Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Higher Education Marketing Strategies that Get Results

Being a higher ed marketer today can be challenging. No only are you burdened with managing your marketing strategy and initiatives day-to day, you might also be marketing to the entire campus, while other campaigns also trying to reach prospective students, alumni, and more. 

The good news is you can overcome these obstacles. When you do, the rewards of an effective, higher education marketing strategy effect every aspect of your institution. This comprehensive guide will help you create a successful marketing plan. Use these tips to promote your college or university creatively and effectively. 

It wasn’t long ago that higher education marketing took a uniform approach to attract students. It often started with a glossy brochure filled with impressive photos of engaged students and beautiful campus scenery. The brochures were sent out to prospective students, enticing them to check out the school. Today, that tactic of marketing to the masses is no longer the most effective.

Now, higher education marketing strategies must be personalized and reach students on their terms. Think of the platforms students use today like social media, podcasts, and micro-influencers. Branding for colleges and universities needs to translate well along a host of mediums. Finally, you need a website for your institution that ranks high in search engines. Your site should create a positive user experience for prospective students, parents, and alumni alike. 

Defining the goals of your higher education marketing strategies 

Multiple audiences create a big challenge for marketers in higher education today. You are not simply marketing to list of buyer personas. In this industry, you must target your marketing to a variety of audiences and goals. Some of those might include:  

1. Marketing for enrollment  

Enrollment in colleges has declined over the past eight years, according to a report by Inside Higher Ed. Lower numbers makes marketing for enrollment a critical goal for marketers today. These campaigns are typically designed to target prospective students and their parents. Students today have a large range of channels they use to collect information. Colleges have not always kept up with the changes to these channels as efficiently as they could. Institutions that focus on expanding their digital presence are often the ones with the greatest advantage. 

You can create a more effective higher education marketing strategy by adopting the following in your next campaign: 

Publish informational blog posts and podcasts

Initiate authentic interactions on social media

Use micro-influencers to build your presence and credibility

Create video content, including live streams

Make the move to mobile-first marketing 

Micro-influencers are a relatively new concept in marketing, but they already have a significant impact on the college-age audience. These people have an online presence with a small but loyal group of niche followers. When you can leverage micro-influencers in your marketing, you succeed at both targeting your market and creating social proof in a group that likes to follow the latest trends. 

2. Marketing for advancement  

Advancement moves beyond the student to build relationships with alumni and friends of your institution. This email was sent to alumni of Eastern Illinois University: 

Source: Emma

This email is focused on fundraising. While fundraising is a common goal in advancement marketing, it is not the only one. It is also beneficial for your school to keep alumni abreast of news and happenings to maintain a strong network for your college or university. Emma explains how Texas A&M forms a personal relationship with alumni through email campaigns that keep the audience up to date on all things Aggies while effectively raising money for a variety of purposes. 

3. Marketing for athletics  

Your athletic programs are a significant source of income for your institution. That income comes from building and expanding the programs that perform best. Marketing plays a key role in that goal. By building interest in the most popular programs, you can raise fan spirit to boost other athletic teams on campus as well. Here is an email that was used to spark interest and boost attendance to an upcoming football game at Vanderbilt: 
 Here is an email that was used to spark interest and boost attendance to an upcoming football game at Vanderbilt:

Source: Emma 

This type of marketing might have a broader target audience that includes students, alumni, friends of the institution, and even people in surrounding areas. 

4. Marketing for student involvement  

Enrolling students in your institution is just the first step. The next is to keep them engaged by alerting them to the activities and opportunities available to them on campus. You can use many of the same channels that were effective in boosting enrollment numbers to boost membership in clubs, activities, and volunteer opportunities. 

The role of email in higher education marketing strategies 

Email marketing might be one of the most effective methods of higher education marketing today. This medium offers a return of $44 for every one dollar spent on marketing, according to Campaign Monitor. Email marketing also produces a high ROI across every aspect of higher education marketing strategy, including enrollment, advancement, and student activities. 

Email marketing strategies that work in higher ed

Emma offers a few statistics to help you shape an email marketing strategy designed for results: 

Go automated: automated emails feature a 152% higher click rate

Be mobile-friendly: more than half of all email is opened on a mobile device

Keep content relevant: 56% of people unsubscribe from emails if the content is not relevant

Add images: including images with content results in 94% more views 

Add video: including “video” in your subject line increases open rates by 19%

Using segmentation and personalization to your advantage 

Make your email campaigns stand out from the crowd. Use the marketing tools available today to create personalized messages to precise audience segments. An email subject line that is personalized is 26% more likely to be opened. When you add segmentation to the mix, your emails are also relevant to subscribers. Relevant content can increase your open rate even further. 

Keep your branding consistent

Consistent branding is one oversight that can hurt your higher education marketing strategy. Branding has always been a vital part of higher education marketing, but it sometimes gets lost when it comes to email. Your email messages will see a higher open rate if you are utilizing your brand colors, fonts and logos that make your emails easily recognizable to your recipients. 

Killer subject lines and captivating content 

Your subject line is a key indicator of whether your email will be opened. The best subject lines are personable, actionable, and unique. Once your email gets opened, the content inside needs to be both relevant and interesting. If your audience determines that the content you are providing does not offer any value, your emails won’t be opened for long. 

Source: Emma

This email is a good example of content that is relevant to the reader. The email was sent to college students and their parents. The goal was to provide basic financial information students needed to know as they started their school year.

The importance of testing

You want to spend your marketing budget wisely, getting value from every dollar. The best way to know the value of your email campaigns is by testing them. The right testing tools let you know how many recipients open your emails as well as how many click throughs they get. You can test your subject lines to improve your open rates or analyze your segmentation to keep your targeting on track. 

