With Covid restrictions lessening, more students are heading back to school. Online learning is now a viable option for those who want to study but can’t due to limitations imposed by the pandemic. This has created a niche market for education marketing professionals who can help colleges and universities attract and retain more students.
Undergraduate student marketing is a huge and growing industry. According to the US Census Bureau, there were 44.8 million students enrolled in undergraduate programs at American colleges and universities in 2019. That’s up from 27.1 million students in 2008.
And this group is more likely to be targeted by digital marketers than any other before them. After spending years catering to the needs of high-school and college students, marketers now have the opportunity to engage with younger generations through online learning.
Colleges and universities can also play an important role in helping to prepare students for the job market. Many higher-education institutions now offer specialized bachelor’s degrees in digital marketing. If you’re looking to develop your marketing skills, why not consider getting a master’s in marketing?’
Let’s explore how to market to undergraduates online.
Learn From Experts
One of the best things about the rise of online learning is the opportunity it provides to learn from experts rather than having to rely solely on your own personal research. With access to so many higher-education institutions and MOOCs (massive open online courses), students have unprecedented access to training and information.
Because of this, they’re often well-equipped to do their own searches and find the answers they need. What used to be a luxury reserved for professionals is now available to everyone. And that means opportunities for students, too.
One of the main things educators can do is to teach students to be independent researchers. If you’re looking to gain experience or want to further your education, consider taking a MOOC. These are open online courses that anyone can enroll in. You’ll receive a certificate of completion upon successful completion of the course. This is a great way to expand your professional network and gain valuable knowledge.
Marketing To This Audience Is Challenging
Although many marketers will welcome the opportunity to work with a previously untapped audience, marketing to undergraduates presents some unique challenges.
As a marketer, how are you going to convince this group of highly-educated, research-oriented, information-seeking individuals to invest in your product or service?
Simply throwing money at the problem won’t get you very far. To successfully market to undergraduates, you need to understand their needs, wants, and the factors that motivate them to make a purchase decision.
Know Your Audience
It’s important to understand what motivated your target audience to seek out educational opportunities in the first place. What problems are they trying to solve? Who are their competitors marketing to?
By understanding the underlying issues and challenges your subject matter experts are facing, you can craft effective educational marketing messages to motivate them to action. For example, if you’re marketing to students, you might want to consider highlighting opportunities for graduates in your target area. This is especially important if your product is geared toward professionals and you want to draw in the more academically-oriented audience. Conversely, students who have a more practical bent of mind will value an in-demand skill like public relations more than an education in philosophy.
Know Your Product
If you’re marketing a service or product, you need to know a lot about what you’re selling. In the case of educational marketing, this includes everything from the curriculum to the textbooks. Just because something is online doesn’t mean it’s easy to research. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be considered.
If you’re worried about whether or not your product is accurate, you can test it out with your target audience by holding a live chat session with them. That way, you can be sure that you’re providing them with the information they need without being deceptive.
Create A Community
Even though education is available online, students still crave the social experience of connecting with other students. If you want to attract this audience, you need to provide them with a community. Students are more likely to be loyal to your brand if they feel a part of something bigger. Create a Facebook group for your target audience where they can discuss courses, post questions, and network with others.
When you have a closed, private group on Facebook, you can be sure that your students are going to be more engaged with your content. This is because they have an incentive to keep the group private so that only participants can see what’s being posted. Even if you don’t have a private group yet, you can get started for free. Just go to
and create a group called “Students of XXXX.” In this group, you can invite your target audience to join and begin engaging with other members. You can also set the membership to be private so that only people you’ve invited can see the group. Doing this also means you can control the flow of content. Create a schedule for the group and make sure to post at regular intervals so that everyone knows when new content is available.
Treat Marketing As A Science
Even though most marketing is focused on generating revenue, there are solid academic foundations that can be followed to build a solid marketing program.
When approaching marketing as a science, you can take a problem-solving approach to develop strategies for marketing. Following the F. I. T. (Find, Identify, Target, and Test) Method, you’ll be able to develop creative strategies to solve specific marketing problems. For example, if you’re marketing to students and you want to increase your outreach, developing a plan to randomly email prospective students from your target list is a solid strategy.
Since students are a key part of your marketing plan, it’s important to keep track of their actions and interactions so that you can determine which strategies are working and which ones are not.
To this end, you need to have good analytics in place to track the behavior of your students and determine the success of your marketing efforts. From there, you can craft smarter strategies to get more out of your campaign.
An important part of having a successful marketing program is measuring the results of your campaign. For instance, if you’re running a paid ad on a search engine, you’ll want to keep track of the leads that came in as a result of the ad. This way, you can determine whether or not the investment was worth it.