Online Marketing Strategies for Educational Institutions

Many schools and universities have moved to online delivery of their courses, which in itself is a shift in how education is provided. The impact of this on marketing activities is profound.

Traditional marketing strategies and activities are being reworked to fit the new environment. The aim is to not only survive but thrive in a world where distance learning and digital marketing are the dominant ethos.

Traditional Marketing

The concept of traditional marketing isn’t going anywhere, but it is changing to fit the new environment. Schools and universities are adopting this as an opportunity to reach more people with their message and grow their audiences.

If you’re doing any sort of marketing activity, whether it’s traditional or digital, then chances are you’re engaging with students. They’re a crucial audience for any business, but especially for educational institutions considering how influential they can be in shaping your brand and product. The student demographic is incredibly receptive to marketing messages, and higher education is a fast-growing industry, so it’s an area that organizations want to pay attention to.

One of the more obvious changes to your marketing strategy will be to adapt your approach to suit online learners. While you might want to consider using video content to engage students and make them feel like you’re really listening to what they have to say, face-to-face interaction and engagement is still a vital part of the learning process. You’re going to want to make sure that your marketing efforts reflect this shift and bring the online and offline environments together. This may mean using digital marketing to gain more traction and reach more people, but it also means getting out there and meeting potential customers in real life.

Student Demographics

If you’re not already doing so, it’s time to consider how you’re going to engage and attract students to your educational institution. This is a crucial bit of the puzzle for any marketer or business owner considering distance learning and the digital transformation of higher education.

While the internet has made information available to all students regardless of where they are, not everyone’s an online learner. This is where you as an educational marketer fit in. You can help bring online learning to the great unwashed masses by ensuring that your institution uses modern technologies and offers all the necessary apps and platforms to enable students to learn anywhere, anytime.

A 2015 FutureLearn survey found that while 90% of respondents used digital learning tools on a daily basis, only 29% were entirely satisfied with the quality of these tools. In other words, this is an area that schools can improve upon to ensure better learning experiences for their students.

Traditional Activities

Traditionally, marketing departments at educational institutions have been responsible for advertising, public relations, and other forms of communications for the institution as a whole. These are all still important functions, but they’re likely to be taken over more and more by digital marketing specialists who understand how to engage students effectively through social media and other online platforms.

For example, you might want to get involved with a student-run marketing society and help promote their projects and studies. You could also set up a marketing blog where you and your team can write and curate content related to educational topics like marketing, management, and business. You can use this platform to build your contacts in the industry and to attract potential employers. Plus, it’s always good to have more than one contact in case someone snubs you or treats you unfairly. (Don’t worry, it will never happen. You’ll just have to be that bit more confident!)

Another vital part of your marketing strategy will be to establish and maintain strong working relationships with key industry players. These players may be the providers of software, platforms, or services that your school or university uses in some shape or form. By partnering with these companies, you’re not only making valuable connections but also creating opportunities to grow your business. Consider working with industry bodies and trade associations to identify best practices, develop strategies, and find new ways to integrate technology to further your educational institution’s aims.

A robust marketing strategy can also include events and workshops that bring professionals together to network and share knowledge. If possible, try and host one or two a year where you can get leading experts in your chosen fields to come together and speak about their areas of expertise. This can be both a source of inspiration and a valuable opportunity to connect with potential customers and collaborators.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is also evolving to fit the new environment, but it isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the role of the marketer is going to become even more vital in connecting with and engaging students. While you may want to consider pivoting your strategy to fit the new media landscape, you also need to remember why you got into marketing in the first place.

The aim of your digital marketing strategy is to generate awareness, interest, and engagement in your chosen topics and products. The best way to do this is by using online platforms like social media to connect with potential customers, create awareness, and shape interest.

It’s time to evolve your strategy and consider how to use the many digital tools at your disposal. While it’s always a good idea to remain active on social media, it’s also vital to understand what platforms your target audience uses and create content for these platforms. This ensures that your audience knows what to expect and that you’re providing the best possible experience on any given platform.

With so much change and uncertainty, it’s time to evolve your strategy and get ready to battle for survival. But you’re in luck, because you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to help you figure out your preferred marketing approach, identify the essential ingredients to include in your plan, and create a roadmap for success.