The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to many educational activities; however, the online world allowed schools and educational institutions to continue teaching and learning remotely. As a result, millions of students are now learning from home, and with the resurgence of social media, marketers must adapt their strategies to reach this audience.
While some educational institutions have adjusted their curriculum to incorporate remote learning, many have chosen to do the complete opposite, and maintain their in-person classes. The shift to online education has led to unprecedented competition, and with fewer barriers to entry, more people are able to pursue an education.
As an educator, you might be wondering how you can market your online university during these unprecedented times. What will prospective students value most in a university? How can you position your school as the go-to destination for online education?
In this article, we will discuss six techniques you can use to market an online university.
1. Create Valuable Content
One of the most effective ways to attract prospective students is to create valuable content.
To do this, you must have a good understanding of your target audience’s needs and desires. You can use tools like Google Analytics to understand what types of content your audience interacts with the most. Create content that addresses these needs and desires, and you will gain credibility with users who are looking for quality content on your topic.
For example, if your university is in the field of business administration, you could create content that provides useful tips for students on how to manage their finances efficiently while studying remotely. Or if your school is focused on hospitality, you could create content that provides tutorials on how to make the perfect cup of coffee, or shows you the ropes of being a professional bartender. The choice is completely up to you.
2. Personal Branding Is Still Key
Building a strong personal brand is still a significant factor to consider when marketing an online university. After all, the university’s reputation will be largely determined by the strength of its brand. So, whether you are an educator, a business person, or an administrative officer, you will need to ensure that your personal brand is consistently presented to the public. You can use personal branding to position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field, and show the world your value added to the university.
To build a personal brand, you must first establish yourself as an expert in your field. This means that you must have in-demand expertise that can be valued by others. Once you have established yourself as an expert, you can choose to use your personal brand to further your objectives, such as:
- Increasing enrollment
- Raising money
- Positioning the university as a prestigious institution
- Gaining accreditation
- Adding value to the university
- Enhancing the student experience
- Establishing yourself as a thought leader
The choice is completely up to you, but establishing yourself as an expert in your field will greatly increase your marketability.
3. Adapt Your Approach To The Times
The approach you take to marketing an online university will depend on the current climate of the market you are in. In these unprecedented times, many institutions have shifted their focus to digital marketing, including SEO, social media, and web content.
However, with fewer touchpoints between educational institutions and their students, marketers must adapt their strategy to engage effectively with this audience. This means that rather than relying solely on inbound marketing methods, you should also consider including more traditional marketing techniques, like email marketing or telemarketing. Many universities, for example, have used their digital marketing budgets to fund a major marketing campaign, which in return, has generated incredible results.
You can also use marketing analytics tools like Google Analytics to track the effectiveness of your different marketing channels.
4. Create Effective Advertising And Sales Materials
Another important aspect of marketing an online university is ensuring that all of the marketing materials are effective. While you might want to rely on digital marketing to attract students, you should not neglect the power of good old-fashioned, outbound marketing. Designing good advertising materials is not as easy as it seems, and takes a considerable amount of time. Fortunately, copywriters, graphic designers, and online marketers all have a role to play in creating compelling advertising materials.
Outbound marketing is often referred to as the “cold” or “banner” advertising approach, where you attract a customer by showing them your product, rather than telling them about your product. For example, if your university’s ad campaign focuses on increasing enrollment, you could create ads that highlight the school’s diverse student body, or its extensive offering of online degrees.
Outbound marketing is usually cheaper than inbound marketing, and is, therefore, considerably more accessible. Designing a compelling outbound marketing campaign, though, is not as simple as it seems. It requires a considerable amount of research into your target audience’s demographics, psychographics, and digital behaviors. This means that creating effective marketing materials, like landing pages and adverts, is not as easy as it seems, but it is certainly worth it.
5. Measure And Analyze The Effectiveness Of Your Campaigns
To continually improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, you must measure their results. Since you are learning about digital marketing and marketing an online university, measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns should not be difficult. The most effective method of measuring the results of a digital marketing campaign is through analytics tools. These tools help marketers assess the performance of their campaigns, and determine what worked and what did not.
To begin with, you should set up Google Analytics to track the performance of your different marketing channels. You can use this tool to measure, analyze, and report on the effectiveness of your campaigns. For example, you can use Google Analytics to track the performance of your website’s organic traffic, and the performance of your Facebook page, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts. Additionally, you can use this tool to track the performance of your digital marketing campaigns, and assess which methods worked best, and which ones need revision. Once you have set this up, you will be able to see accurate and detailed data on the results of your various campaigns. This data can then be used to determine what factors led to the greatest success, and which ones need to be adjusted to continue attracting more students.
6. Use Digital Marketing To Grow Your University
Marketing your university is not an easy task, but with a little preparation and planning, it is certainly achievable. The shift to online education has led to unprecedented competition, and with fewer barriers to entry, more people are able to pursue an education. This means that there is plenty of potential for your university to grow. You can use digital marketing to effectively reach this audience, and build a brand that is synonymous with quality.
Shifting to a digital marketing strategy has its perks. For one, you can significantly reduce your marketing costs, since you will no longer need to rely on costly advertising methods, like newspaper ads or magazine spreads. Social media, search engine optimization, and web content are all free, and can, therefore, be used to great effect without unduly harming your financials. Once you have established your digital marketing strategy, you can begin to see results, and enjoy the benefits that stem from a digital marketing strategy.