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Top 10 Higher Education Marketing Strategies for 2024

Looking for some tips on higher education marketing? Our article reveals 10 innovative strategies that focus on creating authentic connections and enhancing online visibility. Join us to learn how to engage students and transform your marketing approach in 2024.

Ksawery Cepeniuk

Higher education marketing faces new challenges and opportunities in 2024. We're here to share ten effective strategies that focus on a crucial question: How can universities effectively attract and keep students engaged in a digital-first environment?

Spoiler: it's about creating genuine connections and improving online visibility.

Now, consider this startling fact from FirstPageSage: the average cost to get one lead interested in higher education is now $982 in 2024. That's quite surprising and underscores the importance of enhancing the lead generation process.

It's essential for universities to become more efficient in attracting leads and converting them into enrolled students. Let's explore these strategies together and find ways to make this process more effective and cost-efficient.

Key Takeaways

Diversifying social media presence, creating resonant content, and employing SEO is crucial for engaging prospective students and enhancing the digital visibility of higher ed institutions.

Storytelling, through compelling video narratives and student success stories, establishes emotional connections and demonstrates the value and impact of higher education programs.

Adopting personalized and data-driven marketing approaches, such as interactive virtual campus tours and targeted PPC campaigns, greatly improves recruitment efforts and student engagement.

How Student Expectations Have Changed

Students today expect more than just the ability to learn new things from a higher education institution. They want their education to be flexible, to feel personal, and to clearly lead to future jobs. They're all about being online, so they check out schools on social media and listen to what others say before deciding where to go.

Because of this, universities need to step up their game. Higher education institutions have to show off what makes them special, not just in brochures or on their website, but where students actually hang out: online. This means sharing real stories of student success, offering online learning options, and making sure their community feels welcoming to everyone.

In short, universities have to make sure they're not just seen as a place to study but as a place where students can really prepare for their futures in a way that feels right for them. This means being active and engaging online, showing how they help students get to where they want to be, and making everyone feel included.

General Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2024

In 2024, digital marketing trends are all about embracing new technologies and understanding changing consumer behaviors. Here's a simplified breakdown:

  • AI and Content: Using artificial intelligence to create content.
  • Authenticity Matters: Genuine, high-quality marketing is key.
  • Short-Form Content: Brief, engaging content caters to shorter attention spans.
  • Impact of Cancel Culture: Being mindful of brand messaging.
  • SEO Evolution: Focusing on user-friendly strategies.
  • Voice Search: Gaining popularity for queries.
  • Video Content: Remains essential for engagement.
  • Mobile-First: Ensuring your digital presence is optimized for mobile.
  • Personalization Peak: Tailoring experiences based on data.
  • Emerging Trends: Possible decline of YouTube ad effectiveness, importance of mobile apps, exploring the metaverse, and using augmented reality.
  • Vanity Metrics Caution: Focusing on meaningful engagement rather than just numbers.

For more detailed insights, read our article about 2024 marketing trends.

Digital Marketing Strategy for Higher Education

Digital marketing in higher education is an internal part of marketing nowadays. In the coming paragraphs, we'll focus on embracing social media marketing, creating a content marketing strategy with short-form videos, and improving search engine visibility.

#1: Embracing Social Media

You have to meet students where they are. Just having a Facebook page isn't a viable marketing strategy anymore. In 2024, students are everywhere – Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, even LinkedIn for those thinking ahead to their careers. Universities need to diversify their social media strategy to reach potential students across all these platforms.

But it's not just about being there; it's about engaging in meaningful ways. Hosting live Q&A sessions, sharing behind-the-scenes looks at campus life, and showcasing student achievements can create a vibrant and relatable online community.

#2: Crafting Compelling Content

University of London student blogs web page

Crafting compelling content goes beyond just posting updates and events. It's about telling stories that resonate with your audience. This could mean creating blog posts that offer insights into student life, curating articles that highlight the success of alumni, or producing videos that showcase the unique experiences your university offers.

