6 times longer than in standard sessions. With website videos, visitors are more likely to explore your platform and look for other content. Your videos can focus on major annual school events, from move-in day to campus festivals and commencement ceremonies to give prospects an idea of what it’s like to be part of your school.
You don’t even need to hire a professional video production team to come up with something worthwhile. Your influencers can help create content that target audiences will like.
3. Mobile-first marketing
Nowadays, no matter who you ask, a smartphone would be one of the items a person can’t leave the house without. Studies even prove that the average students check their phones 150 times per day. So, if you want to reach prospects at the best possible time, your marketing strategies need to adopt a mobile-first mentality.
How to do it
You can start by making your website mobile-friendly. From there, you need to consider how all of your online campaigns look like on mobile screens. That means you need to select designs that stand out on smaller displays. You also have to think about improving user experiences. If you want to run targeted ads, place them on platforms that students are most likely to use on their phones such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram.
4. Augmented reality
Have you heard of Pokemon Go? If you have, then you have a little idea about augmented reality. However, there’s more to this immersive tech than chasing Pokemon. Now, you can leverage the same technology that powered the game to create unique experiences for prospects. In the years to come, we’re expecting more and more universities to embrace immersive tech like augmented reality.
How to do it
Creating a new app will take a lot of money and time. An example of this is the University of Washington’s augmented reality app, which lets students explore a 3D model of their $105 million computer science building. For the meantime, you can opt to integrate augmented reality into your campaigns. You can offer virtual campus tours or an interactive map of your campus. Over time, you might even have more applications for AR tech in the classroom setting.
One thing you ought to know about the world of marketing is that it evolves along with the technologies that influence it. Like any other company or organization, higher education institutions must keep up with these trends to remain competitive. To engage with the generation that grew up in an era of new technology, you need to approach them using tactics such as video marketing, augmented reality, influencer marketing, and mobile-first marketing.
So, which of these online marketing methods do you plan on using?
To jumpstart the process of creating an efficient video marketing plan for your business, contact us here.