Promotion of businesses and products using digital media - websites, social media, mobile phones - is called digital marketing. TV and radio, billboards, and transit signage are different. Media delivered electronically via the internet is digital media - video media, for instance. The internet is the common denominator.
Educational institutions also use digital marketing on a large scale similar to retail and manufacturing sector companies. Digital marketing of the education business is constantly growing. Internet and digital media channels have transformed education - the way it is imparted and sold.
Youth everywhere are internet-savvy. They use the internet and mobile smartphones to connect with each other - and with teachers and educational institutes.
Online courses have revolutionized education.Covid-19 changed the way education is given - a study from home ran parallel with work from home. Colleges and schools made the most out of digital marketing to reach potential students before and during the pandemic.
That being said, several reasons supported the digital marketing of education. One, students were already online and looking for colleges and training institutes. Two, they were more on the internet than into, say, watching TV. Also, online ads were killing offline ads. And display ads beat traditional ads hands down. Besides, parents rated educational bodies based on their online presence. Ditto the students themselves. Admissions were being done digitally. Expatriates and outstation students relied solely on the internet for college admissions.
So, how does digital marketing of education aid schools and colleges? And why is digital marketing helpful for education at all? Again, there are several reasons.
One, educational institutions have been using online presence and visibility to increase brand awareness and reach the largest number of targeted audiences. This created leads and a hike in the conversion rate. Social media platforms did not yeomen service towards this effort. Educational entities took to social media to boost brand awareness and lure followers to the fold, creating leads in the process. Two, the virtual response on social media is almost always instantaneous. Besides being one of the best communication mediums, of course. Being online allows interaction. The queries are visible and there is a ready avenue to reply/answer.
Three, digital media is efficient as well as relatively cost-effective. Digital marketing using email and social media does not require big execution investments. They are well within the budgets of educational institutions. Educational businesses are able to focus on a larger group of people. The cost is less and the advantages are plenty.
At the end of the day, conversion is what matters. And digital media coupled with digital marketing lead to a high conversion rate. Educational institutes are using email and SMS to great effect. Schools and colleges -educational institutions of all genres -are the target.
There are tracking tools to keep abreast of digital marketing campaigns as to whether a particular campaign is delivering the expected response or not if a school or college was benefiting from a digital marketing campaign.
Digital marketing in education has been a success story. Educational institutions through their online presence and digital communication channels have been successfully executing digital marketing campaigns to build brand awareness and gain acceptance with students and guardians. Student admissions have almost 100% become online.
So, here’s a summary of digital marketing trends in education. There is a paradigm shift in the education sector due to digital marketing. From admissions to learning, everything related to education is online. Colleges are shortlisted and chosen using online resources. Applications are submitted online, which means educational institutions cannot lag behind in online presence and digital marketing. It is a two-way street. Colleges and schools have been forced to adopt and adapt to this transformation.
Using digital marketing to influence qualified students and get them to secure admissions is the name of the game. But digital marketing is a continuous effort. The educational entity should be visible online to potential students throughout. This means digital marketing companies cannot take a break and educational institutions have to be on the ball 24/7, they should track the trends in digital marketing to keep the competition perpetually at bay.
One of the most recognizable trends is that websites serve the digital marketing of education. They are the contact points. They should be well designed - the first impression is the best impression! Students should be able to learn everything about a college/school by going through the website pages of the educational institution. "Educate & inform" should be the website’s motto. From contact point to completion of the admission process should be the website’s purpose.
After website, social media -the young are tech-savvy and social media-friendly. They virtually live on the internet. They are hyperactive on social media. Educational institutions would do well to leverage social media to their advantage - provide prospective students, Gen Z, what they were seeking on social media.
That is one side of the coin. The flip side involves the educational institutions - the schools and the colleges, which, if they want to survive and thrive, shouldn’t stop campaigns and promotions via their own social media handles, posts on college/school activities, updates on changes in curriculum, cultural activities et al. Students should not feel crunched or constrained for college/school-related information.
Curiosity got the cat but never the student, who is always craving for more and new data and info. They are always striving to widen their horizons and are eager for information. And related to digital marketing are webinars. Students can be drawn to colleges and schools by webinars. It is both an education platform as well as an advertisement tool - a two-in-one, so to speak, for educational institutions. Webinars are a zero-cost means to drive admissions.
Next, we have standalone educational websites, which are not hosted by schools or colleges but are a holistic website on education in general including basic, generic information on the various courses and degrees and diplomas on offer in the education sector - reviews on educational institutes and what they offer. Such websites witness considerable traffic. Again, they are ideal sites for digital marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) cannot be left out. Google search is the first thing students and teachers and administrators do when looking for information related to education - schools and colleges. SEO helps educational institutions rank on the top of the page in the search results. Admissions are thereby secured.
Other digital marketing tools used prolifically by educational institutions include email marketing and public relations. Digital marketing tools that help drive potential students to college/school websites include blogs and live-streaming videos posted on social media platforms. Ultimately, at the end of the day, digital marketing via digital communication tools is to show colleges and schools high on SERP and thereby drive prospective students to their websites.
Digital Piloto, November 29, 2021
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