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Best Education Marketing Strategies In 2021

10min read

Best Education Marketing Strategies In 2021

Education marketing is a type of marketing that promotes valuable educational content and helps institutions and individuals take advantage of it.

Educational content includes everything from courses and how-to videos to research papers and books to software applications for desktop computers and mobile devices. With the right education marketing strategy, educational content can spread like wildfire and ignite curious minds from all over the world.

In 2021, as the world continues to adjust to the global disruption caused by COVID-19, educational marketing needs to adjust as well. Leaning into the benefits of apps and other distance learning tools to help students thrive during this unprecedented time.

In this article, we explain the top education marketing strategies that professionals in the education sector need to know about in 2021, providing several specific examples to consider when planning marketing activities this year.

Why Does the Education Sector Need Education Marketing?

The education sector has been experiencing a massive boom thanks to the numerous opportunities created by the internet and modern technologies in general. According to Orbis research, the global e-learning market worldwide is set to surpass $275 billion value by 2022, driven largely by the escalation in the number of internet users and growing access to broadband internet and mobile phones with online capabilities.

Traditional educational institutions, as well as private developers, have so far released over 500,000 educational apps, many of which are available on the App Store and Google Play. Besides education apps, the e-learning market is also saturated with online courses, videos, eBooks, and websites, making it very difficult for new players to get noticed.

Education marketing’s purpose is to implement various marketing strategies to promote valuable educational content. And it is often the only way for new educational content to reach students and gain traction.

Education marketing shouldn’t be confused with education-based marketing, a specific marketing strategy that involves the education of prospects, rather than pitching them, to establish trust. On the other hand, education marketing encompasses all marketing activities in the education sector, including the following:

  • School marketing: There was a time when schools didn’t need marketing because they relied solely on their reputation and word of mouth. That time is forever gone because millennial parents are more tech-savvy and use the internet to support their decision making. Schools that don’t actively market themselves are destined to be ignored by many millennial parents who would otherwise be greatly interested in what they have to offer.
  • Marketing for higher education: Education marketing and higher education are a match made in heaven. Colleges and universities benefit from marketing for higher education because it helps them elevate their brand and drives enrollment. Students benefit from it because higher education marketing helps them make the right choice when choosing their education path.
  • Digital marketing for the education sector: In today’s digital world, traditional marketing strategies are no longer suitable for targeting younger demographics. Educational institutions must embrace digital channels if they want to convey their message to a large audience in a cost-effective manner. Such channels include email, web content, social media, paid search, and others. Harnessing these and other marketing channels is not easy, but the potential to greatly increase revenue and decrease cost per lead is huge, making digital marketing an important cornerstone of every education marketing strategy.
  • Social media marketing for educational institutions: Parents and students alike spend a lot of time on social media sites, and educational institutions should establish a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage with them and learn more about their wants and expectations. Content published on social media should be bite-sized, captivating, and in line with the image the institution is trying to build.
  • The promotion of educational apps: The current educational app market is so competitive that it’s no longer enough just to have a great product—one must also have a great educational marketing strategy that is executed to perfection to get ahead of the competition.

While leading providers of marketing services to educational institutions, such as ComboApp, often use education-based marketing when promoting education services and products, the fact remains that it is just one of many effective education marketing strategies that can be used in 2021.

7 Best Education Marketing Strategies in 2021

The best education marketing strategies in 2020—regardless of whether they’re used in marketing for schools or in marketing for educational apps—take advantage of the tremendous opportunities created by the internet.

That’s not to say that traditional advertising strategies, such as billboards, flyers and brochures, print ads, and face to face meetings, have no place in the digital era, but their return on investment makes them far less attractive than modern digital marketing strategies.

Best education marketing strategies in 2020

Let’s take a look at these seven strategies for marketing education in 2021.

1. Use Social Media Platforms to Connect with Your Audience

There are now approximately 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, which equates to about 42 percent of the population. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit are the most popular among millennials, followed by Gen Z, Gen X, and baby boomers.

Since their early days, social media platforms have matured in every way imaginable, and they now provide a myriad of different ways how they can be used in higher education marketing. Regardless of which social media platform you decide to target, your goal should always be the same: establish meaningful connections with your target audience by providing engaging content.

