10 Simple Strategies for Higher Education Marketing

strategies higher education marketing university advertising college branding

Centuries ago, if you wanted to be educated, there were very higher education institutions in the whole name. Consequently, there was a heck of a lot of competition for very few spots.

Nowadays, the opposite is true. There are a hundred and one higher education institutions, and they now compete for students instead of vice versa. That's why higher education marketing has become a thing in recent years.

In this article, we'll teach you how to market your institution and attract a bigger student population. 

1. Specialize

The first thing to consider is that your higher education institution ought to have a specialization. If you look at the top universities in a general region, they're typically known for something specific. 

For instance, consider Stanford's reputation for its business program. Or Columbia's reputation for its law school. Or Duke for its phenomenal engineering curriculum.

Very few universities are able to pull off the idea that they're good at everything. So instead of trying that (and failing at it), take time to understand the niche that your institution fits into and capitalize on marketing your specialization.

2. Know Your Target Audience

It's important that you have a good understanding of your target audience. For a higher education institution, it is very simple to learn more about your target audience: interview your existing students.

Find out what makes them tick. Understand what they like to do. Figure out what their career and life aspirations are. 

All of this information will shape your understanding of your target audience. And once you have that, you can tailor your marketing strategy to appeal to your specific audience.

3. Above All Else: Stand Out

The most important thing to consider that any education marketing guide will impart to you is that your school needs to stand out from the rest. The higher education space is so crowded that you need to be able to somehow set your institution head and shoulders above the rest if you want to attract more students.

Figure out what it is that you can stand out with, whether that's your sports or residential life, and market that to your prospective students.

4. Leverage Social Media

Remember that nowadays, the younger generation spends multiple hours on social media every day. The golden rule of marketing says that you need to be where your customers are, so that means that your institution needs to establish a solid presence on all the leading social media platforms.

Forsake the dry, over-formal content and get down to earth and personal with your fan following in order to stand out.

5. Reach Out to Parents

Remember that even today, parents have a lot of influence over where their child goes to school. Thus, if you can convince parents that your institution is the ideal one for their child, then you're winning half the battle already.

Make sure that you don't forget parents in your marketing strategy. Have brochures and marketing resources at the ready for parents who want more info.

6. Do Presentations at Local Schools

It's important that you get high school students to start thinking about their higher education plans as soon as possible. Not only will that help the high schoolers to make better-informed decisions about how they want to shape their career, but that will also help you to get your brand in their heads early on. 

7. Advertise Career Services

Nowadays, students are more and more realizing the importance of a good career services department. Ultimately, the reason why anyone goes to a higher education institute is to prepare themselves for a job with significant income potential.

One of the most significant factors in getting a job right out of school is having a solid career services department that has built industry connections in the area already. By shoring up your career services department to the point where graduates are getting placed right out of school at high rates, you'll build something that will attract prospective students by the hundreds.

8. Convey Student Experience in a Website Experience

Another thing that's at the forefront of a high schooler's mind as they make decisions regarding where they go to college is the student life experience at the college. The better you're able to convey the student life experience at your institution, the more likely your prospective students will seek admission at your university.

There are several ways for you to convey student experience on your website. One such way is to utilize 3-D visual tours of the campus. Make sure you have ample information regarding student organizations, Greek life, and other involvement opportunities. 

9. Get in the Media

The best way to shoot your college to the top of your prospective students' minds is to get in the media for doing something positive. Whether that's service to the community, exceptional graduation rates, or a notable commencement speaker, any positive media attention will reflect well on your enrollment rates.

Positive media attention is also a great way to get in front of parents, given that the older generation spends more time looking at mainstream news outlets than the younger generation may.

10. Share Student Stories

Last but not least, one of the most effective higher education marketing strategies to share student stories. Bring in your successful students and alumni to make a few short videos where they go over the highlights of their experience at your institution and how the institution prepared them for a career and for life.

Students who are deciding on a college to go to are trying to figure out whether or not your institution will get them to where they want to be in life. By letting role models share their stories on your website, you'll convince these prospects that your institute is the way to go for them to achieve the career path they desire.

Higher Education Marketing Made Simple

There you have it — with this simple guide to higher education marketing, you can expect to see your enrollment rates increase this fall.

For more higher education marketing advice, be sure to check out the rest of the articles on the website! We have a wide variety of edtech and educational marketing articles right here on the Bootstrap Business Blog.

Official Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer Partners And News Outlets