As higher education becomes an increasingly competitive industry, it’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd and attract the best students. Digital marketing has revolutionised the field, leaving many institutions under pressure to adopt new technologies and use emerging platforms. University marketing teams need to be able to excel in a variety of core activities while remaining analytical, creative and tech-savvy.
Read on for a round-up of 11 key capabilities your university needs to have in-house or through a trusted outsourced partner to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing.
1. Content creation
Content is one of the most powerful ways to stand out from the crowd. You’ll need someone with strong writing skills to craft copy that represents your brand.
2. Website management
Your website is a lead-generation tool. It lets your university build a strong brand online, connect with your audience, drive qualified website traffic and generate qualified prospects.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is an effective way to distribute action-oriented messages to your students, leads and prospects; these may include university announcements, updates, premium content and more. Effective email marketers understand the importance of personalising email campaigns, segmenting audiences, and tweaking campaigns based on performance.
4. Graphic design
Visual storytelling is critical in modern marketing, and strong graphic design skills are key to enhancing the value of your marketing assets. This doesn’t have to be limited to images, and can also include video production and editing.
5. Social media
Social media has changed the way universities interact with prospects, students and alumni. It’s not just a channel but a new way to communicate with your community that should be part of your overall marketing strategy. If a prospect engages with your posts and shares them, your university’s page has the opportunity to be seen by a wider audience.
6. Event planning
Your team will need to plan and manage events to promote your university and its programmes. Open days, webinars, recruitment fairs and info and networking sessions are just some common examples of events that universities around the world organise to great success.
7. Lead management/nurturing
It’s important to manage and nurture leads received through communication channels such as your website, form downloads, phone and social media. Using a CRM or automated marketing solution is essential to organise and engage with these leads through the funnel, and help your team know exactly where prospects are in the lifecycle and what their preferences are.
8. Paid search management
An effective and optimised pay-per-click campaign can drive substantial results for your university. You’ll need to research how paid search programmes work, and continuously evolve your strategy based on results.
9. Public relations
PR includes any activity, online or offline, designed to improve communications and build relationships: these may be relationships with publications, industry journalists, bloggers or public speakers.
10. Data analysis
There’s a growing need to prove investment in marketing activities through ROI. Marketers in higher education must have strong analytical skills — including the ability to interpret website and marketing data, gauge the success of a campaign, and communicate meaningful results.
11. Strategic marketing
Your team need to look at all the activities above and understand the importance of aligning your marketing efforts with the journey taken by your potential students.
Without a modern and driven marketing team, universities will fall behind in their skill sets, understanding of technology and ability to run performance-based marketing programmes. What do you think higher education marketing teams should be doing? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @fullfabric