Are you struggling to reach prospective students and boost enrollment this year? The pandemic has caused a lot of challenges for higher education institutions. In fact, marketers are struggling to engage customers in real-time, create cohesion, and innovate. 

Don’t fall in with the crowd! Instead, use these 2021 marketing tips for higher education institutions. With these marketing tips, you can reach more students than ever before.

Instead of falling behind the trends, you can get leagues ahead. Students will recognize you’re in-the-know and what to learn more about your institution.

Get ready to start enrolling a rush of new students with these marketing tips today!

1. Establish Your Brand

Before you start marketing your higher education institution, it’s important to recognize who you are. Students won’t differentiate you from other institutions otherwise. You need to establish a distinctive brand before you start marketing.

Otherwise, you might struggle to use these higher education marketing tips.

Remember, marketers find it challenging to create a cohesive experience for their target audience. By focusing on your brand, you can unit the rest of these marketing tips under one strategy.

Establish a set of brand guidelines for your entire marketing team to follow. Your brand should include visual components, such as your:

  • Logo
  • Color scheme
  • Font style
  • Imagery/photography style

Consider your brand’s personality, tone, and voice as well. What about your vision and mission statements?

As you start marketing your institution, think of your brand as a real person. How would they speak? What do they look like?

Use distinctive elements when determining your brand to ensure you stand out from other institutions. Otherwise, you could fade into the background. 

A distinct, consistent brand can help you build brand awareness and recognition. Students will see your marketing materials and recognize you on sight. Then, you can start building trust and loyalty.

Consider your institution’s values as well. What promises are you making students? Keep those promises in mind as you use the rest of these tips.

2. Know Your Audience

Now that you know who you are, take a moment to consider your target audience. Learn as much as you can about your current students to determine who you’re targeting.

Understand their online behaviors, wants, and needs. What are students hoping to hear from your marketing messages? You can use that information to start personalizing your marketing.

Personalization can make it easier for you to communicate with students. You can connect with them on an emotional level.

Otherwise, prospective students might ignore your messaging. Your content and ads might sound too generic and fail to meet their needs.

As you start using these higher education marketing tips, focus on delivering student-centered messaging. Keep your messages focused on your students (not your institution). You don’t need to tell students why your campus is special.

Instead, help students recognize how they would fit in. Show them the life they could find on your campus.

Are you switching to more virtual education experiences this year? Show students the rewards of virtual learning. Use testimonials from real students and case studies.

Focusing on student life will help them see the value you have to offer.

In light of recent events, more campuses are embracing diversity this year as well. Your students have unique experiences and backgrounds. There’s no such thing as a “traditional student.”

Instead, segment your target audience. Create different campaigns for each segment. Then, use personalization to connect with each group.

3. Update With UX

Your website is an important component of your entire marketing campaign. Without a strong website, students might never find you online. 

Take the time to update your website with ease and experience in mind.

Use Google Analytics to determine where visitors are dropping off. What’s causing people to leave? What parts of your website are frustrating?

Each time someone leaves without clicking around, you’re losing a potential student. Meanwhile, your search engine ranking could drop, making it more difficult for students to find you.

A better user experience (UX) can increase conversion rates by up to 400%.

You can improve your website’s UX by:

  • Speeding up your page load times
  • Organizing text with headings and subheadings
  • Organizing your navigation
  • Using easy-to-read fonts
  • Using lists and bullets
  • Optimizing your website for mobile devices
  • Fixing broken links

Explore every page on your website. Make sure your forms are easy to use and pages are easy to read. Ensure it’s easy for prospective students to find the information they’re looking for. 

4. Step Up Search

Over 90% of activities online begin with a search engine. Unfortunately, over 75% of people don’t click beyond the first page. If your high education institution doesn’t appear on the first page, you’re not reaching prospective students. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you reach more students than ever. In fact, over 50% of website traffic starts on a search engine. Leads from SEO are eight more times to convert than those from ads. 

You can start using SEO by completing thorough keyword research.

What keywords are prospective students using to find your institution? Which keywords and phrases have high search volume and low competition?

You can use tools like Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and SEMRush to get started.

As you develop your list of keywords, you can start creating high-quality content for each topic.

Google’s search engine algorithm changes throughout the year. It’s important to keep up with the trends to improve and maintain your rankings. Otherwise, other institutions could reach the top of the page before you can.

5. Craft Engaging Content

Content creation will help support your SEO efforts. You can create different forms of content, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Polls
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys

Make sure your content is easy to read and consume. You can even reformat one post into another. For example, you can take a lengthy blog post full of data and turn it into an infographic.

Infographics are eye-catching and easy to digest. You can use them to present complex data in a way that’s easier to absorb. As you create infographics, make sure to let the visuals communicate for you.

You can use eBooks and other downloadable forms of content to generate more email subscribers. Offer a helpful tool to your website visitors in exchange for their emails. Once they subscribe, you can keep them up-to-date with what’s happening at your university.

