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5 Trends in Higher Education Marketing in 2020

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2020 has been a wild ride so far. Just about every industry has been experiencing massive disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including higher education. Many campuses have closed for the spring semester and have shifted all classes online.

Just because the industry may be pivoting to an online model, however, doesn’t mean you’re your marketing efforts should stop. Higher education marketing in 2020 is still important, especially as people work on building their skills and knowledge to become more competitive in the workforce.

So what techniques are working well in 2020? Let’s take a look at the 5 biggest trends in higher education marketing during this turbulent year.

Lead Generation is on the Rise 

Higher education lead generation is a very simple, but very important marketing concept. It simply means to capture the interest, attention, and ideally, contact information of an organization’s ideal client.

In higher education marketing, lead generation doesn’t just mean getting more people to visit your school’s website, though. It means driving high-quality traffic (promising prospective students) to your university’s website and capturing their interest with the right kind of content. From there, visitors are likely to seek out more information about the school and potentially apply.

Sharing Your University’s Brand Story 

Every university is unique, with its own culture and brand story. To attract students who will thrive in the unique environment of your school, it’s extremely important to share your university’s brand story and to be consistent. Why should students choose your school over all the other options?

In creating your brand story, think about the students you serve. What type of student gets the most out of the university experience at your school? Find some examples of students who could be your “brand heroes” and help you tell the story of your university.

Remember to be authentic! Prospective students should know what to expect and feel confident about enrolling.

Optimizing Timing of Newsletter Outreach

Because of the pandemic, everything in higher education is now happening online. You have to not only create the right content for your audience but send it at the right time as well.

A quick, easy and free strategy for improving email marketing efforts in 2020 is to align your marketing pitch with a “new decade” mindset.” says Tyler Putz, Inbound Marketing Manager at higher education digital marketing agency Circa Interactive in an interview with SmartrMail.

“Consumers and businesses will look to make major changes in the 20s and taking a time-sensitive, transformational angle with your subject line and overall pitch should increase your open-rates and leads, so be sure to include something about “new decade” or “2020” in your subject line.”

Today, newsletter timing can be optimized with very little manual intervention. Thanks to new automation and artificial intelligence tools, we’re moving toward enhanced personalization in 2020. In higher education marketing, we now have the ability to send newsletters and other emails based on past behavior and optimized for each lead. This can improve engagement and lead to increased enrollment.

Video Ads Are Seeing Major Engagement 

People love videos. Video content is one of the fastest-growing tools in digital marketing, and it’s creating lots of new leads for universities.

Although ads can sometimes be obtrusive, video advertising has been creating lots of engagement for higher education institutions recently. If you’re not using video yet, it’s time to start—you don’t want to fall behind on this trend! 

Marketing via Personal Voice Assistant? You Bet! 

Some things don’t change: a major focus of digital marketing in any industry is to be featured at the top of Google’s search results. What has changed, though, is how people interact with search engines. In 2020, it’s all about voice search!

In SEO for higher education, universities need to consider the impact that voice search is having on which websites get noticed. These days, you should be targeting the “featured snippet” spots. When your content is featured in the snippet spot, voice assistants will read back your content to the person performing the voice search. It’s an incredible way to get noticed and to generate more leads!

Pivot as Necessary 

We all know that 2020 is going to continue to be a rough year. Universities need to stick to an efficient marketing strategy and shift their focus to the online sector in order to survive the economic downturn caused by the virus.

The good news is that as humans, we’re wired to learn—and people are always interested in becoming more skilled and knowledgeable. Universities can help people to grow, learn, and improve their lives, especially during times of trouble!

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