It’s helpful to create a social media marketing (SMM) persona to represent your target audience. The marketing persona should include information such as age, gender, education, goals, challenges, and primary values. When deciding what content to create, always keep your social media persona in mind but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Collection of relevant data

As you build your social media following, you gradually reach a position where a single piece of content can instantly reach millions even if your actual follower count is much lower. Unlike other schools marketing methods, SMM lets you see exactly who’s sharing your content, providing you with useful information that you can use to tweak your promotional efforts.

2. Include Digital Advertising in Your Marketing Budget

Digital advertising can be a very effective way of marketing education services, which is part of the reason why worldwide digital advertising spending is predicted to reach over $375 billion by 2021. eMarketer, the company behind this mind-blowing statistic projects that advertisers in the United States will spend 54.2 percent of their advertising budgets on digital ads. By 2023, that figure is expected to reach 66.8 percent.

The biggest advantage digital advertising offers over traditional advertising is precise targeting based on demographics, intent, engagement patterns, and other things. For example, a higher education marketing agency that’s marketing for schools can target only graduate students who live in a certain area and have in the past shown an interest in a certain product or service. Such targeting can have an incredibly positive effect on the click-through rate of advertising campaigns as well as all other important metrics.

History of data-driven marketing

Some of the most commonly used digital advertising channels in 2020 include search engine advertising, social media advertising, display or banner ads, and video ads. Each of these channels has its pros and cons, which is why advertising experts generally recommend using a mix of all channels.

Regardless of how much of your marketing budget you dedicate to digital advertising, make sure to gather as much data as possible so you can monitor its effectiveness and make educated decisions to improve it.

3. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website with an Optimized Landing Page

It has been several years since the number of mobile internet users has exceeded the number of people who access the internet from desktop computers and laptops. In 2020, the number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to reach 2.87 billion, which means that nobody who wants to succeed in education marketing can afford to not have a mobile-friendly website with an optimized landing page.

For a website to be mobile-friendly, it must look and feel great on mobile devices, which means that all links and navigation elements must be easily clickable, the site itself must be responsive, and page loading times shouldn’t exceed three seconds (that’s how quickly a half of the online population expects a website to load).

In 2021, it’s also worth considering using AMP, which is a web component framework and a website publishing technology developed by Google that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are fast, smooth-loading, and prioritize user-experience above everything else.

If nothing else, make sure your website passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, whose purpose is to determine how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.

Google's mobile-friendly test

To use it, enter the URL of your website and wait for the tool to finish testing. Mobile-Friendly Test will tell you whether your website is or isn’t mobile-friendly, and it will also provide you a detailed overview of all the page loading issues it has encountered so you can fix them.

The next problem we face in this discussion is how to create educational websites that prioritize user-experience. This will depend on the needs of your users and the educational product you offer. Some parts are universal though, and that means being easy to navigate and having engaging content. You want people to want to use your website, and these are two of the biggest factors that make people navigate away and never return.

This is especially true when you create a website for education institutions. Make everything easy to access and without a user needing to drill down through several levels of menus to find what they are looking for. You also want to keep a steady flow of content that will benefit your users and keep them visiting to see what is new.

4. Encourage Students to Leave Online Reviews

It’s a well-known fact at this point that 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business or paying for a service. That’s why online reviews should be an integral part of all higher education marketing strategies.

The best way how to encourage students to leave online reviews is to make the review process as easy as possible. Better yet: make it fun! Instead of forcing students to fill miles long forms, you can implement a star-based rating and make verbal feedback completely optional.

Capture user feedback to adjust and optimize product roadmap

When you receive an online review, make sure to respond to it as quickly as possible. Don’t ignore negative reviews but, at the same time, avoid being dismissive. You should see every negative review you receive as an opportunity to show potential customers how you deal with worst-case situations.

If you find that you aren’t getting as many reviews as you’d like, you can always incentivize the review process by offering discounts, gift cards, bonus points, and other incentives. Often, it’s enough to politely solicit reviews in emails or some other one-to-one communication channel.

5. Create Engaging Video Content

Increasingly more marketers say that video content gives them a great return on investment, and it’s easy to see why. After all, 78 percent of people watch online videos every week, and 55 percent view online videos every day, according to HubSpot. That’s a lot of potential viewers that can be targeted by creating engaging video content and publishing it online.

Because educational content is among the most popular types of video content, education marketing professionals seldom have to look far for content ideas. They can simply transform existing products or services into entertaining videos and publish them on leading video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube.

Use educational video content for education marketing

Video content can have many different forms, including demo videos, brand or event videos, expert interviews, educational or how-to tutorials, explainer videos, animated content, case study and customer testimonial videos, live videos, virtual reality videos, and others.

