college student attending first day

Attract More Students to Your School: Higher Education Marketing Strategies (Part 2)

By Ivan Boychuk on October 26, 2020
    
	Attract More Students to Your School: Higher Education Marketing Strategies (Part 2)

If you haven’t already, check out Part-1 of this article where we cover the following strategies to help attract more students to your school:
  • Multichannel marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Social media
  • Optimizing your website for mobile use
  • Direct mail
In Part-2 of this series, we’ll explore 3 more strategies that you can use to help boost enrollment. Let’s get started!

1. Create Landing Pages that Convert

There’s nothing like a well-built landing page to capture the attention of your prospects and turn them into students.

How Can Landing Pages Attract More Students to Your School?

First Impressions

The landing page is often the very first thing new visitors will see when directed to your website. And, like in many other areas of life, when trying to attract the attention of prospective students, it’s important to make a good first impression. A clean design with appealing colours, stunning graphics, and compelling copy will provide a great user experience, making prospective students more interested in learning more about your school.

Capture Leads

Landing pages are a phenomenal way for your school to capture high-value leads. In fact, companies that increase the number of landing pages on their website from 10 to 15 see a 55% increase in leads! By offering incentives, you can collect valuable information from your website visitors and then use this information to reach out to them in the future. For example, think about a student who’s surfing the web looking for information about colleges or universities. What’s their end goal? It’s probably to enroll in a post-secondary institution. So, if they arrive at your website, you could consider offering something like a free ebook containing information that they would find valuable. For example, 15 Study Tips For College Freshmen. In exchange for this valuable content, they will need to provide their name and email address.

Increase Conversions

Designing custom landing pages can significantly increase conversion rates. In the last section, we mentioned how landing pages can be used to collect information like names and email addresses. Well, this information can be used to help you to create a personalized message targeted directly towards each individual student. Seeing as marketers observe an average increase in conversions of 20% when using personalized experiences, adopting this approach can be very valuable.

Provide Valuable Insight into User Behavior

With analytics software like Google Analytics, it’s easy to track user behaviour across all of your webpages. With that in mind, a well-structured landing page can provide tonnes of valuable feedback. You can find out which links are being clicked the most, which content users are engaging with, how long they stayed on your landing page, and other important insights. Using this information, you can then make changes to your landing page to improve its efficiency. So, now you understand that landing pages can be a valuable tool to help attract more students to your school. But how do you create a successful landing page? Let’s take a look at some of the most important elements!

Elements of Successful Landing Pages

Landing pages are only effective if they’re set up properly. Here are a few important elements you cannot afford to overlook when creating landing pages for your school’s website: Design - when most people think of design, they think of colours, images, and other visual elements. Yes, these things are important, however, you also need to consider creating a quality user experience. Most of the best webpages today feature interactive designs that anticipate the behaviour of users. Copywriting - when promoting your school on your landing pages, you need to make sure the copy is clear, compelling, and convincing. A great way to do this is to focus on outcomes rather than features. Instead of explaining your school’s facilities, activities, professors, ect., focus on what your school can help each student achieve. For example… “Our programs qualify you for the career of your dreams.” Or “Looking for a high paying job? Our programs can teach you the skills you need to succeed!” Performance - today’s consumers are impatient. If your landing page takes too long to load, you’ll lose potentially valuable leads. But exactly how fast should your pages load? Well, data suggests that 40% of people will wait no more than three seconds for a webpage to load, so it’s a good idea to shoot for three seconds or less.

2. Blogging

In the early days of the internet, many people thought of blogging as online journalling more than they saw it as a marketing tool. However, this mindset has shifted drastically over the last 10-15 years. Now, organizations of all different sizes are using blogging as a tool to help them grow their audience.

How Can Blogging Help Attract More Students to Your School?

Improves Ranking in Search Engines

Blogging provides fresh content for your website on a regular basis. This helps signal to Google that your site hasn’t become outdated. Also, each new post will contain specific keywords related to your school, making Google more likely to bump you up to the top of the search rankings. Think of each new blog post like a door to your website. The more doors you create, the more opportunities people will have to visit your website.

Establishes Authority

When you think of authority, what comes to mind? Expertise. Knowledge. Influence. These are all words people associate with authority. By providing valuable content to readers, a blog can help position your school as an authority figure amongst higher education institutions. For example, if a reader has a question and they find the answer in your blog post, they’re more likely to trust your school for their education.

