Best Practices of Digital Marketing for Educational Institutions
At Adsyndicate, we define digital marketing as a process of reaching out to your target audience across digital platforms, persuading them to hook to your brand and providing 360-degree solutions and services to all your digital needs. To simply put, digital marketing is the process of marketing conducted on the digital space. We’re recognized as a top Ad Agency on Design Rush. The broader definition of digital marketing refers to advertising and promotions delivered across digital platforms like websites, search engines, social networking sites, email and mobile apps.
Educational Institutions in India needs a Digital Marketing Strategy
We are experiencing a digital revolution throughout India, where digital marketing is sweeping across various industries and sectors. Education sector too is not an exception to this. There is an increase in the number of internet users – especially students, who access internet to seek information, entertainment and socialize. The recent census indicates 29% of Indian population lies in the age group of 0-14 years. This indicates, education sector is heading towards prosperity in the near future. But with more and more education players entering the market has set forth an intense competition among educational institutions to stand above the rest.
In the present day, internet has become the primary source for people to search for any information. Also, it must be noted that the most dominate group that makes the maximum use of internet is the student community. They not only use it find more information about relevant topics, subjects, syllabus, assignments, project etc. but also use internet in a big way to find out about certain courses, colleges, fee structure, admission process, education quality, college infrastructure, college rankings, placement records, student reviews etc.
It is not only the students who use internet to research about an educational institution. Parents use it too, in a big way. Despite making personal visits to an educational institution, parents still want to conduct an online research to know more about a primary school, high school or a higher education academy. In fact, they need assurance when it comes to factors such as accommodation, hostel facilities, food, cafeteria hygiene, transportation facilities, credibility of faculty, school timings, academic calendar, curricular and extracurricular activities, testimonials from experts, students and other parents etc. These things can be easily delivered via internet with less investment compared to other forms of advertising and marketing platforms. To sum it up, internet is the most relevant platform that provides maximum details about an educational institution. Hence, digital marketing is especially necessary for educational institution in the modern world.
Digital Marketing Services for Educational Institution
Before crafting a digital marketing strategy for an educational institution, one must clearly define who is their target group? In this regard, one need to gather details such as student demographics and psychographics, what is their economic background, their academic qualification, IQ levels etc. Based on these, one must then identify their online persona. On which site do they spend most of their time, how much time do they spend on internet everyday, for what purposes do they use internet etc. Based on these factors, one can identify their expectations and requirements and then craft an effective digital marketing strategy to persuade them and enrol to the desired educational institution. Once the suitable channel and time frame is set, a digital marketing campaign can be executed by incorporating the following:
- Web Designing and Development – Web development is process of building, crafting and maintaining a website. This process includes other activities such as web designing, web programming, web publishing and database management. The first and foremost criteria for an educational institution to conduct digital marketing, is to have its own website. A lot of care has to be taken in designing a website for your institution. One must remember it must be student-friendly and must appeal to your prospects. Your website must be developed in such a way that it turns your prospects into profits by communicating key messages in a manner that appeal to the users in terms of its authenticity, innovativeness, distinctiveness, user-friendly interfaces and aesthetics. You can provide information such as institution’s history, transformative jpurney, awards and accolades, facilities and infrastructure, student experience, alumni testimonials etc in a systematic way. Make sure that your webpage is optimized for mobile platforms as well, since mobile internet users have overtaken laptop users.
- Search Engine Optimization – SEO is the process of maximizing the traffic of your webpage in terms of quality and quantity by means of organic search engine results. SEO must be the fundamental part of digital marketing strategy for educational institutions. Imagine if f your details appear on the top of search engine results, and if potential students access your institution’s information first then your competitors; you will definitely have an upper hand over your rival institutions in attracting more students. Hence SEO is the primary key to establish a dominant online presence. Moreover, students these days look out for information about best professional courses, top colleges, university rankings, placement records, etc. before enrolling to an institution. Hence SEO can help to increase your educational institution’s brand visibility.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)– Social media marketing for educational institution can be defined as the practice of generating content that are customized towards a potential students on social media platforms, so as to promote student engagement and sharing. SMM can help to increase your educational institution’s brand awareness, brand visibility, brand loyalty and customer engagement across social media. You can engage with your potential students and other major prospects 24/7 on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter since they are highly active there. This also leads to increased traffic.
- Online Reputation Management (ORM) – It is the process of managing your customers’ perception about your brand in the online space. Your educational institution’s online image will determine the extent of your Brand Equity. In an internet driven world, any negative conception about your educational institution can cost a lot to you. Imagine several students giving negative comments and reviews about your institution that no one wants to enrol. So, regular interactions with your potential students, prospects and other stakeholders on social networks are vital for your success. ORM today is an integral part of Public Relations in Business and Media Landscape.