Content should be designed to not only inform but also inspire and engage prospective students. Think about leveraging user-generated content as well, encouraging current students to share their own stories and experiences. This adds authenticity and can be incredibly persuasive to prospects.

Take the University of London as an example. They have a blog featuring posts by students from across the globe who share their academic experiences with peers, giving genuine insights and perspectives on studying at the university. This helps instill trust and build credibility too.

Using Video Content

Video narratives offer a dynamic and engaging way to showcase campus life to prospective students. They provide an immersive experience that gives students a real sense of the institution’s environment and community. Universities can bring their campus to life in a captivating and engaging manner by using a blend of images, videos, and 360º tours.

But in 2024, short-form video content is king in capturing the attention of prospective students.

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels offer fantastic opportunities to highlight campus life, share snippets of lectures, and promote events in an engaging and digestible format. These videos don't need to be highly produced; authenticity wins over polish. Think student takeovers, day-in-the-life videos, and mini-tutorials related to courses offered.

#3: The Synergy of SEO and Content Marketing

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content marketing go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. You may have the best content out there, but what is it worth if nobody reads it? SEO is all about making sure that when prospective students are searching online for their next educational step, your university pops up right in front of them.

This means optimizing your content with relevant keywords, making sure your website's architecture is search-engine friendly, and creating valuable content that answers the questions potential students might have. If you don't know much about SEO, we recommend using an agency or experienced freelancers to help you create SEO content and optimize your website.

#4: Personalized Communication

Personalized communication goes beyond just addressing students by their first names in emails. It's about tailoring the entire communication experience to meet their interests, needs, and stage in the decision-making process. Higher education marketing teams can use data analytics to understand prospective students better and customize their messages accordingly.

This could mean analyzing the needs of your target audience, segmenting it, and then sending targeted information about specific courses or inviting them to online webinars that align with their goals.

For instance, if a prospective student has shown interest in environmental science, universities can highlight their green initiatives, research opportunities in sustainability, or student-led conservation projects. This not only shows that the university pays attention to individual interests but also helps in making the student feel seen and understood.

#5: Virtual Campus Tours

Interactive virtual campus tours offer an engaging way for prospective students to explore and learn about unique landmarks and highlights of the campus. They allow institutions to bring their campus to life in a way that captivates and engages viewers.

A mix of images, videos, and 360º tours can give prospective students a comprehensive overview of the university and an authentic feel of the campus.

Adding augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to virtual campus tours makes them way cooler. With a VR headset, you can virtually walk around the campus, feeling like you're actually there. AR can show you cool facts and seasonal changes right on your phone or tablet.

These techs make tours more fun and accessible, especially for those who can't visit in person. It shows off the university's tech-savvy side and makes the campus tour unforgettable. Plus, it might just be the thing that convinces students to pick your school.

#6: Influencer and Ambassador Programs

Influencer and ambassador programs can seriously boost engagement and accelerate brand recognition among students. Taking advantage of the authenticity and appeal of student ambassadors and influencers can help in generating impactful user-generated content that deeply resonates with potential students.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for promoting the institution and reaching new audiences. Teaming up with influencers in higher ed marketing allows to:

  • Create meaningful connections with students, alumni, and potential applicants.
  • Boost student engagement.
  • Enhance campus involvement and event participation.

Embracing micro-influencer marketing can be a great strategy to achieve these goals. These are people with a lower follower count than your typical celebrity. But at the same time, they have a more engaged audience who actually trusts them.

Authenticity and social influence through influencers who align with your brand’s values and resonate with your audience can elevate your marketing efforts.

#7: Innovative Ad Campaigns: PPC and Beyond

Targeted PPC campaigns are a powerful tool for reaching specific demographics and generating high-quality leads. These campaigns use keyword research and in-depth reporting to ensure the ads reach an audience actively seeking educational opportunities.

