Increasing enrollment in your institution through the use of higher education marketing is always a challenge. It’s always helpful to stay two steps ahead of the trends, and to know what marketing methods will become most effective in the future.
Let’s examine the future of college marketing and higher education marketing trends by diving deep into some developing and upcoming marketing methods that you should consider exploring for your institution.
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Freely available education
Higher education institutions make a majority of their revenue from tuition. However, there is a growing trend online and in mobile apps to give education away for free. Online courses, how-to videos, and articles provide the same kind of information that students may have once had to pay to access.
While this may have initially been seen as a major loss for higher education, savvy colleges will begin to take advantage of freely available education as the trend continues. Expect the future of college marketing to include free online courses as a way to “introduce” students to a particular school, and convince them to enroll for more in-depth courses.
Higher education institutions will also embrace freely available articles and how-to information and use it to supplement their teaching. Rather than teach and charge for the same information available online for free, the best institutions will evolve their courses and classes to incorporate this widely available material as supplemental, perhaps even eliminating unnecessary textbooks—and reducing charges to students, making them happier and more likely to enroll.
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Online and mobile education
Education is no longer limited to the classroom, nor is it limited to a computer. As online learning continues to evolve, expect to see higher education marketing trends that include mobile and tablet learning, including mobile-optimized courses, videos, study guides, and textbooks.
You should also expect to see more college and private school websites optimized for smartphones. If your website is not already responsive — that is, designed to display properly on devices of all sizes without pinching to zoom or excessive scrolling—you should change this as quickly as possible. You can learn more about the best practices for higher education web design on this page.
Remarketing and native advertising
The future of higher education marketing will most certainly include more finely targeted, personalized marketing options. We are already seeing this in the available remarketing options offered through Google’s Ads program, which allow you to display ads to visitors who have already been to your site once before.
Remarketing ads work this way: there is a large network of websites who are paid by Google to reserve banner ad space on their site. When you pay for a remarketing ad, a visitor who has been to your institution’s website before will see an ad for your institution when they are on one of these network websites. This may subconsciously remind them to go back and continue learning more about your institution.
Native advertising is another future marketing option that you may want to consider. Native advertising consists of advertising created to closely match the content that surrounds it – for example, an ad for your college may be placed within an article about preparing for college, or your college may even sponsor the content of the article.
You should also expect advertising personalization to advance as time goes on, allowing you to better reach potential students and their families in new ways.
Updated communication methods
Communication methods will also evolve as time progresses. Right now, if you want to reach a potential student or their family member, you might update your website, post on social media, or perhaps send out something directly to them in the mail. However, online communication will become a better and more reliable way to get in touch with them and convince them to take action.
Email marketing, sometimes overlooked by digital marketers, will come back into favor as a reliable and effective way to reach both current and potential students. Email can be used not only to send updates on events and schedules, but also to provide information on the benefits of a college education.
Additionally, social media will continue to evolve, and will become a platform to share curated, relevant content—for example, information about effective study methods, local events, and so on. It will also become a “hub” for students to exchange information and ask questions that higher education staff should answer quickly and thoroughly.
Finally, content marketing—which is already an important trend for many businesses—will become an important part of every higher education marketing plan. Content marketing will allow universities and private schools to reach more potential students and families who are searching for information online, giving them answers and providing the help they need to make important decisions.
For example, a student who is concerned about the cost of college in their state may search for something like “how much does college cost in Alabama?” If your institution is located in this state, you could write an informative article answering this question in great detail, along with resources to help them calculate the cost of each degree they might be interested in. This would help them learn more not only about the cost of college, but about your college specifically — making them more likely to choose you for their educational needs.
Content marketing will continue to change as time goes on, and more businesses take advantage of its power. With the wealth of freely available information online, consumers will make better decisions, which will likely lead to additional advancements in marketing, advertising, and promotion. Those advancements are yet unknown, but we look forward to seeing them!
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Stay ahead of the trends with a leading internet marketing partner
Looking to stay ahead of these higher education marketing trends? Need help catching up to the current online marketing landscape? We can help. WebFX is an industry-leading, full-service Internet marketing firm, and we’d be happy to help you meet your goals to reach more students and grow your enrollment rate.
Feel free to call or contact us online to get a quote for our marketing services. Whether you’re looking for a little help with your website design or want a full-service partner, we’ll be happy to put together a custom quote just for you. We hope to hear from you soon!