Marketing for educational organizations: an example of successful promotion
Everyone knows about Synergy University. It has a good website, social networks are actively maintained, and high school students constantly come across advertisements of the university on the Internet. On the other hand, the reputation of “Synergy” was badly damaged by numerous negative reviews. Reputation is the main thing for an educational institution.
Market conditions are forcing universities, which only yesterday relied on their image and the natural flow of applicants, to actively engage in advertising and promotion. And all because competition is actively growing, and young people’s ideas about quality education are changing. Many people prefer to study remotely or use Internet services. In order to develop in unusual new conditions, educational organizations must use all possible promotion tools. First of all, the Internet.
Why the Internet?
- That’s where your target audience is.
- The Internet is the main source of information for young people
- Extensive opportunities for communication and feedback
- Ability to show ads only to graduates and their parents
Many advertising and promotion tools: there are ideal tools for each individual case
What tasks does it solve?
- Increasing brand awareness of an educational institution
- Improving the image of the organization
- Increasing the level of trust
- Attracting applicants
- Identification of the desires and needs of future students, receiving feedback
- Suture students, receiving feedback
What are the features of the educational services sector?
- Service marketing. Services are intangible, the client cannot come to the store and touch your product, evaluate its quality characteristics. The only thing an applicant can rely on is the reviews of former students and the reputation of the organization. Therefore, it needs to be worked on.
- The service is not saved. The teaching staff changes periodically, as does the curriculum. Even if former students have left good reviews, the client cannot be sure that the quality of education has remained at its best. To solve this problem, it is necessary to constantly work with the reputation of the educational institution.
- Long decision making process. If the decision on which hairdresser to go to is taken in a couple of hours, then the decision on which university to enter can be taken for years. This means that it is necessary to constantly maintain contact with interested students and their parents.
- Work for two target audiences: parents and schoolchildren. As a rule, the decision to enter an educational institution is made jointly by parents and children. At the same time, their values, desires and ideas related to education can differ dramatically. It is necessary to work with both of these audiences.
- Active market development. New competitors have appeared on the educational services market: courses, online education, additional education programs, etc. Education requirements have also changed. Promotion has become a necessity.
What promotion channels do educational organizations need?
First of all, educational institutions need to work on reputation and brand awareness. This cannot be achieved without an integrated approach to promotion. We offer a strategy based on building an image using all the possibilities of the Internet.
Integrated Internet marketing for the promotion of educational services
An integrated approach allows educational organizations to simultaneously work on reputation and brand awareness and attract new customers. And advertising and marketing united by a common strategy give the maximum result.
PR on the web
The PR-campaign is aimed at increasing the status of the organization, its recognition and prestige. These aspects are fundamental for the development of an educational institution. Therefore, we recommend using a number of PR tools, including reviews, native advertising and content marketing.
First of all, we suggest paying attention to the reviews. Applicants and their parents will definitely pay attention to them when they choose an educational institution.
Dealing with reviews in education is especially difficult. You can’t just leave a comment on a negative review with an apology and a discount on the next purchase. Students should be encouraged to write positive reviews. And this should be achieved not by encouragement and awards for writing reviews, but by the high quality of education and interaction with students, the formation of a comfortable environment.
An additional plus would be if the authors of the reviews praise the teachers and provide some evidence of a high level of education. In this case, this is the experience of real communication with the Germans
If you have several areas of study, then follow the reviews separately for each area. Future students first of all look at the reviews for the faculty or educational program they want to enroll in.
Native advertising is another powerful PR tool. It has a great impact on readers. They perceive it as an ordinary article, so they are less critical of the information. It gives the impression that the institution is in the spotlight and discussed in the press. As a result, the status and recognition of the organization increases. The impact occurs indirectly, a person thinks that he made a decision on his own, which increases his loyalty in the future.
Another important aspect of the PR strategy is communication in crisis situations. When a negative aspect of the organization’s work is actively discussed in the media or on the Internet, it is necessary to respond to it. Measures must be taken to mitigate damage to reputation.
This is the process of creating a unique brand. Why is it needed?
- A strong brand enhances the perceived value of educational services
- The brand reflects the differences of the organization from competitors, its uniqueness. It forms a specific image and specific expectations in the eyes of consumers.
- Increases the loyalty of students and teachers. Many are proud if they study or work at a famous university and recommend it to friends and acquaintances.
- It raises awareness of the organization and its fame.
- It rallies employees and students around the brand idea and improves the atmosphere within the organization.
- Brand concept. This is the main idea, mission of the organization, its values and benefits. It defines a message that will be constantly broadcast to the target audience. All other elements of the brand stem from its concept.
- Form style. The overall visual concept of the brand that the organization adheres to online and offline. It includes the fonts and colors that the brand will use, as well as the overall visual style.
- Logo and slogan. It is with them that customers will associate the educational institution. They must be attractive, consistent with the corporate identity and reflect the ideas of the brand.
- Corporate hero or face of the brand. A corporate hero is a fictional character who has the positive traits inherent in the brand. He expresses his idea and speaks on his behalf. An ambassador, or face of a brand, is a real person who is well known to the target audience and expresses the values of the brand. This is not a required branding element, but it is effective when used correctly.
