A large number of universities have shifted to online learning as a result of the pandemic. While most are providing valuable learning opportunities to the world, they also face the challenge of how to market themselves online.
This can be particularly challenging if you’re trying to reach out to international students, who are more likely to be searching for international universities in their area of study. Many universities are finding that their traditional marketing methods are no longer effective, and need to be adjusted to fit the digital landscape.
Here, we’ll walk you through the process of how to market your university online courses effectively.
Create a Compelling Business Case
If you’re planning to offer online courses, you’ll need to have a compelling business case to support their introduction. After all, you’re investing in new technology which could potentially transform the way your university operates. As a result, you’ll need to ensure that the benefits which can be derived from online learning are clearly outlined.
A strong business case will also allow you to attract the right students to your courses. If you want to expand your reach, consider creating a master’s program, or adding new subject areas to existing ones. As courses become more accessible, more people will be interested in taking them, increasing both your student intake and your earning potential. Strong marketing will also help develop a sense of brand loyalty in existing and potential students. As a result, you’ll enjoy increased support and recognition from administrative and financial stakeholders, increasing your success as a university.
Consider The Learning Environment
If you’re planning to offer online courses, you’ll need to consider the type of environment which students expect when they’re learning online. While the format is not as important as creating a pleasant experience for students (i.e. ensuring that the technology is functional and relevant to today’s world), you do need to bear in mind the type of content that will be required of students. Most notably, you’ll need to consider incorporating video content into your courses. This will help create a more engaging experience for students, increasing their retention rates and encouraging them to complete their studies.
Make The Learning Fun
Incorporating gaming elements into your course material can increase both the engagement and the effectiveness of your learning content. If students want to learn and feel that their time is being invested in something worthwhile, consider incorporating fun activities into your course material. Having a bit of a fun day every now and then can help break up the monotony of studying, encouraging more hours of learning which could result in increased productivity and reduced drop-outs.
Create A User-Friendly Website
If you’re planning to market your courses online, you’ll need to create a user-friendly website designed for students. This site will become your hub for all information regarding your course, and it will serve as a repository for all your marketing material. Be sure to include a clear call to action at the end of your site, compelling students to enroll in your course. If possible, create demo accounts for students so that they can try the course before committing to it. This will help reduce drop-outs and ensure a high level of engagement.
Diversify Your Marketing Channels
The majority of universities are using multiple methods to reach out to potential students. While most are focusing on social media to attract existing students, they’re also exploring other platforms not yet used by them. These include; viral banners, game mechanics, and sponsored posts on platforms like TikTok. Your university’s marketing team will help you determine the most effective channel for each type of student you have, or plan to have.
Create A Strong Online Presence
If you’re a university with a strong physical presence, consider investing in a strong online presence to complement it. While most universities have a website which they update regularly, they’re using a variety of tactics (i.e. blogs, videos, social media accounts) to maintain their online profile. As a result, there’s often duplication of effort, with different people trying to achieve the same results. To avoid this, create a central page which acts as a hub for all of your online marketing material. This will help you ensure that all your campaigns are coordinated, and it will help promote your university’s profile to interested students.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about if you want to market your university online. While the shift to online learning has transformed the way we all learn, it’s also presented new challenges to universities wanting to expand their reach. By considering the above tips, you’ll be able to develop the perfect marketing plan to reach the desired audience and generate the desired results.