One of the most effective methods of testing is A/B testing, or split testing. This method compares two different versions of an email or email subject line to determine which version will perform better. A/B testing provides the data necessary to adjust campaigns precisely so you can produce the best possible results.  

Email allows you to launch campus-wide campaigns or target specific departments or groups, depending on your needs and goals. With email automation, you can create email campaigns with much less individual effort and better results. 

Wrap up

Developing higher education marketing strategies is vital to your institution but it is not without its share of obstacles. One of the biggest challenges is to define your marketing goals, which might include:

Marketing to prospective students to increase enrollment 

Marketing for advancement to build alumni relations and increase donations

Marketing for your athletic programs to increase interest and revenue

Marketing your student organizations and activities to increase student engagement 

Email is one of the most effective methods of higher education marketing. This method can be used for campus-wide campaigns or to target very specific audiences within your university system. Email has been proven over time to produce an excellent ROI. The ROI is high whether it is used to increase enrollment, raise donations, build athletic programs, or enhance student engagement. 

Email marketing is a critical component to any higher education marketing strategy. Learn how to increase the open rates of your next email campaign with these tips on creating email subject lines designed to engage and convert.

About the Author

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It’s email marketing that works for you.

This content was originally published here.

5 Things You’ve Been Told About Social Marketing That Just Aren’t True

Social media is ever-changing, evolving, and taking on new roles in the world we live in. That means it’s also changing the way we do business.

Although it’s definitely picked up in the last few years, the idea of social media marketing for your business has been around long enough to have spurred a few misconceptions.

We’re here to debunk a couple of these myths.

5 common social media marketing myths

1. You need a lot of followers to be successful on social media

Followings are great—it means people like your brand enough to subscribe to your feed and get regular updates.

As a marketer, it’s tempting to measure your social media strategy by the size of your audience But keep in mind that just because someone is following you, it doesn’t mean they’re reading everything you post. Followers are a good metric, but an even better one is engagement.

At Hootsuite, we track a metric that call “Meaningful Relationship Moments” or MRMs. We use it to measure the positive impact that our engagement efforts are having on the business.

We define an MRM as a social media interaction with a customer, prospect, or community member that results in an observable positive change in sentiment or behavior.

At the end of the day, engagement-oriented metrics like MRMs say a lot more about how well you’re doing on social media than vanity metrics like your number of followers.

For more information on what kind of metrics you should really be looking for, check out our post on social media metrics that really matter.

The lesson is here is to make sure your audience is actually engaged with your social media activity. Pay closer attention to your engagement metrics—this could be shares, Retweets, or replies.

2. You have to keep everything online

If you never have any face time with the people who actively engaged with your brand you might as well be a robot.

It’s valuable to put a human face on your business—your customers will be more likely to connect and trust your business with their time and money. And they’ll be able to associate your brand with actual people.

As a tech company, Hootsuite is primarily a digital brand but we have an events team that handles our on-the-ground presence. Hootsuite attends and sponsors events all the time, and we organize social media gatherings like HootUps around the world.

While our online traffic and engagements are extremely important to us—like our weekly #HootChat—it’s also important to us to further develop our connections through human interaction IRL.

3. You need to be active on every social media platform

It’s awesome to see brands put in the effort to be on every platform—it shows that they take social seriously.

From a functional standpoint, when users search for a business online, they’re bound to be able to find them in some shape or form.

The reality is it’s not necessary to sign yourself up for every single social network. In fact, it can be detrimental at times. You might end up spreading yourself too thin and diluting your online presence.

To ensure you focus your efforts where you will get the best results, keep the following in mind:

4. It’s too late to learn social media

A lot of businesses might think social media is reserved for the younger generation.

While we could sell you on the benefits of social media for your business—we’ll tell you that there’s plenty of support available online if you want to learn more about platform functionality, analytics tools, or even the more abstract social media marketing concepts.

Tune into social media webinars, read industry blogs, or put your student hat on and delve into the world of online social media training with set courseware and regular evaluations.

We have our very own online learning institution, Hootsuite Academy, which provides industry-recognized social media training and certifications. The online training videos are not just easy-to-follow, but add value to growing your career and developing the skills you need to succeed in the digital workplace.

5. Social media is separate from the rest of your marketing strategy

Your social media strategy will deliver best results when it factors in things such as content creation, brand advocacy, and SEO. Social must be supported by a number of other digital initiatives to work effectively.

If you’ve thoroughly studied your target demographic and have nailed down the best times to post, you still need the right piece of content to encourage engagement.

I know. It’s a lot to take in. But we’re not trying to tell you that everything you’ve known to be true, isn’t. Rather, we hope to show you a few ways to do social media marketing better.

It’s never too late to learn a better way to manage social media. Learn fundamental social media marketing skills with free training from Hootsuite Academy.

Kaylynn is a Junior Copywriter at Hootsuite. She likes babies, needs snacks available at all times, and was disappointed at the way Rory Gilmore’s life unfolded in the Netflix’s revival. #TeamJess

Higher Education Marketing: Revise Your Messaging for Generation Z

Regardless of the success of your past higher education marketing strategies, it’s time for a change. That change was born between 1995 and 2010. Generation Z comes with its own host of preferences, problems, spending potential, and perspectives.

Today’s higher education prospects have evolving values and pain points, and if you’re using the same messaging you’ve been using for years, you will miss the mark as these young people look into career options, universities, and law schools.

Who is Gen Z?

Just when we started getting used to Millenials (or getting used to endless hot takes on Millenials), a new generation entered the playing field. Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation in American history. The United States Census Bureau .

