In years past, the education industry didn’t typically need to perform marketing because
demand outweighed supply. There was an ongoing cycle of new students replacing graduates, and educators didn’t need to focus their efforts on replenishment.
However, there are now more institutions than ever offering specialized programs. This has led to increased competition and the need for an effective marketing campaign. Here are three essential questions educators need to ask before marketing can begin.
1) Which Branch of Education Are We In?
While there are numerous types of educational programs, they can be broken down into six main branches. These include preschool, elementary, secondary, vocational, higher and adult education. Because the branch of education your institution is in will determine your general approach and specific marketing techniques, it’s critical to take this into consideration before doing anything else.
A school offering higher education to college students would implement a different strategy than a private, pre K school. The specific channels that are used are likely to differ as well. For instance, a university might be best suited to use SEO and social media to reach prospective students, and a secondary school might develop videos to draw interest from both young people and their parents.
2) What Demographic Are We Trying to Reach?
Although all educational institutions are marketing to potential students, the exact demographic can vary. The main factors that will determine your demographic are age, gender, income level and current level of education. A private, pre K school would want to reach the parents of young childred between the ages of 1 and 6, while a university would primarily want to reach young adults between the ages of 18 and 23.
For all girl or all boy schools, this will cut the demographic in half and you would need to choose marketing mediums that specifically reach the gender that your institution caters to. If you are advertising a graduate program within higher education, then you would want to target individuals who already have at least a bachelor’s degree.
3) What Is Our Demographic Looking For?
Finally, it’s critical to have an understanding of the benefits that potential students are seeking and how enrolling in your institution will positively impact their lives. A vocational school might have students that are looking for relatively brief training in a certain program to learn a trade. Those students would want to know that they can graduate or earn a certificate in a given period of time and find a solid job in their field of choice.
Your goal should be to understand your demographics’ needs and explain how your institution can fulfill those needs. This will play a role in the type of marketing channels you use and the content of your campaign.
By asking these questions, educators can determine the ideal path to take when marketing. This way you can get the most from your time and hopefully see a favorable return on investment.