- Search Engine Marketing/ Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – It the method of increasing your educational institution’s visibility and traffic on search engines through the process of marketing your business via paid advertisements, displayed on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In an increasingly competitive education market, it is becoming more and more challenging to get your institution stand above the rest. In this regard, SEM can yield amazing results as it makes your institution’s name appears on the top Of SERPs when a prospective student inserts keywords related to the nature of your business. SEM increases your revenue, since students prefer to enrol to an institution that is ‘popular’ and this popularity can be gained by making your educational institutuion appear on the top of search results.
- Email Marketing – If you wonder, email marketing is dead, then you are definitely wrong. A recent study reveals that email marketing has an average ROI of 3800 percent. When an educational institution approaches the potential students and parents in a suitable way, they do respond to the message. However, you must ensure that you approach with relevant message, engage them in conversation and improve your trustworthiness. You can try to establish contact using topics such as your institution’s history and its transformative journey, your students’ achievements, your placement records, industry opinions, your alumni testimonials, your campus life, infrastructure and facilities, faculty qualifications etc. When the right message is tailored through email, your prospects will surely respond.
- Video Marketing – It is the process of promoting and marketing your educational institution’s brand using videos. Since visuals and particularly videos have an advantage of gaining instant attention, a well-planned marketing campaign for educational institution will definitely include videos as a part of its strategy. Video marketing services for educational institution consists of student/alumni/faculty testimonials, live streaming of institutional events, promotional videos, informative videos, campus news, animation videos, e-learning videos etc. Videos are deemed to be the future of digital marketing, since visuals appeal to the users over audios and texts. In this regard, videos must be integrated as a core marketing strategy for every educational institution.
Benefits of Digital Marketing for Educational Institutions
Educational Institutions can benefit a great deal by investing in digital marketing. Some of the advantages of digital marketing are listed below:
- Less expensive – digital marketing for educational institutions is less expensive than traditional marketing since there is no investment for inventories. All you need is a laptop and internet connectivity to reach to your students.
- Promotes Enrolment Rate – Studies reveal that 93% of the students start their research on search engines regarding enrolling to an institution. A well established digital strategy can attract students.
- Better Rankings – One of the major criteria considered by agencies to rank academic institutions is its students/parents/faculty/stakeholder opinions, which can be influenced through digital marketing. If students and other stakeholders have a positive opinion about your educational institution, and if they are speaking positively about it on the internet, then it helps to improve the ranking of your academic institution.
- High Efficiency – Digital marketing, undoubtedly is the most powerful form of marketing for education sector since it has the potentials to reach the precise students and engage them 24/7, unlike other forms of marketing.
- Map Outcome – the results of any digital marketing campaign is instantaneous and can be measured precisely. This helps to reorganize or alter changes in digital marketing strategy if required.
- Brand Reputation – In today’s world, having an online presence is not only a fundamental necessity for educational institutions, but also a prominent way to enhance their brand reputation. A strong online presence helps an educational institution to spread awareness about the brand through various digital marketing outlets and thus make its reputation stronger.
- Builds Legitimacy – Credibility of an educational institution can be built easily by having a strong online presence. But an added advantage to this is, even authenticity can also be developed if information/news bulletins and relevant information about an academic institution is updated regularly on internet.
- High Conversions – Digital marketing makes it possible for educational institutions to reach out to the potential students on a wider range of platforms such as social networking sites, emails, native ads, banner ads etc. This in turn generates a lot of traffic which influences conversion rates.
- Invest in the Future – Digital Marketing is the future of advertising and marketing. This is the only dominant way for marketers to reach their customers, especially students who are active internet users.
To Sum it Up
Thus, it can be observed that digital marketing is the most effective, innovative and relevant mode of marketing that is highly appropriate for educational institutions. Students can be directly targeted and retargeted 24/7 on internet, where they are likely to spend a lot of their time. Digital marketing offers a lot of services to influence the young minds with technologically driven tools. Services such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management, Online Reputation Management, Web designing and development, Paid Per Click ads, Email marketing and Video marketing largely suits to nature of promotion of educational services in a great way.
These are not the only reasons that indicate why an educational institution must invest in digital marketing. It comes with a lot of benefits such as less investment, better ROI, high conversion rates etc. It is possible to change or reconstruct a digital marketing strategy of an ongoing campaign due to the two features of digital marketing: instant feedback and scope for measuring the outcome. Digital marketing also offers a lot of scope for building credibility and authenticity of the brand, maintaining brand reputation, engaging prospective students 24/7, building brand image and identity etc. since there is no limitation for internet usage. Hence, it can be concluded that digital marketing is the most suitable mode of marketing for educational institutions, and digital marketing the future of advertising. Thus, for any educational institution to thrive in the sector and stand above the rest, digital marketing is the only ray of hope.
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