This generation is growing up with a keener eye on social justice issues and inclusion. Gen Z overwhelmingly supports marriage equality.

They’ve grown up highly connected and have a broader global perspective than previous generations, a perspective that lends itself to a sense of responsibility to change (or save!) the world.

“This group has a passion for social justice – global justice. They seem very optimistic about their ability to contribute to a better society. I am floored by their essays about how they WILL impact their communities,” says Laura Zuppo, Assistant Dean of Strategic Enrollment Management at Stetson University College of Law.

The internet has been around for their entire lives. Gen Z engages with shorter content than previous generations, and expects a high level of personalization. “They prefer to see everything via their mobile device and prefer concise and to the point messages,” says Zuppo. “They prefer graphics and visual representation of data.”

How do you understand Generation Z?

If there’s one thing you can learn from the frenzy over Millennials, it’s that you should stop othering entire generations. Over-the-top think pieces attributing things like the demise of bar soap or cereal to Millenials have resulted in memes — which, by the way, are one of the chunks of content this generation appreciates.

Instead of contributing to a pile-on about Generation Z or treating them like another species, try to get to know them and empathize with them. We are all, in part, the products of our upbringings and the challenges faced by those who molded our childhoods.

As with any generation, Gen Z is influenced by older adults. They saw their parents lose homes and savings during the Great Recession, and as a result they crave security. But they’re willing to take risks, such as starting their own businesses. It’s a generation ripe for inspiring change and progress.

But if you really want to know what Gen Z is all about, just ask.

Develop fresh higher education marketing personas around Gen Z

Consumer research lends a great deal of information about this generation, but you need to take this a step farther and identify this generation’s pain points related to your higher education marketing messages. As your prospects quickly age out of your older marketing materials, it’s critical to refresh your messaging. Take time between admissions cycles to get to know the new generation.

Tech-savvy prospects will respond to short, simple research surveys — particularly if they’re incentivized. Identify those who are interested in sharing their perspectives and move on to email and phone interviews. Gen Z has high expectations, and they want to be heard. Even through research, you can make an impact on potential students by showing genuine interest in who they are and what they aspire to be.

Read more: The Big Sea Persona Journey Matrix >>

Craft higher education marketing messages that matter to Gen Z

In fields like medicine and law, you may find that making a difference in the world takes precedence over making a lot of money. Specific insights like these, oftentimes unique to the fields your organization excels at, will give you the data and soul you need to hone messaging that younger prospects will connect with.

And they expect to connect.

Now is the time to revise emails, landing pages and advertising. Consider a fresh look at big-picture campaigns. Does your brand as a higher education institution speak to the pain points and needs of today’s prospects? Is it time for a pivot? Should you highlight different aspects of your university?

Get to the point with Gen Z

Gen Z may be tech-savvy, but as a generation, they value face to face communication and have already learned — oftentimes the hard way — that much is lost in translation over text and social media.

Video content (keep it short), highly personalized emails, and good old-fashioned phone calls will bring value to these prospects — if the message is right. Gen Z values human rights and human connection, and despite being the most tech-savvy generation yet, they’re craving marketing messages that feel authentic and set them on a path toward affecting change in the world. Do your homework to rise to that challenge, and you’ll meet the needs of Generation Z.

5 Ways to Dominate 2019 with Social Media Marketing on Facebook

Social media marketing on Facebook is on the rise. Despite pretty much being the birthplace of social media marketing, Facebook has retained its spot as a top contender, with more daily visitors than any other social media platform.

With over two billion active users, every type of audience is present on Facebook. And any business owner would be foolish not to take advantage of the great marketing opportunities the platform provides.

Are you ready to dominate in 2019? Keep reading for five tips to kill it with social media marketing on Facebook next year!

1. Match your marketing strategy to your overarching business goals

The possibilities are endless when it comes to social media marketing on Facebook. It can be easy to get lost or overwhelmed. So the best way to start when forming your social media marketing strategy is to align it with your business goals.

It’s best to keep your goals as specific as possible. Here are a couple of examples on how to effectively match your business goals with Facebook marketing strategies:

  • If your goal is to promote attendance at a specific event, consider boosting a Facebook event page. Maintain a specific goal for how many attendees you would like and how much you are willing to pay in advertising for each new attendee.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want a short term or long term strategy?
  • How can you improve your business from where it was last year?
  • What can you do to make your business more attractive than your competitors?

The answers to these questions can help you determine your call to action and form relevant goals for social media marketing on Facebook.

2. Invest wisely

Anyone with a Facebook business page has probably noticed the steady decline in organic reach over the past couple of years. Currently, posts from Facebook business pages are often only seen by 1-2% of their followers unless they are boosted.

There’s no point in putting all your hard work into killer Facebook posts if no one will even see them.

As Facebook becomes increasingly more of a “pay to play” platform, it is becoming more and more necessary to invest your money wisely if you want your business to succeed.

An advertising budget is a necessity to succeed with social media marketing on Facebook. But you could be wasting a lot of money if you’re not careful about how you use your Facebook budget.

For example, there is no sense in spending $10 to boost every post you make to an audience of 100 followers. It is wise to grow your followers through the use of page like ads and posts boosted to external audiences before you begin putting money behind posts boosted towards your followers.

Generating followers with page like ads and engagement with boosted posts can be done with a relatively low budget. However, ads geared towards generating sales and leads tend to require more money to be effective, especially in highly competitive industries.

When it comes to conversion ads, you have to be willing to spend money to make money.