You should let your audience tell you which video content to produce, and that’s possible only if you keep an eye on important metrics like watch time, average view duration, average completion rate, audience retention, re-watches, click-through-rate, engagement, subscriber growth, peak live viewers, and others.

6. Promote Safety

The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 will continue to reverberate through 2021 and likely for the foreseeable future. When developing an education marketing strategy for this era, this presents both new challenges and opportunities. The challenges will come from an increase in the amount of competitors moving into online educational spaces, which will be balanced out by more parents and students seeking options for learning at home.

Leaning into promoting the safety and convenience of learning from home is going to be a winning strategy for educational marketing. Let your audience know the benefits of using your service as part of their education plan, and how it contributes to the safety of students or families. Distance learning websites and apps are well positioned to take advantage and rise to the moment, but even traditional educational institutions can lean in by promoting their home based options when marketing education offerings in 2021.

The more you focus on developing great distance learning tools for students, the greater the opportunity to make the best of this situation. If you do not already have any, develop educational apps in order to take advantage of the added convenience of being able to access your content and courses from anywhere with a mobile device.

7. Create Educational Apps

While it has been mentioned in a few of the previous points, the benefits of having an app are even greater in 2021. With the explosion of people now seeking ways to learn or access educational materials online, having an app is another fantastic way to both attract and keep users. Rather than having to navigate to your website, having a simple button on their home screen that they can click and go right into their lessons is a convenience that cannot be understated.

Marketing your educational app requires all of the same tools used to market a website, including paid ads, reviews, and social media. But, apps also have the benefit of serving as another marketing tool as well. They give you an ability to market further services directly to users while also keeping them engaged with personalized content and push notification reminders if they do not log in for a period of time. This added benefit means that you have more opportunities to retain students and encourage them to access more of your courses.

For traditional educational institutions, apps can serve as a great way for students to access course material, schedules, activities, and more. It also can give students a way to solve simple problems or ask questions without having to come to campus in order to do so.

Apps offer both convenience and safety for the students and users of all types of educational services. An education marketing agency such as ComboApp will help you develop the right strategy for how to market educational apps effectively.

Conclusion

With the seven education marketing strategies explained in this article, you shouldn’t have any problem successfully marketing your education service or product to students of all ages. Well rounded approaches to marketing education programs will take advantage of most or all of these strategies as part of their educational marketing plan.

The challenges of the current global pandemic also presents opportunity to those who are prepared. School marketing strategies can benefit from a focus on safe learning in their marketing content. Educational websites and apps can also benefit by presenting themselves as safe alternatives to in person education.

If you still feel intimidated by marketing for education or just want to avoid making a potentially costly mistake, you can always rely on the educational marketing services provided by ComboApp to make your offering stand out with innovative digital marketing solutions.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. We look forward to helping you become the next unicorn!

FAQs about Education Marketing

1. Why does the education sector need education marketing?

Traditional educational institutions, as well as private developers, have so far released over half-million educational apps. Besides education apps, the e-learning market is also saturated with online courses, videos, eBooks, and websites, making it nearly impossible for a new product or service to get noticed without a carefully planned and well executed marketing strategy.

2. What is social media marketing for educational institutions?

Social media marketing for educational institutions is no different from social media marketing for any business. It is a means to communicate targeted information, gain referrals, and cultivate strong brand connections with existing and prospective educational product or service users.

3. What are the advantages of digital marketing for the education sector?

Digital marketing provides cost-effective, compared to traditional marketing methods, ways of introducing new educational products and services to a wide range of audiences. Allowing for both wide reach and precise targeting as well as accurate performance tracking of the campaigns.

4. Why does your educational product or institution need a mobile-friendly website?

Most of the content on the web is accessed from mobile devices, meaning that anybody who wants to succeed in bringing a new educational product or service to market can not afford to not have a mobile-friendly website with an optimized landing page.

5. How to use online reviews as an education marketing strategy?

Online reviews provide an invaluable opportunity to identify and address any issues with the product or service early on, highlight your brand’s strengths and competitive advantages, build relationships with existing customers and show potential customers how much you care.

6. How to market education services with video content?

Listen to your audience, they will tell you what kind of video content to produce and where to publish it. Use analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to keep an eye on engagement metrics such as number of views, average view duration, average completion rate, audience retention, re-watches, click-through-rate, subscriber growth, peak live viewers, and other audience engagement KPIs.