Why Educational Institutions Should use Digital Marketing

Dec 26, 2016 7:32:53 PM

Did you know that the education sector is among the world’s top industries that use social media in their marketing strategy? According to the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), a large majority (about 80%) of students (and their parents, especially in India) use online sources to read up about educational institutes that they’re interested in.

In this scenario, it is smart thinking to invest in digital marketing to cater to a target population that is technologically advanced. While older modes of publicity – brochures, leaflets, newspaper ads – still work, a comprehensive and robust digital marketing strategy can substantially increase the reach and visibility of an educational institution in today’s highly competitive education sector.

Here are a few good reasons for adopting a digital marketing strategy:

  • Internet-savvy target group: The target audience – young students in the age range of 18-25 years – is very comfortable with technology and its communication tools. Whether it is browsing online for colleges on their laptops or playing games on their latest smartphones, they do everything on a worldwide platform and in real time. Hence, you can reach them immediately, no matter where they are actually located.
  • Online research for education: As we mentioned earlier, a lot of research about prospective colleges, courses, facilities, faculties and fees is done online. The potential customer is already looking for solutions to their problems online. Hence it makes perfect sense to present the solutions where they’re looking.
  • Website as the new prospectus: When students and/or their parents look up shortlisted colleges online, the institution’s website becomes the main point of reference on the basis of which they will draw opinions and make decisions.
  • Active usage of social media for reviews and feedback: Prospective students give a lot of weightage to reviews and comments from their peers or alumni on social media. They also spread the word extensively and swiftly on social media.
  • Online admissions: An effective website, which includes provisions for online admission, can exponentially increase the number of people who can apply from remote locations.
  • Online display ads: For a demographic that is online most of the time, exposing them to ads about your institution while there are online will create an immediate connection and brand awareness.

Key Actions to Market your Institution Online:

  1. Build (and maintain) an effective website: Having an easy-to-navigate, up-to-date and user-friendly website is absolutely essential for any self-respecting institution these days. Your website is the face of your institute on the web. Ensure that it contains all relevant information that your prospective customers might be looking for. Moreover, the content should be optimized to be search-engine friendly, so that it shows up on the first pages of a search result.
  2. Implement Search Engine Marketing: By carrying out paid promotions on various search engines, you can achieve higher rankings on search engine results pages. This, in turn, will result in higher traffic on your website and subsequently, better ROI.
  3. Plan campaigns to coincide with admission timings: Promotional campaigns, such as online ads or targeted emails, should be timed in such a way that the information is fresh and relevant when the customer needs it the most, for example, a few weeks before the admission process begins.
  4. Unleash the power of social media: Social media, if managed intelligently, can be your best friend. Potential customers value word-of-mouth reviews and opinions. Social media channels fulfill that function online. Cultivate an engaging online social presence on various channels and be quick to address any queries or unfavourable feedback.

With a well-defined digital marketing strategy, your educational establishment will definitely gain increased brand visibility, trust and recognition, ultimately leading to higher admissions and better returns on your marketing investment.

Advantages that digital marketing gives educational institutes over traditional marketing tactics:

  1. Cost-efficiency: Online marketing campaigns are relatively less expensive than traditional methods of marketing. What’s more, for the cost of investment, they give high conversion rates. As a result, digital marketing plans work out to be very cost-efficient.
  2. Quantifiable results: Digital marketing provides various tools that can help you track the performance of your marketing campaigns. Using those, it is possible to work out the best strategy that brings results for your institution.
  3. Quick feedback: The interactive and ‘real-time’ nature of social media enables near-instant assessment of all online content and campaigns. This, in turn, can be used to quickly correct or realign the marketing strategy so that it works favourably.

Want to know more about how digital marketing works for your educational institutions? Talk to us.

Gayathri Choda

Written by Gayathri Choda

Gayathri has more than a decade of experience in Digital marketing across industries. Her diverse and rich experience has spanned across contents and various segments of data analytics. She is an MBA graduate from Stuart Graduate School of Business, USA with an engineering degree from JNTU. She is a co-author for Curious Digital Marketer 2.0 and also a regular blogger in various industry publications.

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