Of course the end goal is to ensure the profits outweigh the costs to get a positive return on ad spend. But sometimes new campaigns have to start off in the red during the initial stages of the optimization process. Then work towards the break even point, and ultimately, profit.

Don’t worry if positive ROI does not happen immediately in the Facebook advertising process. Sometimes it takes months of A/B split testing to find the right message and the right audience! But once your campaign has been fully optimized, Facebook can be an amazing resource for generating sales at a relatively low cost!

If your Facebook ads are not performing as well as you would like them to, it may be time to call in an expert. Our experienced advertising specialists have the knowledge and skill it takes to execute an effective, results-driven Facebook advertising plan.

3. Use analytics and learn from them

It can be easy to get lost when it comes to social media marketing on Facebook. The good news is, there are a lot of built-in road maps to help you succeed!

There are a lot of generic statistics out there making broad claims like Wednesday and Thursday being the best days to post on Facebook. These stats can be a great starting place. But every business is different, and falling for generic rules of thumb can be detrimental.

Using social analytics to your favor can ensure that you optimize your social media marketing strategy based on what is best for your particular business.

For example, it’s commonly known that the best times of day to post for maximize engagement are:

  1. Mornings when people first wake up
  2. Afternoons when people take their lunch breaks
  3. Evenings when people get off work

That being said, that rule does not work for all businesses. What if you are located in the U.S. but the majority of your followers and customers are in Asia? You would have to adapt your posting strategy to account for the times when your specific target audience is most likely to be active online.

Similarly, if your target audience is retail workers or security guards, they might have a totally different workday from the average office worker.

By testing out many different posting times and days and analyzing which posts receive the most engagement, you can get a better idea of what posting schedule works best for your business.

This goes for more than just days and times to post. You should also pay attention to the types of posts your followers interact with the most.

Do they respond well to posts that ask open-ended questions?

What about article shares or giveaways?

Pay attention to every detail of the posts that receive the most engagement and see how you can adapt future posts accordingly.

For example, if posts with images of people in them outperform posts with landscapes, focus on more lifestyle photos with people. Likewise, if you notice article shares from certain websites get a lot of likes and comments, consider sharing more content from the same source in the future.

Facebook ads should also be optimized based on analytics. Facebook Ads Manager makes it easy to track data and adjust your ads accordingly. Some important metrics to look at include cost per conversion, relevancy scores, and cost per click.

You should also pay close attention to the difference between an ad’s reach and number of impressions. If the impressions become over three times the reach, it may be time to refresh your ads or expand your audience.

Facebook ads manager also offers much more in-depth analytics to help you optimize your Facebook ads based on the demographics most of your results come from. These demographics include everything from age groups and genders to the devices and operating systems people who engage with your ads are clicking from.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your social media marketing on Facebook, don’t be afraid to split test multiple different options and adjust your strategy based on the results.

Even if you do have a stable marketing plan, there is always something new that can be tested or adjusted. If you notice even a slight drop in engagement or increase in your average cost per lead, pay attention to what might have caused the shift.

Those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Facebook has its own analytics, which can help you make informed decisions about the future of your marketing strategy. However, many marketing companies, like LYFE Marketing, can offer you more advanced analytics. They can also help you understand the data and adapt your plan accordingly.

4. Utilize videos

Studies suggest that by 2019, video will account for 85% of total Internet traffic. If your Facebook marketing strategy doesn’t include video content, you may want to reconsider.

Eye catching images are no longer enough when it comes to social media marketing on Facebook. If a picture tells 1,000 words than a video tells 1,000,000 words!

When it comes to both ads and Facebook posts, video currently reigns supreme. 82% of business owners report that video marketing is an important part of their overall marketing strategy. If your Facebook strategy does not include video content, you are already falling behind your competitors.

Video outperforms still images on social media in terms of engagement. And some believe that Facebook videos have higher organic reach than posts with just text or images alone.

Videos also serve to build trust in your business. 57% of consumers report that videos give them more confidence to purchase items online. Videos are particularly effective for explaining complex concepts in ways that still images simply cannot.

Think about it: if you have an innovative, new product, consumers may not be able to understand how it works simply by looking at a photo of it. A video can quickly and easily show people how to use your product, increasing the likelihood that they will want to buy it.

Video ads prove to be top performers time and time again, with average click through rates higher than all other ad formats.

Engagement rates for video ads tend to be an astounding 3x higher than engagement for non-video ads!

Video Length

If your social media marketing strategy includes Facebook video ads, be sure to keep your videos short.

Typically speaking, video ads that are between 15 and 30 seconds long tend to be best. Having a shorter video means that more of your viewers will be likely to watch the video to completion.

If your video ads are too long, you may not be able to get your full message across.

On the same note, it’s best to keep the call to action in the middle of your video ads. This way you can catch engaged viewers’ attention before it drops off and they continue scrolling down their newsfeed. Having the CTA at the end of the video runs the risk of many viewers never getting to it.


Pay special attention to thumbnails. Facebook does auto-play videos, but many users turn this feature off. For those users, a boring thumbnail means they likely won’t ever watch your video at all even if it does appear in their newsfeed.

Use a relevant but engaging thumbnail to convince consumers to watch your video. Just make sure that the thumbnail doesn’t contain too much text!

Sometimes this can be difficult if you are using subtitles. But thumbnails for Facebook video ads are subject to the same rules as Facebook image ads. Ads featuring more than 20% text are subject to decreased reach or even run the risk of being rejected altogether.

If you are using videos for your social media marketing on Facebook, there are a few more tips you should know about.

Sound & Subtitles

85% of social media videos are actually watched with the sound off!

