Each beginning of the school year, as a marketing and sales team, we begin with the pressures of reaching new goals: either to achieve a greater number of enrollees or to reach better qualified prospects or even to improve the prestige of our institution (both to obtain better teachers and students). For this it is always good to go one step ahead of the market and take advantage of the resources we have at our disposal when creating the marketing strategies of our institution.
Next I will share 3 marketing strategies for educational institutions that have helped others and that you can start implementing as soon as you finish reading this article:
1. Give them what they want
It sounds simple right? Well, it’s something so obvious that many universities forget it.
Nowadays, with all the bombardment of information that young people have, it becomes increasingly difficult to highlight. We need to become relevant as a university, and for that, we have to create and share valuable and personalized content.
Think about it, in your strategy of tracking prospects you call them, send them whats, send them emails … and many times it is even the same information for everyone and you only change the name (or worse, send a communal email for all of them at the same time). I’m sorry to tell you, that this is done by ALL universities and it only makes you one more …
If you really want to promote the marketing strategies of your institution, you must go a little further. Imagine being able to personalize your web page with the person’s name, and be able to share information, either in the form of articles, infographics or videos, customized to the type of content they have been looking for on your page. I’ll show you an example:
Imagine that Claudia left us her data on our page because she said that she is interested in the Industrial Engineering career and has been navigating precisely through the career page. A few days later, when Claudia returns to review the site, it suggests the news, articles and videos that you have published about this career; and in certain sections, your page will be able to greet her with a «Hello Claudia! Download X material» … I assure you that Claudia’s experience will be much more impressive and she will remember you for those little details that other universities do not have (You’re wondering «Is that possible?» Yes, it is possible.)
Remember that as a university, you interact with people at a very intimate level (or at least they should), and the difference between your university and your competition, will be these experiences. Do not wait for them to sign up with you to start closing them! Give them those moments since they showed the minimum interest in choosing you as the way to start their professional career. Which brings us to the next point…
2. Create experiences
As I began to tell you in the previous point, you should try to create experiences for your prospects in each stage and strategy that you are implementing. Think of the tours of your university, fairs, emails, calls, workshops, visits to schools and each of the strategies you implement to reach your goal each period … Now think how you could make more pleasant and even shocking each of them. Sure you jump with one or another idea, write them down! For now I will share some examples to flow your inspiration:
Experiences such as brand positioning
A university in Colombia, as part of its short-term mission had the «Educate to transform», and looked for ways to be consistent with this and go at the same time a step forward for their commercial goals. Based on the fact that children from an early age (from 4 years old) awaken the cognitive process and brand identification, decided to approach them and help them to discover their professional dreams and vocations. They were invited to an amusement park, and through a 4D trip across the world, they were taking different professions and putting them into practice through the game.
This is something that not only these kids will remember when they have to choose a university, but also their parents.
Experiences in School Fairs
Have you ever thought about all the fairs you have attended? If you are one of those who give things like glasses, t-shirts or anti-stress figurines, sure several kids come to you … but I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not for you, it’s because of that little gift. Yes, I know that is your intention, but a good percentage of those prospects that you get will not be of any use to you and you will only have spent that time of your advisors because very probably they do not even remember those guys when you contact them again.
Think about how you could create better strategies by making you stand out from all the universities that are in the fair and that do remind you later.
A Canadian university, thinking about this, installed a photo booth in its stand with the objective that the kids would be characterized as they imagined they would be after their career. This brought many advantages:
- They became very attractive for attendees
- They could obtain information such as the career they were interested in
- The boys got something that they would brag about with their social circles
3. Conect with them
Whether you are looking for millennials or Generation Z, you should know that they are super connected to the virtual world. They like the immediate and the simple. And that’s why they consume more video content (since it involves very little effort), and at least 50% of the reproductions are from cell phones or tablets. But you must be careful, because they are also very demanding and critical in what they consume, so you should think very well what kind of content you are going to provide them.
This year, as you may have already noticed, there was a boom in live video content; Whether they share it through Facebook, Instagram or any other network, it has definitely become a must in your institution’s marketing strategy (or should be).
If you mix this with trends like snapchat, you can create content and experiences very different from those of other universities. For example, you can return from a visit to your university a «treasure hunt» by sharing sections in snapchat and they should look for them.
You can get promos and special material that only those who are your true fans will notice (with what you can segment), and if it is really good, you can be sure that they will share it with their networks.
You must be aware of this type of content, because it opens the doors to become global in a heartbeat. These generations like to share their experiences, and helping them a bit with the focus (such as events, hashtags and tags) can make them become your spokespeople. For example: there are universities that have student ambassadors that do a kind of sales work with the prospects, but with a closer approach because they are talking with someone of the age and someone who is already living your university; These ambassadors share stories and moments of their days at your university. Something simple and genuine that attracts more than sophisticated productions.
You must look for a way to stand out, be genuine and look to think like them: if you had their age, what would you like to do? .. sometimes it is a good question to start innovating the strategies of your institution.
My last advice would be: measure ALL. Remember not to implement strategies just because they are «very cool»; always implement them with one objective in mind and measure it: did you achieve what you expected? Did you increase or decrease in some percentage compared to past strategies? … At the end of the day, the important thing will only be:
- Did you reach your goal?
- What was your ROI (Return on Investment)?
Cheer up! Start to innovate the marketing strategies of your institution and stand out in this crazy world.
P.S. If you really want to start implementing different strategies focused on the goals and ROI, I suggest reading the ebook «Introduction to Inbound Marketing for Higher Education», just click on the box below to download it: