Doing marketing for Higher Education is highly challenging. College enrollments are in decline and students’ priorities and communication styles have changed from one generation to another. How can you stay relevant as a higher education institution in the era of Snapchat and Instagram, without compromising on your reputation? How can you attract young people to enroll when more and more people are making a career out of Youtube instead of college? Read on to find out how StoryBrand for Higher Education can help you.
As someone involved or serving in the higher education sector, you no doubt have a vast pool of knowledge and experience. But at the same time, you would also acknowledge the fact that no one can be a jack of all trades, right?
Only a fool knows everything. A wise person knows there is always something new to learn. So, if you are looking for ways to promote your service, then you have come to the right place.
Grab a pen and paper and take notes as we begin our short but highly informative class on online marketing for higher education institutes.
Digital Marketing 101
In case you are wondering why ‘online’ marketing only when there are various other modes of communication, then let’s clear this right away.
First things first, this is the digital age. Be it the small, daily tasks like checking the weather forecast or much larger issues like real estate dealing or looking for a lawyer, the world today is characterized by the use of technology in literally everything. So, if your institute is still reliant on traditional methods such as a prospectus for encouraging students to apply there for higher education, then, needless to say, your service would never ‘qualify’ for the place they would be interested in.
Gone are the days when students searched print media for such information. In today’s tech-driven times, everything is done at the click of a button. Therefore, it’s not only important to have an active online presence, but it’s also highly essential to develop a compelling website that influences the prospective students to apply therein.
StoryBrand for Higher Education
Online marketing for higher education is unlike that for regular goods or services. Your institute is completely and wholeheartedly dedicated to serve the aspiring youth and help them achieve lifelong success by gaining a quality education. But how do you convey that to the students through a website?
The answer is simple: by telling a story.
Stories have long been used to guide, motivate or persuade the audience since a powerful story influences the mind and can have a lasting impact.
But remember that in the case of marketing for higher education, the hero of the story is the student, NOT your institution.
Promoting your service, boasting how long you have been catering to society or how great your infrastructure and facilities are is not the way to go about storytelling. Of course, these things matter but they are all secondary as students primarily look for whether your institute is best for them or not.
Thus, tell a story that lights the way for students and affirms that they will not only be signing up for four years of college but for a lifetime of success.
Who is your hero and how can you guide them?
Part of the challenge when doing marketing for higher education is the changing profile of the students. Gen Z has officially arrived and they are characterized by self-awareness, social responsibility, and a drive for success. Because they’re practically been using social media since forever, they know how to distinguish authentic digital content from “trying to seem cool” content.
They know what good user experience is and they expect the college they attend to have relatable, understandable and interesting content.
The good news is that there are tons of marketing strategies you can use to engage young people. And the trick is simple – follow the same guidelines as most brands and organizations do:
- Use social media, including Snapchat and Instagram
- Use chatbots and create webinars to attract new students
- Focus on storytelling, not selling
- Create contests to obtain as much user-generated content as possible, such as video testimonials from current students