Nearly 70% of businesses struggle to generate website traffic and leads. Without a strong university marketing strategy, you might struggle, too. If you want to boost enrollment this year, you need to use the best marketing strategies available.
Here are 13 effective higher education marketing strategies you can try. With these tips, you can boost awareness, engagement, and enrollment. As more people become aware of your university, you can take the lead!
Boost your college enrollment this year! Get started with these 13 effective university marketing tips today.
1. Gather Research
Generic content and messing can scare potential students away. In fact, over 80% of people want to be treated like a person, not a number. Another 74% get frustrated when website content has nothing to do with their interests.
Using personalization throughout these marketing strategies can help.
In fact, 98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships. Another 90% of consumers are more likely to convert after a personalized experience.
Personalization can deliver eight times the ROI on marketing spend, too.
To avoid treating every potential student like a number, learn more about them! The research you gather can help you make more informed choices. Otherwise, your marketing messaging will have a broad approach.
You might struggle to appeal to certain people and prospective students as a result.
First, determine who you’re trying to reach through your college marketing strategy. Maybe you want to focus on students versus parents. You can break those two categories down further.
For example, not every college student has recently graduated high school. You might want to make a strategy for older, returning students.
Perhaps you need different messaging for parents who have helped children with college enrollment in the past.
To gather the information you need, segment your audience into personas based on psychographics and demographics. These can include:
- College major
- Household income
- Buying behaviors
- Pain points
Create a distinct persona for each group. Imagine that prospect as a real person. Then, determine how they speak. Speaking their language could help you appeal to your audience.
Take the time to gather keyword research for each group, too. What keywords do they use during a Google search? You can use Google Trends, Keyword Planner, and Ahrefs to gather a list of target keywords.
This research can help you develop unique, effective marketing strategies with your audience in mind.
2. Establish Goals
It’s not enough to research your target audience, though. If you want to develop the best marketing strategies, consider your goals. Establishing your goals early on can help you determine what you need to accomplish those goals.
Otherwise, you might choose university marketing strategies that fail to help you accomplish those goals.
Get Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Driven, and Timely (SMART). For example, maybe you want to increase college enrollment by 20% before the next semester. Then, determine how you’ll accomplish that goal.
You can update your website, then use search engine optimization to attract more visitors. Other goals might focus on:
- Becoming a thought leader
- Generating more brand awareness and recognition
- Building brand trust and loyalty
- Generating social media followers
- Booting email open rates
- Directing more people to your blog
Once you determine your goals, you can set a key performance indicator (KPI) for each college marketing strategy. For example, you can track:
- Website visitors
- Form submissions
- Phone calls to the admissions office
- Blog comments
- Social media followers
- Online enrollment
Establishing SMART goals and KPIs can help you track your progress as you use these higher education marketing strategies. Split each goal into smaller goals and establish deadlines for each benchmark. If you’re not meeting your benchmarks, it’s time to adjust your marketing strategy.
As you start using the strategies mentioned below, make sure to establish a goal and KPI for each one before you get started.
3. Determine Brand Guidelines
Before creating branded materials for your university marketing strategy, make sure you establish brand guidelines. Brand guidelines will keep everyone on your team on the same page. Otherwise, brand inconsistency could impact your overall marketing strategy.
About 70% of marketers say consistent branding is the most important thing when communicating with existing customers. Another 63% say brand consistency can impact whether or not they close a deal. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of businesses don’t have brand guidelines.
You could risk confusing prospective students. They might see different branding on different marketing channels and think you’re a different college.
Instead, establish every element of your brand before using these marketing strategies.
Developing brand guidelines can help you create a cohesive omnichannel experience. Prospective students can move from one channel to the next, seeing your brand. Brand awareness and recognition will grow.
When they’re thinking about higher education options, they’ll recall seeing your visual brand.
Your branding can include elements like your:
- Vision and mission statements
- Color scheme
- Imagery styles
- Font styles
Consider your values as well. If you make promises to your prospective and current students, make sure to keep them.
Think of your university as a real person with a real voice. What would they look and sound like? How would that person appeal to prospective students?
Establishing your brand guidelines can make the rest of these marketing strategies more effective. It can help develop brand trust and loyalty with your current students, too.
Once you establish your branding, you can use it throughout the rest of your college marketing strategy.
4. Update Your Website
Before developing content for your marketing strategy, look at your college website. A fast, well-designed website can help you boost conversions. A slow, outdated website could scare prospective students away.
Make sure to update your website so it’s fast and easy to use. Creating a positive user experience (UX) can encourage people to explore your content.
A better UX can support marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, too. Otherwise, your search engine ranking could drop. Your cost-per-click could grow more expensive as well.
About two out of three people prefer beautifully designed content. Design has a 75% influence on your credibility, too. Meanwhile, slow websites lose $2.6 billion in revenue every year.
About 88% of consumers won’t return to a website after a bad experience. In other words, you have one chance to make a strong first impression.