Don’t forget the power of videos! Like infographics, videos are easy to consume and engaging. You can use videos to keep people on your website longer. The longer people stay and click around, the better for your ranking.

By this year, video content will account for 80% of all internet traffic.

Experiment with different video styles, such as campus tours, faculty interviews, student testimonials, and more. Keep your videos short while ensuring they help prospective students learn more about your campus. 

As you create this fresh, engaging content, don’t forget to optimize it for SEO!

6. Consider PPC

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows higher education institutions to create digital ads on social media and search engines. You can use tools like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to get started.

These ads can appear based on demographics or keywords you want to target. For example, students might search “college campus near me” and see your text ad on Google. Your ads can also appear as animations, videos, or still images.

Each time someone clicks on one of your ads, you’ll have to pay. The cost of each click can vary based on the keywords you’re targeting.

Consider creating ads on Instagram that look like Instagram posts. People get tired of advertising language. Instead, you can use eye-catching images to generate more clicks.

Try remarketing ads, too. Remarketing banner ads can boost brand awareness. They’ll also give you a second chance with people who previously visited your website.

Prospective students who click on your ads can visit your website and learn more about your campus.

7. Engage Using Email

Email marketing can help you keep prospective and current students up-to-date. 

Make sure to segment your email subscription lists. Remember, subscribers want content that’s personalized based on their needs. Personalization can help you improve the UX and boost engagement.

You can use automation to improve your campaigns, too. Emails will automatically send based on how people behave on your website.

There are plenty of free email marketing tools online that can help you get started. 

8. Start Getting Social

As you use these higher education marketing tips, keep your target audience’s behaviors in mind. Where are they spending their time? Chances are, plenty of your prospective students are on social media.

Use social media to showcase current campus life. Help prospective students imagine their own life at your campus. You can show off the grounds, student achievements, sporting events, and more. 

Start live streaming as well. Live feeds will help you leverage the fear of missing out. People will want to see your content before it disappears. 

Add a strong call-to-action on your social media posts. Direct people to contact you, fill out a form, or enroll to boost conversions. 

9. Request Reviews

Let your current students talk on your behalf. Ask them to post reviews on your Google My Business listing and other online directories. Their reviews can help boost your online reputation.

Don’t forget to create testimonial videos, too!

You can also ask your alumni for help. What have they done since they graduated? How did attending your institution change their lives?

Hearing from present and past students can help prospective students see the value you have to offer.

10. Go Mobile

People are constantly stuck to their smartphones. Use that to your advantage! Create a mobile marketing strategy to reach prospective students.

Make sure your website is mobile-optimized. Consider using geotargeting to send messages to students who are touring your campus. 

Try using text message marketing as well. You can send texts to prospective students who haven’t finished their enrollment forms on your website. Texting these students can help boost completed enrollments. 

11. Host a Swag Contest

Host a contest on social media to engage prospective students. For example, you can quiz them with fun trivia. If they get the answer right, you can put them in a raffle to receive a school t-shirt.

Swag contests will boost online engagement. Meanwhile, you’ll have more students wearing your branded swag, which can boost awareness!

12. Address Communication Gaps

Make sure students have every opportunity to reach you online. Do you have a FAQ page? What digital resources are you offering in light of the pandemic?

How can parents and students reach you to ask questions?

Consider adding a chatbot to your website. Chatbots give you an extra communication channel. They can answer questions and concerns while you’re busy on the phone. 

13. Work With Influencers

About 82% of people will follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer. You can use influencers and endorsements to generate brand awareness. For example, you can partner with existing students and alumni.

Then, you can have them speak up about your classes and campus. 

Try to choose distinguished alumni prospective students might recognize. Turn your influencers into brand ambassadors and keep them talking about your institution.

14. Keep Up With the Trends

As you use these 2021 marketing tips for higher education institutions, know digital marketing is constantly changing. It’s important to stay up-to-date and relevant. 

For example, some of the latest SEO trends include:

  • Voice searches
  • Video content
  • AR and VR
  • Zero-click searches

Consider working with an experienced marketing team that can help you remain relevant online.

15. Hire an Expert

You don’t have to work through this list of higher education marketing strategies alone. Instead, consider finding an experienced marketing company that can help.

They can develop full marketing campaigns designed to help you expand your reach. As you reach more prospective students, they’ll start to see the value you have to offer. Then, you can convert those prospective leads into enrolled students!

With a marketing team on your side, you can avoid wasting time and money. Instead, you can boost enrollment this year.

Boost Enrollment: 15 Higher Education Marketing Tips for 2021

Don’t fall behind other higher education institutions with an outdated marketing strategy. Instead, keep these 15 higher education marketing methods in mind. With these tips, you can expand your reach and find new students with ease!

Need help with your marketing strategy? That’s what we’re here for!

Contact us today to get started. 


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