Educational institutions have historically had a traditional outlook, and that includes how they have attracted and retained students. Even so, as educational methods change (for example, distance learning is constantly expanding), institutions are using different strategies to attract new international students, offer more courses, and connect with their audiences.
In other words, marketing is now seen as a great strategy to attract new international students. Institutions now recognize themselves as businesses and strive for financial health in their results.
Schools and educational institutions are experiencing a change in the way they acquire international students. These students are looking for ways to learn and qualify online, so having a digital presence is more important than ever.
Believe us, it's not enough to have just a website. You need a structured digital marketing strategy to attract your potential international student and then to start an amazing journey with them.
The next step of the journey is to engage visitors and convert them into leads — as well as engaging and educating the future student during her decision-making process.
Why schools and educational institutions should invest in digital marketing
If you are in charge of an educational institution, and your biggest complaint is that the budget allocated to advertising isn't worth it for the results it generates, you need to rethink some things.
Resources directed to the institution's marketing cannot be considered an expense, but an investment with a guaranteed return. Since traditional marketing strategies aren't always effective, your educational institution needs to embrace digital marketing.
Here are 4 advantages that can help clarify your reasons for investing in marketing strategies for your educational institution:
1. Make your educational institution a reference
If you do what other educational institutions do, why should an international student choose you?
Think about it:
If you have something that another school or university doesn't have, but nobody knows about it, it doesn't matter.
You need to attract people who are interested in what you have to offer. Identify the channels where you target your audience and provide content that will keep them engaged.
Digital marketing is one of the best strategies, and it is perfectly suited to the education market, as it is already used to producing segmented content. This content is what will define you as "A" educational institution. In other words, it's what will expose your values and establish your market position.
2. Improve your marketing data analysis
With digital marketing, you can target your actions to where your audience is as well as analyze the results of these actions to facilitate future strategies. It works well with an established scientific method — growth hacking — and at a significantly lower cost.
Do not spend all of your marketing budget on one strategy — spread it among all the planned activities, and after analyzing the results, cut the ones that don't work and invest in the ones that do.
With the metrics tools, digital marketing will provide more financial control to organize and/or demonstrate what the return on investment is being gained.
By analyzing the behavior of your audience, these tools will also help you better understand your profile and further guide your strategy. The results of your activities will be under your control, unlike traditional marketing.
3. Expand your digital reach by investing in digital marketing
When using traditional marketing strategies, you are limited to specific regions, but when using digital marketing, you can target international students in locations where you previously had no reach.
As a result of producing content to become a reference in the educational market, your institution will have a much bigger reach and will attract — through the advantages presented by its strategies — a much larger audience willing to learn from you.
4. Generate results that continue to grow by investing in digital marketing
Institutions that care for the development of people know that their results are not immediate, but that their effects are long-lasting and continuous. This is why they say that good institutions prepare students for life. The same principle applies to digital marketing. The results will be progressive, and the more familiar you are with the actions that generate results for your institution, the more dynamic and easier this process will be.
In addition, by maintaining relationships with international students and potential students, their stay at your institution can be extended to another course, a workshop, etc. Keeping long-term results in mind not only increases profits, but also has countless advantages, including maintaining the institution's reputation.
Think about starting a digital marketing program at your institution
There is still a lot of room for improvement in marketing and sales. With digital marketing, we are able to reduce uncertainty, focus on numbers and metrics, and develop plans that are consistent with our objectives.
Test, find what works, invest more where it works, and cut investment where it doesn't.
Still, there is no magic formula or foolproof strategy.
Despite similar characteristics, a strategy that works for one university might not work for a competitor for no apparent reason. The strategy that works for one course can waste time and resources for another course from the same company.
In order to succeed with digital marketing, educational institutions can pay attention to some signs that indicate a problem and then dig deeper.
Digital marketing to attract international students is the positive transformation of a value market.
By focusing on what differentiates you, you’ll make your institution more profitable, better able to discern correct marketing spends, and better able to attract and retain international students.
Schools, colleges, distance-learning institutions, or open courses can benefit from the use of digital marketing tools. There is no formula or a perfect combination that can be replicated for each institution since their profiles differ a great deal, however not using tools that can assist in the day-to-day ends up being a loss in the long run.
Educational institutions investing in technology to improve management and efficiency in attracting international students, closing enrollments, coordinating projects, among others, have already achieved better results.