Creative display and responsive ads can increase engagement and click-through rates. By incorporating clear and compelling headlines, details about prices, promotions, and exclusive offers and ensuring the ad design appeals to online users, institutions can see their click-through rates soar.

#8: Improving Website User Experience

Now, imagine landing on a website that's as welcoming as a cozy café. That's the vibe institutions should aim for. The website is like the front door to the campus online. It needs to be smooth, welcoming, and packed with all the info a prospective student could want. Easy navigation is key, and stuff like program details, admission deets, and a peek into campus life should be just a click away.

Making sure it's usable and well-designed will improve your conversion rates, meaning more of your website visitors turn into leads. And that's important for student recruitment — you can have the most effective marketing strategies and lots of website traffic, but what is it worth if it doesn't translate into actual sign-ups?

READ ALSO: How to Convert Leads Into Customers

Throwing in some tech magic like chatbots and click-to-call software like CallPage can also make a huge difference. It's like having a friendly guide ready to help 24/7, making sure visitors get the answers they need without having to dig through a maze of web pages.

#9: Building a Community

Creating a sense of community is huge in higher ed marketing strategies. Using specific hashtags can help students, faculty, and alumni connect and share their experiences. It's about showing off that unique campus culture and making everyone feel like they're part of something special.

And events – oh, the events! Whether online or on the green lawns of the campus, organizing events and promoting them can turn the school spirit up to eleven. They're perfect for strengthening bonds and making your higher education community buzz with excitement.

#10: Measuring Success: Analytics and Adjustments

Last but not least, let's talk about keeping score. Knowing if all these digital marketing strategies are hitting the mark comes down to analytics. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), those are the breadcrumbs that lead to the gingerbread house of success. It's about tracking what works, what doesn't, and tweaking the plan accordingly.

Here are a few KPIs your marketing team should be tracking:

  • Website Traffic: How many people visit your site, and where are they coming from?
  • Website Conversion Rates: Are visitors turning into inquiries, applicants, or enrollees?
  • Social Media Engagement Rate: How interactive are your followers with your content?
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): For emails and ads, are people clicking on the links you provide?
  • Cost Per Lead: Is your marketing budget being spent effectively?
  • Email Metrics: Do your emails get opened and acted upon?

Tools? There are plenty, from Google Analytics to specialized education marketing platforms. The trick is to keep an eye on the metrics that matter – engagement rates, click-throughs, conversion rates, you name it.

And when the numbers talk, it's time to listen and adjust. Maybe it's tweaking an ad campaign or revamping a section of the website. Whatever it is, it's about being agile and ready to make moves.


So there you have it, a rundown on how higher ed institutions can shine brighter than a supernova in the vast universe of education marketing. Whether it's through smart ad campaigns, making their website the place to be, building a vibrant community, or keeping tabs on the metrics, there's a whole playbook of strategies ready to roll out.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is educational content marketing?

Educational content marketing involves educating your audience on topics related to your niche, which expands your reach by focusing on teaching rather than just selling. This approach allows you to connect with a wider audience and build trust.

What are the 4 E's of content marketing?

The four E's of content marketing are: educate, engage, entertain, and empower. Creating content that falls into one or more of these categories is essential for successful content marketing.

What are the 4 P's of marketing for educational institutions?

The four P's of marketing for educational institutions are price, product, place, and promotion. Each institution may approach marketing differently, but these are common factors to consider when developing marketing strategies.

What is the best email marketing platform for colleges?

The best email marketing platform for colleges is Mailmeteor. It offers a free and straightforward solution with robust tools for creating and designing emails, making connecting with current and future students easy. Check it out!

How can higher education institutions adapt to the digital landscape?

Higher education institutions can adapt to the digital landscape by embracing social media diversity, crafting compelling content, and optimizing search engines to stay relevant and engaging in the online space. This will help them reach and connect with a wider audience.

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