Higher education establishments are now operating in an increasingly competitive environment and this is likely to get fiercer rather than easier in years to come. Their marketing departments urgently need to examine what they can achieve on their own and what they need to outsource to a professional education marketing agency.
The background to all this is that students no longer have to choose from a limited menu when it comes to courses. They are now in the driving seat and are able to find an education programme that fits their needs exactly. It’s almost like the difference between a ready-made suit and one that is made to measure. This huge expansion in choice is, in itself, largely due to the growth in the number of higher education institutions and the competition between them.
Marketing teams have to be alert to the fact that the old-fashioned printed prospectus has now been superseded by digital channels based on the web. With prospective students viewing so much on tablets and smartphones, promotional material has to be technologically compatible with these devices so that messages can be optimally viewed.
Also, because of the explosion in Social Media, the marketing effort now has to extend from the application/enrollment stage right up to graduation. This is because existing undergraduates need to act as advocates and ambassadors for their universities across mufti-media channels. It is no use a university’s marketing department saying one thing if its own students are feeling and saying something else to the world at large.
Marketing teams will also need to forget about regular but occasional reviews of their campaign results. They need to have systems in place that analyze all data relating to response behavior by their customers, i.e. prospective students, in real time. As one education marketing agency professional puts it “This requires sophisticated technology, air-tight integration between systems, constant data analysis and reporting and activity-based logic that automatically adjusts the shopping experience as the prospective student advances through the process of researching the institution.”
It’s not enough simply to get a student to visit your university’s website. That is just the start. If visitors cannot easily find what they are looking for or are put off by something, they will invariably jump ship at an early stage. Therefore, marketers need to have a handle on bounce rates and which sections of the site are losing the attention of prospective students. Content also needs to be tailored in such a way that it can be comfortably viewed on mobile devices which is where most of the viewing is likely to take place in future years.
This article was brought to you by 360 Education, a professional education marketing agency who are dedicated to helping educational institutions with their education marketing – for more information please visit: http://www.360education.co.uk/