6 Effective Digital Marketing Practices for Higher Education Institutes

As educational institutions promote their degree programs more aggressively, universities face increasing difficulty in distinguishing themselves and capturing the attention of potential students. With a wide range of options available, students often struggle to navigate the selection process.

Given the substantial investment involved in higher education, students seek answers to important questions:

  • What are the costs associated with the degree program?
  • What career prospects does the degree program offer?
  • What has the experience been like for alumni?

To attract top-tier students, your digital marketing strategy and efforts must prioritize addressing such inquiries.

In the modern digital world, prospective students mostly discover educational institutions through search engines like Google. The visibility of universities in these searches depends greatly on factors such as SEO, Facebook Ads, and Google Ads tailored for educational institutions.

Read on for effective practices for digital marketing in higher education and learn how to leverage them to achieve your objectives.

Why Is Digital Marketing the Best Means to Impress Students?

There are several compelling reasons why digital marketing stands out as the optimal approach to reaching the majority of today’s student population:

  • Today, students actively seek educational and training courses online.
  • Students allocate more of their time to internet usage compared to other media platforms like television.
  • Parents, guardians, and students increasingly evaluate universities based on their website and online presence.
  • The internet serves as the primary channel for submitting applications and seeking admission-related information.
  • Expats and students from distant locations often rely heavily on the web for college admissions.

Top Digital Marketing Strategies for Educational Institutes

1. Establish a Strong Social Media Presence

Building a robust presence on social media stands as one of the most effective strategies for marketing higher education. According to Statista, approximately 5.04 billion individuals worldwide currently utilize social media platforms, accounting for nearly 62% of the global population.

Crafting a persona of your student demographic through social media can prove invaluable for a higher education digital marketing strategy, considering factors such as age, gender, educational background, aspirations, challenges, and core values. Implementing best practices for marketing higher education provides insight into precisely who is engaging with your content, furnishing valuable data to refine your educational marketing strategies.

2. Create a Mobile-Optimized Website

Despite over half of search traffic originating from mobile devices, it’s surprising that many educational institutions have yet to develop a truly mobile-friendly version of their website. In today’s mobile-centric era, ensuring compatibility with smartphones is just as important as catering to desktop users. This includes easy-to-read text, clickable calls-to-action (CTAs), and organized content that adapts to a small screen.

You might wonder: Isn’t a responsive website sufficient? While it may have sufficed a few years ago, today’s mobile users have even higher expectations regarding website design and usability.

Your mobile-friendly website should include:

  • A captivating and visually appealing homepage.
  • A responsive design to ensure adaptability across various devices.
  • Streamlined navigation to enhance user experience.
  • Optimizes CTAS and forms.
  • Quick loading times to prevent user frustration and maintain engagement.

3. Monitor Online Reviews

Why are online reviews crucial? It’s widely acknowledged that today, 90% of consumers consult online reviews before visiting a store or making purchasing decisions. Given this, online reviews should hold significant importance in your higher education digital marketing strategy.

It is recommended to simplify the review process to encourage student participation. Moreover, injecting a bit of enjoyment into the process can be beneficial. Consider implementing a star-based rating system and making verbal feedback an option rather than mandating lengthy written responses.

Promptly responding to online reviews is also essential. While it’s tempting to dismiss negative feedback, we advise against ignoring them. Instead, view negative comments as opportunities to showcase your institution’s ability to address challenges effectively.

To boost the number of reviews, consider offering incentives such as gift cards, discounts or bonus points. Often, a gentle request for reviews through personalized communication channels like email can yield positive results.

4. Leverage Video Content

Educational video content helps distribute necessary knowledge, empowering your audience to make informed decisions. However, the motivation behind producing and sharing informative content isn’t purely altruistic. The ultimate objective extends beyond contributing to a more knowledgeable society.

