Higher Education is facing a lot of challenges and over the past decade the higher education sector has been changing significantly. Starting from the students' journey, the factors that impact their decision, and the way they conduct their research in order to reach a decision.
Today's students prefer to conduct their own research online, knowing that, if universities don't have a strong digital marketing strategy, they're more likely to lose students.
If your university wants to reach more students where they’re interacting, it should take a new, digitally-driven approach using inbound marketing where universities marketing teams have an opportunity to connect and engage with their prospects.
Within a highly competitive environment, inbound marketing gives your university an opportunity to stand out from the competition, grow leads faster, and reach students more efficiently.
Ensuring a successful marketing for a higher education institution requires creating a unique marketing strategy, here are some techniques to build a better relationship with your students and increase conversion rates:
Buyer Persona and Personalization
In order to better tailor your message, you need to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character of your ideal customer that gives you a clear picture of who you're marketing to and clarifies their needs and wants.
Traditionally, the university's main persona is the undergraduate student aged from 18 to 22. This age group is highly involved in digital media. University's marketing teams can benefit from this by following new trends, enhancing their web experience, and use different visual tools.
After identifying your persona/s, you'll be able to personalize the message and to walk them through the different stages of the buyer's journey ensuring that they end up choosing your university.
Understanding the buyer's journey
It's important to identify and understand your student's buyer journey in order to better engage with your students, increase enrollment, and create a positive, user-friendly online experience.
Generally, students tend to go through three phases when choosing their university:
In this stage, your prospective students recognize that they have a need that needs to be fulfilled. They start conducting very broad research looking for different universities and colleges.
After conducting their research, your prospective students now clearly understand their needs, identifying what programs or universities they want to attend. In this stage, they start evaluating their options.
Now that your students have decided to narrow down their options, they start comparing different universities and programs to make their final decision. At each stage, you should craft your content to reflect the stage of the buyer journey the prospect student is currently at.
To reach students and keep them engaged, your content needs to grab their attention, inspire them to apply, and keep them engaged throughout their buyer's journey. Different types of content can be used to help serve your university marketing plan and build trust with your prospect students depending on their buyer journey stage.
For example, at the awareness stage, students prefer blogging and social media.
For the consideration stage, it's better to use emails and content offers.
During the decision stage, the main focus should be on the website content.
60% of high school students are discovering colleges and universities via a search engine that's why it's crucial to provide your prospects with a satisfying web experience and focus on optimizing your website using SEO "Search Engine Optimization" which is the process of increasing your website's accessibility to maximize its traffic and rank higher on search engine results page
With inbound marketing powering your team’s efforts, your university will be on a solid path toward attracting, retaining, and serving more students.
For a better experience, you should; personalize each student's experience throughout their buyer's journey to fit their persona, understand their buyer journey and provide them with content that helps them make the right decision.
In Scitecs, we're aware of the importance of marketing for Higher Education institutions and that's why we created STEP -Scitecs technology in Education Program- to help HEI reach their goals by providing adequate practices and tools of the latest marketing and admission technologies.
Book your free consultation now for better understanding on how your university can use inbound marketing to increase the enrollment numbers.