Top 8 Higher Education Marketing Trends 2016
When looking at the statistics from the year previous, it looks like 2016’s marketing trends are virtually the same as 2015’s marketing trends. This means that schools and companies will be refining these tactics and getting more and more sophisticated with each passing month.
Read on for examples by trend. Here are the top trends:
- Social media
- Content strategy
- Influential marketing
- Lead nurturing
- Predictive analytics / Data mining
Video is an amazing way to connect with people. Video is the ultimate storytelling vehicle. This is why storytelling has become such a hot topic in marketing over the last few years.
Check out seven colleges who are doing it right.
For those who got in early on video storytelling utilizing social media outlets, such as Facebook and Youtube, these companies can now have hundreds of thousands of fans and subscribers. Now, virtually every business is on Facebook and many are on Youtube. For those just getting into it, it harder than ever to breakthrough the clutter. That’s why it’s more important than ever to tell a compelling story. And, you are probably going to have to pay to promote your posts.
It’s tougher than ever to have a business page post show up on a Follower’s newsfeed without having to pay for the exposure. On average, if you are not promoting your posts, only 1-4% of your followers are seeing your posts. You are not doing anything wrong. EdgeRank, Facebook’s algorithm, is holding you back from being shown.
Now is the time to double down and grow your social media budget. Your goal is not to generate more Likes, but to instead pay to promote your posts so you create more audience viewership and action. You have to learn ways to work with Facebook’s EdgeRank and so make your content more visible.
If you are going to pay to distribute posts, it’s important that your posts are well thought out marketing pieces. The days of writing a quick text post are gone. The days of writing thoughtful, compelling posts with images or videos have now taken over.
Check out an interview with Georgetown University on how to write thoughtful content.
Let’s not forget instragram. Check out the best 17 college instagram accounts ranked by Hubspot
In 2016, there is virtually no distinction between digital marketing and mobile marketing. They have become one and the same. Your website and digital campaigns need to be optimized for mobile. You need to make sure you have location-based marketing set up on all map sites.
Here are 5 ways to use location-based marketing. Your website needs to be developed to be responsive or you need to build a mobile version of your website.
Here are the top seven mobile marketing tactics to do in 2016:
- Mobile websites
- Mobile display ads/banner ads
- Mobile paid search
- Location-based marketing
- QR codes
The Need for Mobile Marketing is Undeniable
As you can see, in 2016 it is more important than ever to connect with prospective students on mobile devices.
If you haven’t already, think about starting SMS, text messages, to your prospective and current students. You can send out marketing messages, event updates, enrollment dates, etc. Millennials love to text!
Content Strategy / Storytelling
2016 is the year to create a content strategy that differentiates you from your competitors. Now is the time to go all in.
Developing a content strategy enables colleges and universities to create their “story”, enhancing their school’s brand identity. Once you craft your “story” you can integrate different aspects of the story throughout your marketing strategy and create an integrated campaign. Your story starts to live on as staff, alumni, students and prospective students begin to contribute to it and share it.
This is your time to differentiate. This is your year to create a compelling story and strategy.
Higher education monitor and futurist, Ken Steele, has pointed out that many marketing strategies are similar, “How am I supposed to choose when they all look the same? It’s like they just slap a different logo on!” he says.
I’ve read hundreds of college websites and the similarities are striking. It is virtually impossible to truly decide on which college is for you just from website copy. That is why it’s important to develop your own individual marketing story to connect on an emotional level. Going back to school is an emotional decision. How are you tapping into that?
Let your prospective students see what it’s like to go to your college, attend a class, talk with students. You can create this connection through your marketing.
Influential Marketing / Working with Content Creators
Content creators come in every shape and size; from a mommy blogger posting about DYI crafts to musicians and food bloggers sharing a picture of their latest creation. Content creators are everyday people that share their passions through writing articles, creating images and videos. If these Creators do it right, they can garner a large following and become “influential” in their spheres.
78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing.
Working with the Right Content Creators
It is important that you find the right content creator or influencer that aligns with your product or services. Partnering with the wrong type of Content Creator can damage your brand and your audience’s trust.
The idea that a brand’s message and content has to come directly from the efforts of the brand’s internal marketing department or advertising agency is slipping. Think of celebrity endorsements on a micro-scale. These Content Creators can be considered celebrities with their own niche audience. These influential figures have fostered a relationship with their audience over time. As the brand, you are leveraging this trust and relationship and transferring that trust over to your product or service. By partnering with these Content Creators you can grow your awareness and influence purchasing decisions.
How to Find Influencers?
You can always search for the people that are creating original content about your industry and reach out to them directly to work out some kind of arrangement. You will need to negotiate the contract and set up the parameters and guidelines for the Creator to follow. It’s important for the Creator to understand what the boundaries and goals of the campaign are.
The shift has happened. Are you ready for the next evolution in digital marketing. Find out how Tribeca Marketing Group can help with your influential and digital marketing campaigns.
Lead nurturing is nothing new, but this is the year to put more budget, time and resources to further refine your lead nurturing efforts. Lead nurturing is not just a broadcasting opportunity as the channel continues to mature and begin creating opportunities for prospective students to engage with your brand. You can repurpose your video assets used in social media in your lead nurturing efforts.
Your competitors are getting more sophisticated at lead nurturing and I’m not talking about the auto email that get sent out when the inquiry comes into your system. I am talking about nurturing where you segment your inquiries by program, degree type or student type.
It is important to map out your touch point and the decision journey your prospective students take before they decide to enroll in your institution. Then segment the information you would like to communicate at each point. Remember, you are helping to marshal a perspective student through the decision process. What do they need to know, when?
Don’t get lost in the sea of mediocrity. Most of the college lead nurturing campaigns that I have seen do not tell a compelling story. Tell your story. Tell it as only you know how to tell it. Be different. Differentiate yourself.
Predictive Analytics / Data Mining
“Bigger, faster, and cloudier – that’s where big data is heading in 2016” – Information Age
Big data once only used by researches and mathematicians is now being used by college administrators to do lead scoring and/or targeting at risk students. As outside forces put more and more pressure on colleges, big data is a way to lower that potential risk. Using big data can help higher level institutions reach enrolment goals, better help students and professors connect.
Big data allows colleges to improve conversion rates, services, retention rates and eventually graduation rates. Using predictive analytics and data mining can help teachers and institutions better cater to their students needs. Data mining will help you formulate the needs of your students by uncovering like sets.
Here’s a list of big data applications.
The top eight trends in marketing for 2016 show you where you need to go and how you need to steer your campaign to better promote your content and message. You must reach your audince the way they would liked to be reached. The shift has happened.
Are you ready for the next evolution in digital marketing? Contact Tribeca Marketing Group today to find out how we can help with your higher education marketing campaigns.