For an industry that prides itself on educating the next generation of the working class, the sector is two steps behind when it comes to adopting digital marketing strategies compared to many other industry sectors. This is even more startling when seen in the light of the fact that the bulk of India’s Internet user base are youth.
Today’s youth primary mode of communication today is via the Internet, and Social Media is an integral part of their daily life. Facebook for instance has over 40 Million youth in the core education bracket of 18-22 years. Marketers in the education industry can scant afford to ignore the pressing need to embrace digital marketing completely if they have to stay relevant to their audience.
For most businesses in education the fundamental marketing challenges are:
- a) How do I get enough leads when my admission season starts?
- b) How do I build a long term brand for the institute that drives word of mouth?
Here’s how you can start the ball rolling for these objectives.
- Get Social Fast
If you are targeting the youth market, especially the education business, you need to be not just present on social media, but relatively aggressive on it. Platforms like Facebook needs to be the cornerstone of your social media plan. It’s a great way to build your brand while generating serious leads and enquiries for admissions.
- Have a strong company presence on Facebook with a company page
- Develop a strong content plan for your Facebook posts. Avoid the urge as marketers to always highlight your institute in your content. Social Media is not a brand promotion platform but rather an engagement platform. Ask questions instead, initiate a dialogue
- Pepper your Facebook Posts with enough content that enables sharing of your content by your fans amongst their friends. Social Sharing is the fundamental way to go about building a strong word of mouth virality for your posts.
- Ensure you have a student counselor monitoring your social platform and engaging with your audience. Simply posting a content and expecting it to do your job is old school. It won’t work unless you have a real human engaging with your audience in real time.
- Organize Webinars
How do you sell your institute to out-station candidates? The old school manner is by organizing a roadshow event in smaller towns and giving a lecture and presentation of your courses and institute. A better way today is to organize Webinars and Web Casts. It’s cheaper, far more effective and helps reduce the sales closure cycle considerably.
Organizing a webinar also helps in allowing prospective students interact with their future faculty members. Career Counselling sessions could also be held via Webinars as could be overview sessions of the Institute itself.
Webinars are also a great method of capturing and filtering serious leads from non-serious and junk leads. Closure rates for Webinar leads are usually much higher as compared to leads generated from any other manner.
Lastly, organizing Webinars puts your institute at a much higher digitally enabled perception platform as compared to competition.
- Use Search Advertising
There is no doubt that Search is perhaps the best and most effective low cost way of generating leads and enquiries for course led admission. However the trick here is to ensure an effective ROI for your leads.
Understand how your prospective students are searching for information related to their admission interests and create compelling benefits in your advertising messaging.
- Your selection of keywords, optimization of your bids and your messaging content are all equally important if you’re looking to improve your search advertising ROI.
- Break your campaign into smaller units rather than one single whole.
- Monitor your campaign on a set regular frequency, once or twice a week and optimize non-performing ads, keywords and bids.
- Invest in Content Marketing
If there is one thing that will drive a strong word of mouth it’s content. If you haven’t yet begun to invest in an effective content marketing plan, the time is now. Most marketers equate content with articles and blog post. Well, actually it’s a little more complicated than that.
- Everything that you put out on the Internet is Content. Make no mistakes about that. Even your Facebook Post is content.
- Create a Content Creative Strategy- identify your key talking points, your themes and your messaging in advance.
- Invest in Content Distribution- You may have great content, but if it’s not being read by the prospects you want, (like the way you are reading it now!) it becomes a wasted content
- Be clear on the type of content that you have a capability and ability to produce. You could have text based content such as blog, articles, case studies, white papers, industry news or you could have visual based content in the form of Infographics and Creative Visuals or you could have Video based content in the form of Video Interviews, Fire-side chats or Webinars
In today’s highly competitive education market it’s not merely sufficient to have the best faculty and the best infrastructure. Businesses need to market themselves if they have to stay relevant to the new age youth audience that are seeking admissions. And that’s where Digital Marketing comes into play.
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