This means that in order to be effective, your Facebook videos should be able to convey a message without relying on the use of sound. Subtitles may be necessary to accomplish this. And can make your videos more accessible for those with auditory processing disabilities.

If your video doesn’t make sense without the use of sound, it’s highly likely only a small percentage of viewers will even comprehend it.

Also, many videos are not watched to completion. Consider the traditional “pyramid style” of writing when it comes to your video script. The most important and attention-grabbing information should come first since it is highly likely that most viewers will not watch to the end of even a short video.

Video Format

One last tip is to play close attention to the formatting of your Facebook videos. Square videos tend to perform best, especially on mobile platforms. If a square video simply isn’t possible, opt for a vertical format rather than horizontal.

So what types of videos should you post on your Facebook?

Some great ideas for videos are: 

  • explain the product or service your company offers
  • behind the scenes videos from your employees
  • testimonial videos from satisfied customers
  • promotional video if you’re a B2B company

While quality video production may not always come cheap, it pays off in the long run!

That being said, video production is becoming easier and more affordable as smartphone technology improves and increasing numbers of video editing and animation creation software arise.

5. Hire a marketing company

Our last, and most important, tip for succeeding with social media marketing on Facebook is to hire a marketing company! Facebook is constantly evolving and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Keeping up with the platform’s ever-changing policies and features can be a full time job. You’re busy running your business. We get it.

So why not leave the social media marketing to someone whose job actually is to keep up with Facebook’s constant evolution and adapt your company’s marketing strategy accordingly?

As previously mentioned, social media marketing agencies have access to extra analytics that go far beyond the information you can learn from Facebook insights alone. A seasoned expert can also help you adapt your strategy using data that can otherwise become very overwhelming or confusing.

In addition to improving your Facebook marketing with quality analytics, social media marketing agencies also save you time and money!

They save time by taking care of time-consuming activities like replying to comments and messages, curating social media posts, setting up Facebook ad campaigns, and posting content at optimal times.

They can also save you money by making your advertising campaigns more effective and efficient, thus boosting your ROI. And also by eliminating the need to hire full-time employees to take care of your business’s marketing needs.

Hiring an agency to handle your social media marketing on Facebook means you’ll have more time to focus on what you’re best at: running your business!

How do you plan to incorporate these tips into your 2019 strategy for social media marketing on Facebook? Let us know in the comments!

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10 Higher Education Marketing Trends That Will Make You Smarter

The higher education world is morphing into a completely new species.

Its constantly changing form has affected student opinions of further study and how they engage with individual institutions.

Not surprising, really, considering college no longer has the high-brow draw of yesteryear, and instead conjures up images of unrealistic student loans and a world of debt.

Going to college is no longer a must-do, and more and more institutions are having to put themselves out there to grab the attention of potential students.

Why? Because, , higher education institutions are facing a big decline in student enrollment.

Today, there are two things on the minds of colleges: get more students and increase student engagement.

Which means marketing has emerged as a vital must-do in order to attract prospective students and build a brand.

Because yes, marketing is absolutely necessary to bolster enrollment numbers, but it’s also important for brand creation and making sure a brand is visible, engaging, and credible.

So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the top trends in higher education marketing set to hit this year.

1. Social Influencers to Share School Moments

Influencer marketing is a huge deal at the moment (if you didn’t know that, we’re guessing you’ve been living under a rock or hiding away in the Amazon jungle).

It can also mean leveraging social savvy students and encouraging them to share their experiences.

There are two key ways that influencer marketing can be mega-beneficial to higher education institutions:

  1. You can bring tech-savvy students aboard and hand over screen control to those who can instantly relate to your target audience because, well, they are the target audience.

Let’s take a look at this in action.

University of Colorado student Nicole Lloyd posts about her life in Boulder on Instagram, with many of her photos featuring campus life. 

How to Leverage Influencer Marketing:

Check out your student’s social media (not in a creepy way – avoid accidental likes on random posts, please!) and determine who the most socially involved are.

Look for those who are in lots of clubs and have a large-ish social media following.

Now think about a mutual back-scratching situation: could you ask them to be the face of your brand for a short while?

How about getting them to share their student experiences with others, or live stream their day through Facebook?

2. Video Marketing to Create Emotive Stories

Marketing needs emotion to work. Fact.

Whether it drives people to feel happy, sad, scared, or angry, it needs to make them feel something.

And video is the perfect way to do this.

It’s a win-win tactic for both institutions and students: the students get more videos to scroll through on social media, while the institutions grow their enrollments and revenue.

But simply putting out videos for the sake of it will get you nowhere fast.

You want to be looking at the sentiment behind why video is so powerful, and it all boils down to a little magic trick called storytelling.

The saying a picture is worth a thousand words has stuck around so long for a reason. Visuals are incredibly powerful, but how can you integrate them into your strategy?

How to Leverage Video Marketing and Storytelling:

Try creating videos for major yearly events, like move-in day, campus festivals, and commencement to give prospects a first-hand insight into what life is like on campus.

Use real stories from real people to give your videos more power.

The best part? These days you don’t need a load of fancy equipment and a full-stack editing team, you can simply wave a smartphone around to capture the good stuff.

3. User Generated Content for Social Proof and Reach

Word-of-mouth recommendations might feel like a dying breed, but in fact they’re evolving to align with the digital landscape.

By bringing content from former-students into the eye-line of future prospects, you’re essentially tapping into the word-of-mouth trend.

This year, we’ll see more universities pimping out content created by their students to create a community around their brand.

How to Leverage UGC:

Create a hashtag that students can use to bring together their experiences in one place. You can then publish their Tweets and Instagram posts on your website and in marketing collateral to entice prospects.