Educational video content offers several advantages for businesses that invest in it:

  • Establishing Expertise and Credibility: By offering valuable insights and information, educational content showcases your company’s proficiency in its field, enhancing credibility among your audience.
  • Instilling Confidence in Products and Services: Informative content fosters a sense of trust and confidence in your offerings, reassuring potential customers of the value they can expect.
  • Driving Traffic and Generating Engagement: Educational videos help attract traffic to your website and social media platforms, increasing the likelihood of your content being shared across various channels.
  • Empowering Customers: Perhaps most importantly, educational content empowers customers by providing them with knowledge and understanding, enabling them to make informed decisions. This helps foster a more organic and mutually beneficial relationship.

5. Embrace SEO Strategies

The rise in digital searches for educational resources highlights the important role of SEO services in educational institutes. In 2024 alone, the Online Education market is expected to generate around $185.20 billion in revenue. Forecasts suggest further growth in the coming years, with the market expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 9.1%, reaching an estimated size of $475 billion by 2030.

Several key trends emphasize the critical importance of implementing effective SEO strategies:

  • Enhancing Visibility in Search Results: SEO facilitates higher rankings in search results for pertinent queries, enhancing the likelihood of attracting prospective students’ attention.
  • Targeted Traffic and Increased Engagement: A well-executed SEO strategy ensures that website traffic originates from individuals genuinely interested in educational offerings, resulting in increased engagement and conversion rates.
  • Setting Apart from Competitors: Amidst intense competition, a solid SEO presence can differentiate an institution from its peers, drawing in more applicants and enrollments.
  • Staying Relevant and Accessible: As search behaviors evolve, SEO strategies enable institutions to remain accessible and relevant to their target audience.

6. Maximize Lead Generation with PPC Advertising

Utilizing online platforms, such as search engines, that offer pay-per-click (PPC) advertising services can significantly enhance lead generation for higher education institutions. With PPC advertising, advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad, providing an avenue to drive traffic to their websites and supplementing organic visits.

Here are five types of digital ads you can use for your higher education marketing strategy:

  • Display Ads: Standard banner and image ads showcased on websites, serving as visually appealing means to attract potential students.
  • Social Media Ads: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer diverse options for paid advertisements, ranging from boosted posts to interactive content, facilitating tailored marketing for higher education institutions.
  • Native Ads: Tailored ads based on interests and user behavior, seamlessly integrated into feeds, websites, and apps, ensuring non-intrusive engagement with prospective students.
  • Search Ads: Ads featured in search engine results, such as Google and Bing, triggered by keywords searched by users, enabling precise targeting and visibility.
  • Video Ads: Content-rich advertisements that offer ample opportunities for establishing emotional connections with the audience.

Moreover, PPC advertising allows for precise targeting based on factors like age, interests, and demographics, enabling advertisers to generate high-quality leads in a short time period.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is having a digital marketing strategy essential for educational institutions?

Digital marketing can help enhance visibility, engage prospective students, and allow for targeted advertising and analysis of marketing efforts.

How can institutions establish a strong social media presence?

Create engaging content, utilize platforms strategically, interact with followers, and analyze audience preferences.

Why is mobile optimization crucial for institution websites?

Optimizing for mobile improves user experience, accessibility, and search engine rankings, attracting more prospective students.

What role do online reviews play in digital marketing?

Online reviews shape perceptions, build trust, and offer opportunities for improvement and responsiveness to feedback.

How does video content benefit educational marketing?

Videos convey information, help showcase campus life, and engage with prospective students, enhancing brand awareness and credibility.

What are key SEO strategies for educational institutions?

Optimize website content, build quality backlinks, conduct keyword research, and stay updated on search engine algorithms.

What are the benefits of hiring PPC advertising services for lead generation?

PPC advertising allows for targeted campaigns, cost control, performance tracking, and effective lead generation.

In 2024, digital marketing has become a necessity for educational institutions. Staying adaptable and embracing innovation are crucial to lead in the digital world.

For educational businesses looking to enhance their digital marketing strategy, 2020 Vision Digital offers comprehensive services tailored to your needs. If your business is facing profitability challenges or uncertainty about digital marketing’s effectiveness, now is the time to consult a trusted professional.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary digital consultation and explore options to boost your website traffic, attract more customers, and increase your sales, revenue, and profits.