How much experience do they have in marketing higher education? Higher education is a booming market with a projected compound annual growth rate of more than 4.5 percent (source) over the next eight years. That means new marketing companies are flocking to higher ed, trying to get a piece of that growth.
While some of these companies might have a track record of success in other industries, higher education is a unique market. The audience is a complex mix of young people going to college for the first time, their parents, and adults returning to education after some time in the workforce.
All of your prospects are faced with a gluttony of choice. At first glance, many accredited colleges look the same. It’s the job of the higher education marketing firm to differentiate your school from the other 4,000+ degree granting institutions in the United States (source). The best way to learn to do this is by experience.
When looking for a higher ed marketing company, your first question should be: How long have you been marketing higher education? One or two years, does not a track record make.
Your second question should be: What other organizations have you worked with? If they can’t name at least a few schools that you recognize and respect, you should probably keep looking.
Do they provide the core services you’re looking for?
This might seem like an obvious question, but not all marketing firms are created equal. A business can do (and not do) a whole range of things while still technically being a marketing company. One might specialize only in creating paid advertising, while another could offer you unique, integrated marketing strategy for paid and organic content.
When searching for a Education Marketing Company, ask to see a menu of their services. To give you a strategy that covers as many lead generating avenues as possible, they should offer these core services.
- Paid Search – While Google is the most popular search engine, (source) capturing 72.48% of the world’s search traffic, your marketing company should be familiar with the runners up – Bing and Yahoo – as well. Each requires a slightly different strategy. Also, check to see if they have partner badges or certifications for the services they offer. If they do, it is a safe bet many of the people managing your account will be certified for that platform.
- Paid Social – 70% of North Americans use social media daily (source) so it’s no surprise that social media is a huge lead generator. Paid social is likely to become even more important as organic reach dwindles due to algorithm changes.
- Display Advertising – You might think that display ads are old school, but they’re still an influential strategy for many colleges and universities. Surprisingly 90% of display ad dollars go to mobile placements (source), which goes to show the tactic isn’t as outdated as you might think.
- Strategic Partnerships – Partnerships with call centers, directory sites and other influencers can help you reach valuable leads that might ignore traditional advertising methods.
- Creative Development – The creative design of landing pages, banner ads, and other graphic or written elements is a key part of your marketing strategy, one that some marketing companies expect you to outsource to a third party.
- Email Marketing – Getting into a lead’s inbox can give you their undivided attention for at least a few seconds, something most marketing tactics can’t do. Your marketing company will help you navigate the good, the bad and ugly in email marketing.
While different companies might use different names for these services, the nomenclature isn’t important. What matters is this: your marketing company helps you build a multi-platform strategy that broadens your reach.
Do they offer market research services?
A dynamic mix of tactics is essential to marketing success, but they have limited use without a solid sense of the market you’re trying to reach. An experienced higher education marketing company comes equipped with an understanding of the market.
The best ones will also do strategic market research to ensure that you’re reaching the best leads for your specific offerings.
From online and regional market analysis to form your advertising strategy, to lost student analysis to discover areas for improvement, your marketing company should always be looking for more relevant data.
Along the same lines, program feasibility studies can help you decide if a program is worth pursuing before you even start marketing it. A company that offers both marketing research and program feasibility studies clearly has your best interests at heart.
How can they save you money?
There are a lot of marketing companies out there. What sets this particular company apart from the others? How will they save you money and increase your return on investment?
Here’s a simple marketing concept to build your strategy on:
Better qualified leads equals savings for your marketing budget.
That’s why contact center services can represent a huge value for money. Rather than paying a third party that is not aligned with your marketing strategy you can work directly with your marketing company on lead verification, qualification, applications, and enrollment nurturing.
An integrated inquiry management system or customer relationship management solution can also improve the value of your investment. By automating and streamlining the lead generation process, a CRM can save you money – even more so when it works flawlessly with the systems your education marketing company already has in place.
Explore your options
Whether you’re looking for your first partnership or just want to explore your options, Education Dynamics has the answers you’re looking for. See what we can do.
If you want to see results even faster, you can reach out to us. To learn more about our enrollment marketing services and how EducationDynamics can help you see greater efficiencies in your recruitment efforts, click here.
* Higher Education Digital Marketing Trends, 2017, Aslanian Market Research: http://learn.dev.propaganda3.com/education-dynamics/2017-higher-education-digital-marketing-trends