Alternatively, you can do a big old UGC drive like Purdue University.

Back in April 2017, they raised over $28 million in 24 hours as part of their Annual Day of Giving.

They leveraged the power of UGC and integrated onto their site to create a community feel to the project. It resulted in over 32 million social impressions – a 190% increase from 2015.

4. Creative Social Media Campaigns

Students today – and people in general – have incredibly short attention spans.

This has translated into a serious case of multitasking over a smattering of different channels and devices.

So, to cut through the sheer noise of stuff this generation are consuming, you need to get to the point – and quickly!

Multi-channel marketing campaigns are the way forward but, more than anything, higher education institutions need to get creative if they want to stand out.

How to Leverage Creative Social Media Campaigns:

First things first, use the platforms where your prospects are hanging out.

According to research, the majority of the Gen Z population prefer to use Snapchat and Instagram, two very visual and ephemeral channels.

Then start thinking outside the box: could you integrate virtual reality into Facebook live streams? How about using Snapchat Spectacles to show off campus tours or implementing Snapchat geofilters on campus visits?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the outcome helps prospective students. They should always be at the front of your mind.

5. Mobile-First Marketing

If you asked your students to list five things they couldn’t leave the house without, we know exactly what would be at the top of the list.

Have you ever seen a student in the wild who wasn’t glued to their smartphone?

Which means, if you want to reach prospects where they’re most comfortable, you need to be implementing your marketing strategies on mobile before desktop.

Lookie here – a whopping 75% chose mobile as their go-to device, while only 30% chose a desktop computer.

Taking it further, research has shown that have acted on an ad they’d come across on their mobile, while three-quarters of Gen Zer’s reported making purchases from their handheld devices.

The conclusion: mobile is big. And important.

Because of their handheld nature, higher education institutions will be implementing more geo-targeted ads that reach prospects and students wherever they are over the next year.

How to Leverage Mobile-First Marketing:

They key here is to consider what every campaign will look like on mobile.

Think about using rich media advertising that allows audio and video to catch the eye and garner attention.

For general design and branding, this means considering basic interfaces and flatter designs that stand out on mobile, and a user experience that is geared towards the tap-friendly generation.

If you’re thinking about serving ads, run them on platforms that students use the most on their phones, like Snapchat, Spotify, and YouTube.

Eastern Kentucky University has its own geofilter on Snapchat. .

6. Augmented Reality to Create Unique Experiences

Remember how huge Pokemon Go was?

It seemed like everyone was trying to “catch them all” for a short time. And this is precisely the power augmented reality has.

As opposed to creating new worlds entirely like virtual reality, augmented reality lets you lay new worlds over existing ones.

In the next year, we can expect to see higher education institutions tapping into this trend and creating games and stories that overlay real-life campus scenes in an attempt to engage students and attract new prospects.

The University of Washington has created an augmented reality app that lets students explore the new science building.

How to Leverage Augmented Reality:

Now, we’re not saying you need to go out and create a completely new app. Instead, think about how you can integrate augmented reality to create unique experiences for your audience.

Maybe you could provide virtual campus tours with augmented reality offering visuals and information along the way? Or how about an interactive campus map with a gamification twist?

7. Live Streaming to Build Connections In-the-Moment

The ability to connect with potential students in-the-moment is a real step forward for higher education institutions.

Imagine it: it’s almost as close as you can get to chatting with them face-to-face.

A.k.a. It’s invaluable and will only become bigger as more and more people crave closer connections with brands.

How to Leverage Livestreaming:

One of the best places to use livestreaming is at events.

Start making a list of all the events you have on campus and get in touch with the departments that host them. Make sure you – or an influencer – is there to capture the goings-on live, so prospects can see campus life in real-time. That’s pretty cool.

Miami University has taken this idea and run with it, creating livestreams of music performances taking place at their Frost School of Music.

Personalization is set to be big over the next year in every industry – and it makes sense.

People want to feel wanted.

They want to feel like brands are speaking directly to them, and they don’t have the time to waste checking out unrelated content.

By using segmentation (just like The New York Times, which offers 30 different kinds of subscriptions covering a host of niche topics), you can deliver relevant content to the right people in order to build up rapport, trust, and credibility.

How to Leverage Email Marketing Segmentation:

Just follow in The New York Times’ footsteps.

Look at your student body and dissect the different segments. You might want to break things down by department, by major, by hobby, or life situation.

And then you can create content and write specifically to each segment. Sure, you’ll be speaking to fewer students at a time, but you’ll create deeper connections.

9. Measuring Analytics and Building on Results

Measuring analytics is a sore point for many marketers.

Aside from generating traffic and leads, measuring and analyzing ROI is one of the biggest challenges marketers face. .

Today, marketing tools are cheaper and more accessible than ever, meaning we’re likely to see a rise in the number of higher education institutions that are turning to their data and drawing deeper conclusions from it.

If you’re not measuring every aspect of your marketing strategy already – you’re missing out, and it’s likely you’ll get left behind (and no one wants to finish last!).

How to Leverage Measuring Marketing Analytics:

Now that the tech for analyzing marketing efforts is getting cheaper by the day, you might want to hire an analyst to go through the data you have.

From the results they pull out, you can then use insights to create even better, more aligned marketing strategies that can only get more successful the more you listen to what’s working and what isn’t.

10. Micro-Moment Blogging to Answer Key Questions

Yes, video is a must, but written content is absolutely still a thing.

The key is to get video and text working together in tandem because, naturally, there are some areas where video is absolutely necessary, while others are best suited to text content.

Where does the text part come in?

