After a recent decline in market size after COVID-19, higher education revenue is now on the rise again. It’s projected to reach $169 billion in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 10.3 percent. And for higher education leaders and marketers, these numbers mean it’s time to take action.
Marketing for Higher Education
This is a lucrative time to boost your college’s or university’s awareness, interest and enrollment levels. Whether your goal is to attract more students, promote an event on campus, build traction for a program or launch an alum fundraiser, these higher education marketing tactics will help you produce results:
Align Your Goals and Content
As you build out a higher education marketing plan, clarify your objective and how it aligns with your institution’s messaging. Think about it through the lens of potential students, and ask, “Why would a prospective student care about this campaign?”
For example, if your goal is to increase enrollment rates by 25 percent, map out all the individual marketing initiatives and how they ladder up to your mission. Only execute when you know a specific task will directly help achieve your goal. When resources are thin, prioritization is everything—ensure your efforts only go toward tasks that move the needle.
Focus on Authentic and Personalized Communication
Today’s recent high school graduates are on track to become the most educated generation in U.S. history, with 57 percent of Gen Zers actively enrolled in college and more planning to attend.
But research also shows Gen Zers dislike marketing communication that doesn’t feel transparent, authentic, and personal. To form connections with these students, speak to them directly and be forthright with relevant information. Focus your content and campaigns around their questions, challenges, needs or expectations.
Establish a Feedback Loop with Students and Alumni
Active listening is one of the most valuable tools in your higher education marketing arsenal. It provides real-time insights into what the target audience cares about, so you can adapt communication accordingly.
One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is to build an open, consistent feedback loop with current and former students. Email an online survey to a diverse segment of recipients, asking specific questions about what motivated them to apply, what the campus life was like for them, and what they would change about their experience. These insights can then fuel your messaging or help pivot your long-term approach.
Gather High-Value Testimonials
While collecting feedback, follow up with a request to share positive comments as testimonials on your website, social media, or marketing channels. A recent poll indicates nearly 50 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Moreover, a case study from the career resources platform WikiJobs found that even three-page testimonials on the website increased their conversion rates by 34 percent. Tap into the value of satisfied stakeholders—post authentic written or video testimonials from students, alums, faculty and staff.
Optimize Content and Diversify Marketing Channels
If your main goal is to scale a university program and attract a wide range of potential students, then your higher education marketing plan can’t be limited to just one or two channels. You must diversify the number of platforms you use to “cast a wide net.”
This practice will expand visibility and drive opportunities for engagement. The real takeaway is: don’t limit yourself (or your marketing). When our team worked with UC San Diego to diversify its marketing reach and optimize its content for different channels, they saw a 210 percent conversion boost within three years. The data is clear—done correctly, more platforms bring more awareness.
Elevate Your Higher Education Marketing
If you want a head start on next semester’s enrollment but need help with marketing, our team of experts here at 10x Digital has you covered. We will partner with you to create a comprehensive higher education marketing plan that resonates with prospective students or staff. Contact us today, and let’s formulate a strategy to benefit your audience and institution.