Converts Traffic Into Leads

Blog posts are a great way to convert cold prospects into leads. For example, you can’t expect that every student looking to choose a college or university has already heard of your school. So how do you make them aware of your school, and beyond that, how do you convince them that your school is the right choice for their education?  Well, most students will have questions about the field of study they’re interested in pursuing. And today, where do people usually go if they have a question? Google. Let’s take a look at an example of someone who hopes to become a doctor. Here are a few of the most common search queries in Google related to becoming a doctor: Is it really that hard to become a doctor? Can you get rich by being a doctor? How many years does it take to become a doctor? Each of these search terms would be fantastic blog topics. If you write a detailed blog post that answers these questions, you’ll then be able to attract prospective students to your website. Throughout the post, you can even add links to various programs you offer that prepare students for a career in the medical field.

How To Create a Successful Blog

Create a Content Strategy
  • Research your target audience - creating a blog just to have one is futile. Unfortunately, that’s the approach many organizations take. Instead, make sure to research your target audience and plan your content strategy based on the content they are most interested in.
  • Split your blog into categories - it’s helpful to split your blog into different categories. This will make it easier for readers to find the information they’re looking for. For example, if you’re a large university, you might want to create a category for each department (Ex. Sciences, Arts, Humanities, etc.).
  • Create a publishing schedule - a consistent schedule helps readers know what to expect. Consider choosing a specific day each week to publish your new blog posts. This will help readers know when to expect new content on your website.
Use the Right Keywords One of the keys to creating a successful blog is to make sure it performs well in search engines. In order to do that, you need to make sure you select the right keywords to use in your posts. This will allow Google (and other search engines) to recognize what each post is about and rank it for the appropriate search queries. There are a number of keyword tools that can help you find the right ones to use for your blog. However, always remember that you need a combination of quality content and the right keywords if you want people to find your blog. Share Your Blog on Social Media Another way to start getting more traffic to your school’s blog is to share each blog post you write on your social media account. You can take this one step further by encouraging readers to share the post as well. That said, in order for others to be motivated to share one of your posts, you need to make sure you’re creating top-notch content!

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing provides a direct line to your prospects’ inbox. Considering that the average person checks their email 15 times per day, this approach provides plenty of opportunities to make a connection with students and share what your school has to offer.

How Does Email Marketing Help Attract More Students to Your School?

Provides A Direct Line to Prospects’ Inbox

Very few forms of marketing allow an organization to send a message directly to their ideal audience. However, email marketing is one of them. This creates the ability to significantly increase your marketing ROI. In fact, email has shown to provide a return of $38 for every $1 spent!

Personalized Communication

Unlike paid ads, where you’re preaching to the masses, email marketing provides a fantastic opportunity to personalize your message. In most cases, at the very least you’ll have access to the recipient’s name. Simply using their name in the subject line or the first sentence of the email can significantly increase open rates.

Cost-effective Strategy

You might need to spend thousands of dollars on a paid advertising campaign before you begin to see results. On the other hand, email marketing is extremely low-cost. Once you’ve built up your email list and selected your email marketing software, the rest is free!

How to Create a Successful Email Campaign

Build a Targeted Mailing List Without a targeted list, you won’t see much success from your email marketing efforts. Luckily, there are many ways to do this. For example, your blog can be a fantastic way to collect relevant email addresses that you can later use for your campaigns. As long as you focus on creating valuable content, people will be happy to sign up to your email list to receive updates whenever you publish new content. Personalize Your Message Personalization is critical to email marketing. As mentioned earlier, using the recipient’s name in the message is a good start. You should also consider splitting your list into segments. For example, if you notice someone is only engaging with content about your science department, target them with content focused on this area. Create an Email Sequence  Each campaign should involve a structured approach. The best way to do this is by creating an email sequence. Here’s an example of a basic email sequence: Step 1: Send an introductory email - this helps let the recipient know a little bit about your school, it’s values, programs, etc. Step 2: Create two different emails to send out based on whether or not the recipient opened your first email. This will help engage those who might have missed your first email and provide further value to those who did see it. Step 3: Further customize future emails based on the content the recipients are engaging with. If you noticed they click a link related to a specific topic, consider sending more emails related to that topic. Send Out Emails at The Right Times In order to make sure your emails don’t get buried in prospective students’ inboxes, make sure you send them at the time where they’re most likely to be opened. The time will depend on your target audience. What time are they most active online? In general, emails sent earlier in the week tend to have higher open rates. However, the only way to determine this for sure is to perform a test with your own audience.

Looking For an Automated Marketing System To Help Attract More Students to Your School?

All of the methods mentioned in this post (and Part-1) are great strategies to use to help boost enrollment at your school. However, the best results can be seen when they’re used together. This is called multi-channel marketing. At ION, we’ve carefully developed a multichannel marketing service that combines these strategies into one comprehensive approach. Please contact us today to learn how we can help boost your marketing ROI and attract more students to your school!