This is where you can tackle the key terms and common questions prospects and students have. These are the things they’ll be Googling, and we’ll see more and more institutions creating blog posts and written content that answer some of the most overlooked queries.

How to Leverage Micro-Moment Blogging:

Consider what students and prospects search for in Google.

Colorado State University’s blog tackles common general questions that potential students might have.

Tear your mind away from the most common queries, and instead focus on the more niche, specialized questions they might have, like:

  • What is daily life like on X campus?
  • What communities are there based around writing and literature at X university?
  • How can I find people to share accommodation with?

If you haven’t already answered these kinds of questions in detail, start forming a content schedule that hits them right on the head.

The Future of Higher Education Marketing is Exciting

The marketing world is constantly changing and, for higher education institutions, this means staying on the ball or potentially missing out on new students.

With the drop in enrollment numbers and the growing need for students to connect and engage with universities, it’s easy to see why marketing tactics like livestreaming, User Generated Content, and augmented reality are set to be hot in 2018.

These methods allow students to create deeper, more meaningful connections with institutions, and build up a bigger picture of what life on campus is like before they enrol.

Higher Education Marketing: 5 New Strategies Colleges Are Using

How is your college dealing with the dreaded summer melt?

Do your admissions counselors cross their fingers and hope to hear from those students who pay a deposit to attend but never show up in the fall? Or do they spend hours reaching out to students with little to show for all their hard work?

If your school is looking for a way to increase enrollment, improve the efficiency of admissions, and strengthen communications with admitted and confirmed students, you may want to consider using a text messaging service.

Using text message marketing, are not only decreasing their admissions gaps, they’re also keeping students in the loop and raising awareness for upcoming school events throughout the year.

Before we get to all those perks, let’s begin with the biggest benefit of switching to a text-based strategy: improving the efficiency of your enrollments.

#1: Use Text Blasts to Increase Enrollment & Improve Efficiency

Despite being accepted, many students can’t seem to make it through the enrollment process.

Current estimates “1 in 5 students accepted by colleges nationwide fail to show up for classes in the fall.”

And this number jumps even higher to well above 40% for low-income students.

To combat this major issue, colleges and universities are implementing what’s known as “nudging,” or a process where their admissions team guides accepted students through the enrollment process using mass texts.

With this, text message reminders are sent out to students to let them know about upcoming deadlines, especially those which are time-sensitive and related to financial aid and housing.

This strategy as:

  • 40% of confirmed students send 5 or more text messages to admissions counselors
  • 80% of confirmed applicants send at least 1 or more texts

Students aren’t the only ones benefiting from text blasts either.

One financial advisor also that using a text messaging service is one of his “most effective” methods for communicating with future students.

And when Presbyterian College adopted a , it also boosted efficiency during the enrollment process.

Instead of having to call every potential candidate — including those who were no longer interested — one mass text to all students was delivered with instructions on where to go from there.

Admissions counselors only had to touch base with those students who were truly interested and willing to reach out.

This simple move helped Presbyterian College’s admissions team better their scheduling too.

When they used to call students and parents to schedule a time to meet, there was pressure to pick a date and time on the spot. By switching to text messages, recipients have time to check their schedules and choose a time slot that really works before replying, instead of having to cancel and reschedule one that does later.

Admissions counselors also don’t have to worry about calling people at the wrong time. Even if a text is sent out when a recipient is busy, they may still respond at their leisure.

And, as you’ll see next, there’s another reason why text messages work so well here.

#2: Stay in Touch With Students Like Never Before

Are you having a hard time hearing back from prospective students?

Despite half a dozen emails, does it feel as if your messages continue to go unnoticed?

The sad reality is they probably are.

After all, the average person sends and receives over .

So if you’re not stacking replies in your inbox, it could just be that your message is hiding in a mound of other emails.

And if you’ve tried calling your prospective students, you’re likely to see an even colder response.

With Robocalls becoming the norm, many students refuse to answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize.

But when Kelly Walsh, the CIO for the College of Westchester a text-based strategy, she discovered students “will respond to a text message, and they’ll often respond very quickly.”

This initiates “a faster back-and-forth dialogue,” as Walsh puts it, and ensures students get the help they need in time.

So encourage the dialogue by sending text blasts that prompt students to send over any questions they have via text.

Since it’s a personal and private form of communication, students will feel more comfortable asking questions and you’ll reduce your chances of the summer melt.

#3: Answer Frequently Asked Questions

As part of your text message marketing strategy, it’s also a good idea to assign someone from your admissions team to handle frequently asked questions.

This person should send out an initial text blast asking prospective and confirmed students how they can be of assistance.

Then they should be available to answer these messages as quickly as possible.

It’s also helpful to send out a mass text when the same common question keeps popping up so your team doesn’t have to waste time answering this on an individual basis 100 times a day.

Text alerts can also be useful in this next situation.

#4: Send Weather, Safety, and Parking Alerts

Inclement weather in the forecast for move-in weekend? Expecting the parking lots to be filled to capacity during orientation?

You can keep current and confirmed students in the loop with the weather, parking, and safety updates via text.

This helps ease confusion for your entire campus in just a few minutes and allows everyone time to prepare for what’s going on.

Mass texts are also a great way to raise awareness and donations for your school’s events throughout the year.

#5: Promote Upcoming Events

Hosting a new student luncheon? Or a dorm meet-and-greet?

No matter what the event, if you want to drive people to it, sending group texts is the way to go.

Use these and you’ll give students a digital invite that feels just as personal as a paper invitation.

You can also use text blasts to raise awareness and donations for your school’s next charity event as well.