First, make sure to update your website with your new, established brand guidelines. Include your logo at the top of every page. Make sure there’s cohesion as people move from one page to the next.
Then, run your website through Google’s PageSpeedInsights. Make sure there’s nothing slowing your site down. Make sure your site is mobile optimized using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Make sure to fix any broken links on your site. Update the navigation, too. These steps will make sure people can explore your content.
Improve readability by using shorter sentences and paragraphs. Organize your text using headings and subheadings. You can also use bullets and lists to make your content easy to skim through.
If you notice issues with your website, work with a digital marketing agency. Their web design and development services can update your site with the UX in mind. Talk to them about Google’s Core Web Vitals, too.
5. Create High-Quality Content
Once you have a fast, eye-catching website to work with, create fresh content for it!
High-quality, informative blog content can help you better engage your target audience. You can show prospective students and parents you can answer their questions. People will keep coming back to your website for more information.
Informative content can also establish your credibility. People will trust you for the help they need.
Use your keyword research to determine what questions your prospective students are asking online. Then, create content that helps answer those questions.
Try different forms of content, including:
- Articles/blog posts
- Videos (tours, how-to/tutorials, testimonials, interviews, etc.)
- Live content
- Case studies
Use your content marketing to show off your school! Give people a guided tour of the institution and behind-the-scenes content. You can even use live content to leverage the fear of missing out.
You can also create different types of videos. For example, you can interview faculty members about their experience at your school. Consider asking current students to leave a video message for your prospective students.
As you develop your content, make sure to follow your brand guidelines.
6. Establish EAT
As you create your website content, make sure to establish EAT. EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. EAT can help build your credibility online.
You can establish EAT by:
- Demonstrating your experience and expertise
- Generating backlinks
- Backing up claims using research and statistics
- Adding reviews and social proof to your site
- Adding author biographies to posts
Establishing EAT throughout your posts can support your SEO strategy.
7. Optimize With SEO
Search engine optimization can improve where your college’s website rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs). A higher ranking will position you in front of more prospective students. With SEO, you can:
- Attract more traffic to your website
- Boost brand awareness and recognition
- Establish your credibility as a thought leader
- Build brand trust and loyalty
- Increase online leads
Nearly 70% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Unfortunately, 0.78% of searchers don’t look beyond the first page. If you’re not ranking ahead of competitors, you’re likely not reaching prospective students.
You can use SEO by updating your web pages and content with target keywords. Choose a single keyword for each page. Then, sprinkle in synonyms and related, secondary keywords.
You can work with an experienced SEO agency to get started. As you create more optimized content, your ranking can improve.
8. Consider PPC
Pay-per-click advertising allows you to create eye-catching digital ads. These ads can appear on Google, other websites, or on social media. Creating PPC ads can help you build brand awareness.
It can also help you attract more people to your college’s website.
You can use target keywords or demographics to determine who your ads will appear in front of. Then, you can direct those people to a landing page on your website.
Use remarketing, too. Remarketing ads will reappear in front of previous visitors. You could have a second chance to boost college enrollment on your site.
9. Nurture With Email
Add a form to your website and encourage people to sign up for your email newsletter. Then, send them your latest content. Email marketing can help you nurture leads.
You can provide them with additional information before directing them back to your college enrollment web page.
8. Stay Social
Social media marketing can help you remain top-of-mind with your audience. Share your latest web content. Use contests to keep people engaged, too.
Posting your website content on social media can help you direct more people to your website.
9. Host a Contest
Hosting fun contests can help you boost engagement. It can also help you remain top-of-mind with prospects.
Make sure to choose a prize people actually want.
10. Work With Influencers
About 90% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective. With influencer marketing, you’ll connect with someone your audience already trusts. Then, you can leverage that existing brand trust to build your own.
Consider working with some of your current students to create an influencer marketing strategy. You can also use user-generated content (UGC) on your social media accounts.
11. Use Mobile Marketing
As you use these marketing strategies, don’t forget to stay mobile.
First, make sure your website is mobile optimized. Then, use geotargeting to message students who arrive for a tour. You can also use text message marketing.
Make sure your marketing messages are short and personable.
12. Gather Reviews
Happy reviews can boost brand trust. You can show prospective students that current students love your institution.
Consider creating video testimonials. You can put a face and voice to your reviews.
Otherwise, direct students to your Google My Business page. Positive reviews can benefit your SEO strategy, too.
13. Check the Trends
Once you start using these university marketing strategies, make sure to track the trends. New digital marketing trends pop up constantly.
For example, Instagram Reels could benefit your social media marketing strategy. Google changes its search algorithm constantly, too. You can appear for featured snippets to boost your ranking.
Higher Enrollment: 13 Marketing Strategies You Don’t Want to Miss
Boosting college enrollment doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, give these 13 strategies a try. With these marketing strategies, you can boost brand awareness and attract more prospects.
Then, you can use your amazing website to convert those prospects into new students.
Need help boosting college enrollment this year? Put the best marketing strategies to work!
Contact us today to get started.