The fast-paced technological advancement is causing significant changes in how businesses and different organizations are run. This time, we focus on the exponential technology growth, it's impact on the higher education sector and how you can make the most out of it..
This sector has undergone tremendous shifts and, now more than ever remains very competitive. Colleges and universities continue to employ cutting-edge digital marketing strategies to tap into the burgeoning student pool.
Every other year, countless students graduate from high school and apply for higher education institutions. It is a no-brainer then that these institutions ought to do all it takes to ensure visibility to potential students.
The importance of digital marketing for higher education cannot be underestimated. While the heads of universities and colleges are aware of this fact, they still lag behind in terms of maximizing the strategies they should use to stay ahead in the game.
In this light, these institutions need to understand that they target young people thus the user experience whenever they visit their sites should be unique and fun. Higher education digital marketing has to keep up with the fast pace of mobile phones and social media evolution in the current day.
Some of the key trends include:
#1 - Video Marketing
Each day, a huge number of people spend more than an hour of their day on Facebook or YouTube watching videos therein. In fact, approximately 500 million hours are spent on YouTube watching videos each day.
A majority of these people are aged between 18 and 34 years, meaning a huge chunk of them are enrolled in institutions of higher education.
It, therefore, becomes imperative for such institutions to capitalize on video marketing as an avenue to stay well ahead of others. It goes beyond just making videos; it entails making videos from a storytelling angle which are intriguing, engaging and more fun to watch.
#2 - Mobile-first Marketing
In the present day, in any given class, most of the students own mobile phones. 75% of them are constantly on their phones even when the class is in session. Higher Education Institutions should target this vast market by designing ads geared towards reaching these students.
The key to raising prospective students’ interest in your institution is by ensuring the content is view-friendly, clear, and the video and audio components are on point and are easily accessible on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
By sharing information this way, it is almost guaranteed that you will raise awareness about your institution and programs.
#3 - Live Streaming
Although there is a very thin line between video marketing and live streaming, these two trends are not to be misconstrued. While video marketing entails prior production of videos with the specific content, live streaming includes making videos on a hunch as an event or activity takes place.
This is a trend that higher education institutions cannot afford to ignore due to its effectiveness. Ways to take advantage of this cheap yet cool trend is by sharing all the events on campus, recording and streaming it in real time. This way, students have a first-hand experience of what is happening at any given time.
#4 - Authenticity in Messaging
The present era dictates that the approach used to reach students should be authentic and relatable. Running and maintaining a blog is a great thing, but having a blog that has engaging content and written in a relatable language is a true game-changer.
Potential students are more likely to choose your organization based on how authentic the content is, the ease of interacting with the information, and the promise to offer solutions to what they encounter in school. Passing across this information with a sense of humor will translate into success exponentially.
#5 - Email Segmentation
Email is a strategy that has been there for a while now. However, constant improvements and evolution of this platform have seen it get incorporated in the newer digital marketing trends.
In this case, email segmentation implies creating tailor-made content for different students based on their constant searches, hobbies and other interests.
Sending out information to a great number of people guarantees that content spreads far. On the other hand, hyper-personalizing the same information will reach a smaller number of people but still have great impact. The latter strategy far outweighs the former.
#6 - Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing entails contracting individuals with the great following on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to share their experience with a product or service without blatantly marketing it.
As opposed to telling people why they need to buy a certain product or service, influencer marketing shows why it is important to get it and also shows what followers are likely to miss out on.
Just like in the corporate world, this trend for higher education institutions works equally well. However, in this case, the influencers used are key students in leadership, sports or any other influential position.
The institution will offer notoriety to the student and in return, the student will share his / hers experiences about the school and why it is the ultimate destination for anyone seeking to learn and have fun while at it.
#7 - Multiple Social Media Platforms
Higher education marketers are now alive to the fact that having one single social media platform is not enough. A while back, only Facebook and Twitter were considered by higher education institutions.
However, the burgeoning social media landscape is prompting these institutions to change tact to tap into the many areas where students could be found.
For instance, the relatively new Snapchat platform and Instagram are becoming immensely popular among young people. This is forcing institutions to be on them to share on-campus experiences likely to draw the attention of guardians or students.
Embracing these trends at the moment might be costly to the institutions but it is almost guaranteed that time and effort spent in making these avenues will lead to great dividends in the future. The web is a fluid place and institutions ought to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape if they are to remain relevant at such a time and age.