How to make sure your education marketing captivates students

Education marketing is one of the most competitive arenas. With hundreds of universities and thousands of courses, there’s a lot of factors that go into the decision making process. It’s easy to imagine how overwhelming applying to university can be. Can you imagine the volume of emails, ads and cookies that follow a potential student across every platform after browsing a few university websites?

Given that education marketing can be relentless, especially around deadline or results periods, we’ve compiled 6 tips to help guide your marketing strategy.

  1. It’s about quality, not quantity  

There’s nothing more off-putting than having your inbox filled to the brim with generic marketing emails. Inundating potential students only makes them hit the unsubscribe button, especially if it’s irrelevant to their interests. Really focus on the quality of your content. Is there a way your marketing can be tailored depending on the degree programme?

Think about what your audience would prefer – a formal statement from the head of department on inclusivity, or a short video from a current student on how at home they feel at your university? Start linking programmes and areas of interest with potential careers. University is a massive investment and pathways to employment post-graduation are the forefront of everyone’s mind. The more sincere and targeted your content is, the more meaningful the conversation.

2. Sum it up

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of education marketing floating around social platforms and online ads. Keep yours brief with the key facts and bold messages up front. Few people have the time to read a 2,000 word article where the pros of your institution are buried in filler. Try to make your USPs crystal clear – there’s not another campus anywhere else that has the unique combination of advantages that yours does. The more you can nail why your university is the best at what it does, concisely, the more likely the message is to stick in people’s memories.

3. Streamline the website

There’s a good chance your content is hoping to draw people to the website, whether it’s to find out more about a particular programme or get info on applying. Don’t lose interest at this stage. Make sure your website is quick to load and easy to navigate. Keep contact forms short and think about utilising a chatbot to help with the most commonly asked questions. A bloated or confusing experience won’t help your narrative. (If there’s video content – always remember closed captions!)

4. Hit up the right channels with the right content

It goes without saying your content should be mobile responsive. Before you plan anything, re-evaluate your social channels to find out where you should focus your attention. Depending on the course, your audience might be more interested in hearing from you on Twitch over Facebook. This also varies by country so if you’re talking to an international market, you’ll need to do some research.

Tiktok might seem daunting to anyone but Gen Z but it’s only growing from strength to strength and plenty of universities are jumping on the bandwagon. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, however. Take a look at what your competitors are doing on their social platforms or take your inspiration from institutions farther afield. What’s more, since there’s no longer one route to university, it helps to branch out. Maybe you could strike up a partnership with a local school, college or community group?

5. Reassure, but be honest

It’s been a rocky year, to say the least, and students have been let down on a number of fronts. A lot of young people are reconsidering going to university at all following the pandemic. Others will be looking for opportunities closer to home or courses with flexible learning options. Your marketing should be reassuring, but realistic. Talk to your audiences as equals and try to pre-emptively put worries to rest with FAQs or livestream discussions.

6. Evaluate

Sometimes this part is overlooked in favour of rushing onto the next project but it’s vitally important to understand how people interact with your content. Delve into student surveys and talk to your audiences about why they decided to choose your university (or why they didn’t!). The more research you can gather, the easier it is to pinpoint what you need to do differently next time. Keep an eye out on education marketers who report on widespread trends and what the predictions are for next year to stay ahead of the game.

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