Be sure to space these texts out to give your subscribers enough time to add the event to their schedule without sending too many texts that you annoy them.

It’s also a smart move to keep these next principles in mind:

Before Using a Text Messaging Service, Remember These Best Practices

Mass texts can help your school increase enrollment, improve admissions efficiency, and communicate better with students, as you’ve seen in this guide.

But this is only possible if you adopt the right text message marketing strategy.

That means you should not text your students all the time and instead only send mass texts that are targeted to specific recipients.

For example, only send financial aid reminders to those who have yet to submit their paperwork rather than everyone — including those who already have. Do this and your subscribers will start tuning out all of your text messages for being irrelevant.

Your texts should also be short, to-the-point, and deliver only the most important pieces of information.

Anything else can and should be tucked away in a link at the end of your text, which interested texters can click on for more details.

Keep these principles in mind when you adopt a text-based strategy at your college or university and you should see the same positive benefits too.

To get started with a text messaging service, next!  

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Post-Launch Campaign Optimization With Social Media Analytics

Campaign Optimization with Social Media Analytics

Here are three areas that when carefully monitored can suggest changes or major course corrections to campaigns in progress. We’ve inserted an IFTTT section after each of these optimization issues as a reminder that if you’re seeing surprises, it could be time for a re-think.

How big is the conversation?

What is the preferred platform?

How big is the conversation? At the start of a campaign, as soon as the first message has been released, get a benchmark of the size of the social conversation focusing on the factors you’ve identified as important to your campaign. This could be brand name, product name, competitive product names and activity, mentions of specific copy used in marketing, conversations about specific benefits mentioned in the campaign etc. You can use an endless number of ‘tags’ to filter the conversation in a way that tells you how many people are talking about anything related to your campaign. Be sure to keep an eye on the volume of the conversation as the campaign continues. The timing of any ups and downs could reveal important insights.

If the initial increase in chatter is not sufficient:

IFTTT: Make certain that your brand and brand benefits are clearly stated and that the initial volley of the campaign is reaching enough of your prospects. Are there other channels you’re not utilizing that could help jumpstart the conversation? Does the message need to be broadened?

Who’s doing the talking? It’s simple and enormously valuable to know the gender, age and geographic distribution of the people you’re hoping to engage with your campaign. But just as valuable is the depth of consumer knowledge that Social Media Analytics can offer, and it goes well beyond simple demographics.

Social Media Analytics lets you paint highly detailed portraits of your consumers. You can discover what they liked or didn’t like about your messaging. You can find out if they are sharing anything relevant with their own personal networks. And if you want to look at a broader context, you can probably discover what kind of car they drive and what they had for breakfast. Social Media Analytics can tell you with high degree of accuracy, who’s in the conversation about your campaign.

If this group doesn’t line up with what you feel are the best prospects:

IFTTT: Because you can ‘know’ your audience so well, you now have the opportunity to study whether demographic info, or deep profile info such as affinities and interests suggest that you take a second look at your basic proposition. Does your campaign offer a clear solution to an existing problem? Is the messaging in line with the audience’s interests?

Branding, Diversity and Technology

Branding is the key to business success. Whether you’re a small, locally owned electronics repair service, or a multinational corporation, a strong brand will set you apart from your competition. Successful branding is a complex, multifaceted process. It’s both an art and science, combining detailed, accurate data analysis with an intuitive understanding of what your audience wants. With a great marketing company at your side, you can harness the power of proven, effective branding strategies that can bring you incredible success.

A great marketing company is like a personal trainer for your brand. Our job is to keep you on the right track so that you can successfully meet your goals. As a personal trainer, we’ll help you evaluate and understand your brand’s “fitness level.” What have you done in the past to build and market your brand, and how well have those strategies worked? Have you been seeing more success as time goes by, or has your audience engagement been faltering lately? Just as a personal trainer will measure your BMI, body fat percentage, and other stats to evaluate where you are right now, we’ll help you understand where you stand. We’ll then work with you to make effective strategy changes that will bring you results. We keep you on a steady regimen of useful, high-quality content, taking consistent measurements along the way to make sure you see real progress. Just like a personal trainer will make sure you exercise and stop you from eating that extra donut, we’ll work with your brand to help you make the right branding choices, and avoid unwise decisions that could set you back.

Our job is to help you succeed, by using the latest techniques to give your brand a real advantage in today’s crowded online marketplace. We leverage the power of cutting-edge trends and technology to create laser-focused branding and marketing strategies tailored specifically to your unique brand. Using the power of the internet and social media, we help you reach out directly to potential customers and clients.

We help our clients reach their goals and achieve results by incorporating the Six Key Points of Branding. These six essential factors form the basis of an active, successful  Diversity branding campaign:

  1. Know Your Audience. Who are you targeting? What are their values? How do they behave as consumers? How can you reach out to them in a way they can relate to?
  2. Know Yourself. Who are you, as a company? Understanding your brand’s style, culture, and history will give you the tools to move forward with successful branding strategies.
  3. Measure Everything. Gather quantifiable data about your past metrics. Look at past failures and past successes. Understand the actions you took that led to where you are today. By evaluating your past and present metrics, you have a baseline that acts as a platform as you plan for future success.
  4. Set Measurable Goals. Use your past and present metrics as a guide to planning for future goals. When you know what success looks like for your company, you can forge ahead by formulating concrete, specific, and attainable goals that will move your company
  5. Be Consistent. Consistent publishing, rhythm, tone, and style are essential to building a strong brand and reaching your audience effectively.
  6. Authoritative, Validated Content. Not only do you need great content that provides real value to your audience, but you need to seek the endorsement of credible third parties whom your audience trusts.


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