Though it may seem odd, marketing has always played a vital role in education. Part of the reason for this is that our perception of marketing is the loud and flashy video adverts or big billboards that have epitomized advertising for a long time.
Traditional or outbound marketing relied on delivering the message as far as possible in hopes to attract customers. The new school of marketing or inbound marketing entails talking to people in a language they understand and providing content that offers real value. This method has been used in education for a very long time.
This article, therefore, examines the role digital marketing plays in the education sector, and how it is altering the way learning institutions interact with audiences.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to encounter a college or school without at least a website. Increasingly, most universities now offer registration services purely through their websites. The last few years have also witnessed the growth of Massive Online Open Courses. A good example is Udemy and Coursera. Universities are also starting to offer similar courses through their online platforms or collaboration with third parties. This proves that digital media is radically changing the perception of education and marketing.
Learning institutions traditionally relied on spoken words and custom writing on newspapers and other print media. This resulted in market segmentation, and an institution’s “brand image” became well-defined by its educational content and what people said about it. However, digital consumers have a different perspective. Most college applicants today are digital natives who engage in more online interactions than offline.
Therefore, learning institutions must do whatever it takes to develop digital marketing plans that are as effective as their offline methods.
A customer journey refers to the communications, emails in particular, that strive to convert leads into customers. In this scenario, everything boils down to how you entice the customer and the amount of value you provide. There are two major aspects involved here. They are as follows:
This process involves tailoring communication to the unique needs of the client. Including a unique greeting or a name in the subject line is not enough. Personalized communication should involve the establishment of buyer personas and modifying communication to meet their specific needs.
Consumers today are increasingly becoming marketing-resistant. However, for learning institutions, value addition is easier to achieve than for any other business. It can be achieved by different approaches such as offering price cuts on short courses. If applied at the right moment, it has the potential of becoming an efficient conversion tool. Continuously providing valuable content on the right stages of the buying process can guarantee you more customers.
Social media operates on principles similar to word-of-mouth marketing. People usually talk about the meaningful experiences they had with particular brands.
Therefore, word-of-mouth marketing and social media marketing are different manifestations of the same thing. However, there is one critical advantage that social media gives the school, and that is the ability to interact with the audience rather than talking at them. You can have one-on-one conversations with prospective students as well as the continuing ones. It is a lot easier to address their requirements at an individual level.
Social media is fast becoming an important avenue for schools. Almost all learning institutions make some use of social media platforms. It is not only a way of keeping in touch with both prospective and existing students, but also a way to develop a distinct brand identity and share the institution’s culture.
Digital marketing has become a promising type of promotion due to widespread access to the Internet. Below are some advantages of using digital marketing for learning institutions.
Marketing over the internet is a good option to attract a large audience at a lesser cost.
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram comprise a massive section of the audience. Therefore, marketing through such platforms can help attract followers thus increasing the awareness of the brand.
Reputation can be enhanced through quality blog posts, online videos, online testimonials among other strategies.
Therefore, it is clear that for educational institutions to be successful in the current era, using and implementing comprehensive and well-designed digital marketing strategies is vital.