In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, higher education institutions must stay one step ahead of the game, enlisting their own innovative tactics to best reach students and alumni. The competition for enrollment is intensifying among universities and colleges, meaning that institutions are constantly seeking creative ways to attract, engage and retain their target audience. From creating personalized experiences for students to the inevitable rise of digital marketing and the growing importance of making data-driven decisions, there are major shifts taking place in this industry. By understanding and embracing these trends, higher education institutions can forge stronger connections with prospective students, enhance their brand’s reputation, and thrive in a progressively competitive marketplace.
Strategies to drive engagement
Personalization and Customization: With plenty of students willing to give zero-party data to prospective institutions, and with the abundance of advanced technologies available to assist in collecting this data, higher education marketers are focusing on personalizing messaging and experiences for students. By tailoring communications and content and including offers specific to the interests and needs of students, they’re creating engaging and relevant experiences that are helping drive enrollment and revenue.
Digital Marketing and Social Media: For the last several years, digital marketing channels have dominated the higher education marketing landscape, and they continue to do so. Universities and colleges are continually investing heavily in social platforms, SEO, PPC advertising, and other types of content marketing to reach and engage with their target audiences effectively.
Video Content and Virtual Tours: Video and VR are not only trending as marketing tools — they’re dominating content marketing strategies. And, to reach the younger generations researching institutions, virtual options are almost a necessity. To stay abreast of these trends, institutions are leveraging videos and virtual walk-throughs to showcase campus life, facilities, academic programs and student testimonials. After the Covid-19 pandemic, students are interested in getting to know institutions online before making the effort to see them in reality.
Storytelling and Authentic Branding: Branding at institutions has become increasingly important over the last several years, and higher education marketers are utilizing the power of storytelling to connect with students. By implementing signature branding across campuses and sharing authentic stories and experiences from students, alumni and faculty, these narratives create a sense of community and illustrate the unique value proposition of the institution.
Micro-Credentials and Continuing Education Programs: As the demand for flexible and specialized education grows, higher education institutions are offering micro-credentials and online learning options. Marketing these programs effectively to higher-level professionals who are seeking upskilling or career advancement is a notable trend that is helping universities and colleges drive revenue.
Boost enrollment & increase revenue
While these strategies are only a few of the prominent trends in higher education marketing right now, the market is changing at a record pace. By staying ahead of these developments and adapting new strategies accordingly, higher ed institutions will be able to make an impact, reach and engage with prospective students effectively in this competitive industry.
Learn more about what’s happening in the higher ed industry by downloading our report, The Higher Education Forecast: The 2023 Consumer Trends Index. Get it here!