In a country where nearly every adult—and almost every teenager—is on the internet on a daily basis, even higher education institutions can’t afford to ignore the long shadow cast by the online world. If you want to learn how to market to college students—and to parents of college students, for that matter—effective branding and smart strategizing are no less important than they are for any other business or organization.
Crafting a successful online promotional strategy presents different challenges for colleges and universities than it does for other businesses and organizations, however. If you are working on an internet marketing campaign for a university, here are the answers to a few of the questions that are most likely to be on your mind.
Why is Online Marketing Important for Your Student Enrollment Strategy?
Being engaged with your university’s online presence means that you have the power to shape how that institution is perceived. That’s why visibility, branding, and effective communications all have a critical role to play in increasing student enrollment. A 2015 survey found that no fewer than 60 percent of all high school seniors were “more likely to consider” higher education institutions that made use of email, social media, texting, and other digital marketing features to communicate with students.
How Can Universities Use Social Media for Marketing?
For students, social media isn’t just a casual diversion—it’s central to how they perceive themselves, how they talk to each other, and how they relate to the world. Social media can be a place to ask questions, to connect with instructors and counselors, to share alumni stories, and to feel connected to a community 24/7. Making strategic use of blogs, online polls, hashtags, and other features is a must if you want to position your institution as relevant, engaged, and interconnected.
How Should Universities Market Their Programs Online?
One of the continuing challenges that universities and colleges face is how to promote their programs in a visible and engaging way. Your approach should begin with creating an accessible, easy-to-navigate website with lucid and succinct explanations of every program. You can expand on that by promoting your programs strategically on your blog, on social media, through email, and across any other outlets that are open to you.
How Can Universities Market to Parents?
To be truly effective, your university can’t just focus on marketing to your prospective students—you need to be addressing their parents’ questions and concerns as well. Your online branding should be framed to impress parents with the variety of your programs, the opportunities that students stand to gain from their education, and the value of a degree. But you can also use email and even social media to communicate more effectively with parents and help to shape their decisions during the application process.
How Can Blogging Help Promote a University?
Blogging is one of the most effective tools for driving your website higher in search rankings, so it should be a well-nurtured part of your marketing strategy. High-quality blogs can be used to inform your students—and their parents—about your programs and courses, along with helping to build recognition of your institution’s various resources. It’s a tried-and-true method—according to one study, more than two-thirds of all higher education institutions in the U.S. have official blogs.
What Can You Do to Market Your University More Effectively?
One of the most important steps you can take to increase the value of your online marketing campaign is to improve your content. If you’re looking for a simpler and more consistent way to do that, consider connecting with an outside content creation company. When you have a steady source of dependable, polished content, you’ll be able to focus on the larger picture—including establishing a distinctive voice, choosing audience segments to target, and deciding what direction you want to take your campaign in next.
If you’re looking for a new direction for your online content, it’s time to partner with the team at Pennington Creative. We are highly responsive to feedback, and we offer all the resources you need to sharpen your approach to your school’s digital marketing campaign, from custom blog copy to social media updates. If you’d like to get the answers to your questions about how to market your university, contact us today.