The VPM Blog

8 Myths about Higher Ed Advertising

Posted by Laurie Webb on Mar 20, 2015 10:18:00 AM

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Believe it or not, higher ed advertising has many facets. There are so many different strategies out there in place, but do they all work? Many do, many don’t. There are traditional strategies on one end, modern college advertising strategies on the opposite end of the spectrum and a mix of the two. With all of these tactics, it can be hard to know what works and doesn’t work. But no worries, we’ve got your back. Here are 8 myths about higher ed advertising.

 

1. It will blow my budget out of the water.

You don’t have to have a giant budget to get the word out to your potential students. Traditional marketing is very expensive, but thanks to inbound marketing and the Internet, many things are digitized and you don’t have to have TV commercials, magazine articles and thousands of brochures to mail out.

 

2. I don’t have to write content.

False. According to NewsCred, 72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 69% say it is superior to direct mail and PR. Content is incredibly important. Allow your website and social media profiles to be the information hub for prospective students.

 

3. I don’t have to sell to parents, just students.

Not true. It’s quite common for parents to play a huge role in where their child goes to college, especially if they are paying for it. Parents want to feel like their child is getting the best education and value out of the college the child attends. The more comfortable a parent feels about your school, the more likely the student will enroll. Cater your content to both parents and students.

 

4. Social media isn’t that important.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a social media presence is a huge deal. Facebook is one of the most popular methods for sharing content. According to The Leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal, 63% of millennials say they stay updated on brands through social networks; 51% say social opinions influence their purchase decisions; and 46% “count on social media” when buying online.

 

5. I need TV commercials, mailers and large email campaigns.

If you have an unlimited budget, sure, go for it. But, most of us don’t. According to NewsCred, 86% of people skip TV commercials, 44% of direct mail is never opened and 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into.

 

6. Blogs are for freelancers.

I ought to smack you in the face. That’s definitely not true. According to Newscred, companies that publish new blog posts 15+ times per month (3-4 posts per week) generate five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. Blogs are one of the best content types for marketing.

 

7. I don’t have to use segmentation for potential students.

Please, no more batch and blast emails and one message and voice advertising campaigns. Sure, most prospective students are generally the same age group, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely homogeneous. Some students may come for your athletic program, some may like your science program, who knows, but you need to find out. Create content that is well rounded and caters to all students and all of their interests.

 

8. My school’s website doesn’t need to be optimized for mobile devices right now.

False. People are glued to their smartphones more than ever. According to the Leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal, 50% of millennials use their smartphones to research products or services while shopping, and 41% have made purchases using their phones. Student enrollment is your product. High school seniors are researching colleges, and if your website doesn’t work on mobile devices, you might be missing out on potential students.

  

Higher Ed is extremely competitive and knowing how to advertise your school can be a daunting task, but with these debunked myths, your strategy should look more promising and doable. Happy advertising!

 

University's Tool Kit for Launching a Remarkable Campaign

photo credit: Juli and the T via photopin (license)

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