- Communications with consumers. In a broad sense, branding also includes a strategy for communicating with customers. It determines which channels will be used for promotion and how communication with customers will take place.
Content marketing is a strategy for working with information, that is, content on the site. First of all, it is a way to build relationships and increase brand reputation. Interesting articles attract students and their parents to the site, where they unconsciously absorb information about your organization and become more loyal to it.
- If your articles are cited, then reputation and recognition increase significantly
- Increases brand confidence. Articles demonstrate your expertise
- Unlike advertising, it does not cause irritation
- Long-term result
- The possibility of distributing content at the expense of the users themselves
- Increasing brand loyalty
- Natural influx of new customers
This is the main platform for communication with potential students. As part of the promotion strategy of an educational institution, social networks perform a communicative function. You need to maintain your page in such popular social networks as Instagram. Facebook will also be an excellent communication channel with parents of applicants.
Your page should become a source of useful and interesting information that users will want to return to. To do this, you need to publish new posts daily.
What to talk about on social networks?
- About the news of the organization, interesting features.
- Upcoming events, webinars, open days, etc.
- About all the details of admission. How to apply? Deadlines? How many budget places? Answer all questions that applicants may have.
- About student life: what clubs does the organization have, what competitions are held, what do students do in their free time
- Alumni success stories. This way you will show that your students are in demand in the labor market.
- About teachers. It can be an interview or just a story about the achievements and features of teaching. This is how you demonstrate the professionalism of professors.
- About your research. If your organization is doing some research, share it on social media. This will raise your reputation and demonstrate the professionalism of the professors.
- Interesting events in the field of culture and science. Talk about things that might be of interest to your students. For example, about exhibitions, film festivals, sporting events, etc.
In social networks, you can also promote with the help of advertising. The peculiarity of targeting lies in the advertising distribution model. It is shown only to those users who are potentially interested in the services of a particular educational institution. For example, an ad might target students in grades 10-11 and their parents, or young people who are interested in learning English. This approach ensures maximum coverage of the target audience at minimal cost.
Integrated marketing to promote educational services
Separate promotion channels work better when they go together. First of all, because the efforts are synchronized and united by a single marketing strategy. Also, various promotion channels complement each other and have a complex impact on the target audience.
Working with the site
The site is the main source of information for applicants. It needs to be attractive and informative.
The first thing a future student pays attention to is the appearance of the site. An outdated site causes rejection among young people. Also, modern site building standards are significantly different from those that were adopted in the 10s, so teenagers may not be comfortable working with such a site.
The content and functionality of the site has a greater impact.
It is important to know
There is a three-click rule in web design. It sounds: the user should get to any information in no more than three clicks. Check your site for compliance with this law.
Being on the main page, a person should immediately understand where he can find information about the areas of training, the procedure for submitting documents, scientific activities, etc.
The site is divided into sections logically, a person immediately understands where and what he can find.
What information should be posted on the site?
- Detailed information about the faculties, areas of training and educational programs. Tell us what opportunities education gives in these specialties, what professions will be available to the graduate and what are the conditions for admission.
- About the activities conducting by the organization. Demonstrate what non-academic activities the organization is engaged in.
- About teachers. Teachers are the bearers of knowledge who will work with students. The quality of education depends on their professionalism. Therefore, it is necessary to work with their reputation. Reflect their qualifications and scientific achievements. Explain why they are experts in their field.
- Licenses, certificates, accreditations. This is the main guarantee of quality and the basis for reputation. They need to be demonstrated and talked about the prestige of these licenses and certificates.
- Place in the rankings. This is one of the main indicators of the prestige and quality of education of educational institutions. If your organization ranks high in domestic and international rankings, be sure to reflect this on the website.
- Methods of communication with the organization. Indicate the phone numbers and addresses of your institution, opening hours, callback order form, etc. Students should immediately understand how to contact you.
- Scientific activity. If your organization is engaged in research and contributes to the development of science, tell us about it. This will raise the status of the institution.
- Achievements of students. If your students win prizes at olympiads and competitions, participate in scientific conferences and are published in authoritative publications, be sure to write about it.
- Unique Selling Proposition or USP. This is what sets you apart from your competitors. It is necessary to explain what makes you special, why you are better than your competitors. The USP can be a high quality of education or the level of employment in the profession among former students, the possibility of exchange studies, as well as cooperation with large organizations and the possibility of doing internships and internships there.
If you provide educational services to foreigners, you need to make an English version of the site. It may differ significantly from the Russian language and contain only the information that is relevant to foreign students.
And if your organization is inclusive, then you should make a version of the site for visually impaired people.
Given the peculiarities of young people’s behavior on the Internet, it is necessary to adapt the site for mobile devices. It is highly likely that the applicant will view it from the phone.
Banners are formatted to fit the screen, and the menu is conveniently placed in the upper right corner
For an educational organization, prestige and an impeccable reputation are in the first place. This is a complex task that requires working on PR promotion and branding and building strong relationships with clients through social networks and mailing lists.
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