Higher education marketing trends are always evolving, but at the beginning of 2021, the landscape looks drastically different than it did 12-18 months ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, and the most successful higher education institutions are quickly adapting their marketing strategy to fit the times.
So what are the top higher education marketing trends for 2021? Check out our ultimate guide to see what your organization should adopt in the new year.
1. Connect with Prospective Students on Social Media
Social media use has been on the rise for more than a decade. But recently, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter saw a sharp spike in usage, as people across the world spent more time at home than ever before. According to Statista, over 40% of consumers spent more time on social media and messaging services like WhatsApp starting in March 2020.
Many higher education institutions are taking advantage of this trend by connecting with prospective students via social media. So get out there—launch an Instagram campaign, host a Facebook Live Q&A, or answer questions on Twitter.
2. Embrace the Inbox (Over the Mailbox)
Embrace the inbox over the mailbox in 2021 by sending personalized marketing messages that spur students to take action. Your efforts are sure to pay off: Studies show that every $1 spent on email marketing results in an average return of $38.
Paper mail is a turn-off to the growing number of students making an effort to go green. About half of consumers say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more concerned about the environment. And since most students are connected to their mobile phone at all times, email is a more convenient and immediate way to connect.
3. Address Students’ Concerns
In these uncertain times, many students are worried about finances, their future career path, and the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Show that your institution is in tune with your student base by addressing these concerns in your marketing strategy. By offering sympathy and solutions to relevant problems, you’ll increase conversions and build trust with your target audience.
4. Be Transparent
Today’s students want more transparency from higher education institutions. In fact, 86% of Americans believe transparency on social media is more important than ever. And if they don’t think an organization is being transparent? They’ll head to a competitor that delivers more of what they’re looking for.
Many students are skeptical of marketing campaigns, and being transparent will help ease their minds and concerns about your institution’s motives and values.
What does transparent marketing look like? Here are a few examples:
- Explain what happens when someone fills out a contact form.
- Answer difficult questions.
- Admit mistakes.
- Give a behind-the-scenes look at the institution.
5. Create Engaging Video Content
From TikTok and Snapchat to a video-focused website, engaging video content should be an important part of your marketing strategy in 2021. Video content consistently boasts higher engagement rates than photo or text content, meaning you’ll get a greater return on investment by producing this type of content for your social media platforms, website, email marketing, and more.
How can you add more video to your marketing strategy? Consider profiling students on your Instagram Stories, giving students a campus tour on your website, or producing daily Q&A videos for TikTok.
6. Embrace Texting (Over Calling)
Students are busier than ever, and many shy away from answering phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize. If you really want to connect and garner a response from prospective students, turn to texting.
SMS is a crucial part of any relevant marketing strategy in 2021. Conversational AI software like Aktify allows you to automate and personalize messages to thousands of prospective students at once. You can streamline your sales approach and boost conversions by harnessing the power of technology.
7. Provide Quick & Easy Answers
Where do prospective students go to get answers to questions about your institution? Do they have to navigate a complicated IVR system or wait days for an email response? If so, it’s time to switch up the way you provide information. In 2021, your institution needs an FAQ page that is robust and intuitive, allowing students to quickly find the answers they seek. Better yet, you can use SMS services to answer common questions via text message.
8. Personalize Content
No two students are exactly alike—meaning your marketing shouldn’t be, either. Higher education institutions are investing in personalized marketing messages that cater to niche audiences. You can jump on the trend by sending out custom messages depending on where a lead is in the sales cycle. Target your emails, recommend services based on browsing history, or market based on location.
This trend offers impressive returns: personalization engines can help boost profits by up to 15%. So if you’re ready to increase engagement, leads, and conversions, start considering personalization as a key part of your marketing approach.
Optimize Your Higher Ed Recruiting Today
Now you know the top higher education marketing trends for 2021. So how will you apply them to your strategy? It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about how to take action, but Aktify can help. Our conversational AI software for higher ed takes the stress out of sales by streamlining your approach, saving you time, and increasing ROI.
Aktify embodies all the latest marketing trends by enabling you to send personalized, automated text conversations to prospective students. We’ll communicate only the most qualified leads, send follow-up texts, and even schedule appointments for you.
Request an Aktify demo to see how our AI-powered virtual sales agent can optimize your higher education recruiting today.