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To Meet Enrollment Goals, Go Digital

higher education marketing

Marketing is an intrinsic part to the education industry but the methods and scope of higher education marketing have changed drastically in recent years.

The attitudes of students and parents have changed, from how they conduct research to how they decide which school to attend. With increasing fees and tuition, four-year schools are now taking six (or more) years to complete. This means people are more focused than ever on determining what sort of return they will get on higher education, before they spend the money on it. Prospective students and their parents are concerned with whether there will be adequate job prospects right after graduation and if there are creative, cost-effective solutions to earning credits and getting a degree. With the rise of online courses, and other digital education programs, brick and mortar schools have to be more flexible about where and how students attend class. So what are the best techniques for attracting and converting prospective students?

Long gone are the days of relying on a guidance counselor, flipping through an ugly school brochure, or taking a mindless campus tour. There’s been a dynamic shift from traditional marketing strategies to inbound marketing efforts.

Why Traditional Marketing Isn’t Enough When It Comes To Higher Education

Like any other purchase, students and parents are now conducting the majority of their research about colleges online. As research and decision techniques have changed (to be primarily web-based), education marketing strategies must also change.

Direct mailers, TV, radio, alumni referrals, cold calls, going to career fairs – these simply are less effective (and cost-inefficient) compared to modern, digital marketing techniques. To establish your institution’s brand and engage with prospective students, the majority of higher ed marketing should utilize online strategies. This means having an engaged social media presence, optimizing email campaigns, using video, and writing blogs.

In addition to the content published by an institution, there is a plethora of information at the tips of prospects’ fingers: review sites (for teachers as well as the universities themselves), websites or blogs whose sole purpose is to help with the selection process, and social media which provides a glimpse into the daily life on a campus.

No institution should wait for a high school graduates to come to them. Be proactive and implement inbound marketing strategies to attract and convert prospects!


Optimize your content to attract traffic to your website and increase awareness of the programs offered. Try blogging, building microsites, and being active on social media (it’s the only guaranteed way to reach the digital generation.)


Maybe your prospective student values sports. Or job placement opportunities. Personalize your content around the student’s values and your strengths as a university.


Engage audiences with unique content that is customized to where they are in the admission process, or to their intended areas of study, or to what web pages they’ve visited. If you tailor campaigns to reflect what your audience wants to see, you’ll create better content that captivates and helps move the prospective student further down the application process.

The ultimate goal of any college or university is to drive inquiries from prospects and get them to apply. Higher ed marketers can achieve this by providing value. Remember, ‘quality over quantity.” (I.e., there is no reason to be on all the social platforms.)

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From raising funds to driving enrollment for the next school year, inbound marketing is a powerful technique. Digital marketing (everything from social media to blogging) should be an integral part of any higher education marketing strategy. Want to dive a little deeper? Check out the e-book below.

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Here are a few more inbound marketing resources we think you’ll like:

Attract, Engage, Delight Customers Online with these Steps to Successful Inbound Marketing

New Marketing Data: Inbound Campaigns Consistently Delivering ROI

Marketers All Agree on what the Most Overrated Marketing Tactic Is

What is Integrated Marketing?


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