Arpit is a Digital Media Director at Vovia. When he isn't helping manage the Vovia India Team, you will find him in the mountains, dancing and watching cricket...not necessarily at the same time.

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Digital Marketing & the Post-Secondary Education Sector: Key Trends To Take Notes On

Over the past few years, digital marketing has ruled almost all sectors. Brands and businesses have been employing innovative and strategic digital marketing tactics to reach out to their potential customers. The Ed-Tech world and education industry are no exception to this trend. In this sector digital marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential customers and create brand awareness.

There has been considerable change in the way digital marketing has been perceived by the corporate giants as well as the budding education sector. Digital marketing has truly revolutionized the way education is marketed and consumed by audiences. With the rise of technology, digital marketing has become an indispensable tool for educational institutions to reach out to their target audience, create brand awareness, and promote their programs.

The Importance of Digital Marketing in the Education Sector

Before we dive into the top trends in digital marketing and their impact on the education sector, it is important to understand the importance of digital marketing in this space. Firstly, the education sector is highly competitive, witnessing intense competition across the globe.

As per research done in 2019 in Canada, online learning has been growing steadily over the past decade, with more and more students choosing to pursue their education online. According to a report by the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association, the number of students taking online courses in Canada grew by 168% between 2009 and 2018 (Source: Source: Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (2019). Digital Learning Annual Report)

  • The online pool of students: The power of the virtual world is known to all, and young people are mostly available online. Given this, it makes sense for education institutes to adopt digital marketing strategies to connect with and interact with students.
  • Leveraging the digital spectrum: The right blend of expertise and digital marketing strategies can enable educational institutes to engage with students and instigate the desired call to action.
  • Higher conversion rates: The conversion ratio using digital marketing strategies is high when compared to traditional forms of advertising and marketing. The use of interactive media, personalized approaches, SMS, and email marketing are working exceptionally well in favour of educational institutes.
  • Boost your brand awareness: Digital marketing strategies are being effectively used by educational institutes to increase brand awareness. Moreover, the planned activities and interactions in the form of polls, contests, quizzes, and campaigns allow these institutes to cater to a wide network with minimal effort.
  • The cost advantage: the traditional, on-ground and offline activities can be time-consuming, and the spillover ratio can often be high. However, with digital marketing strategies, educational institutes are optimally using the power of data as well as insights to target their potential customers. Digital marketing is definitely more cost-effective than traditional methods of marketing in these scenarios.

The Latest Trends in Digital Marketing for the Education Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital marketing in the education sector in Canada. With the shift to online learning, educational institutions have had to invest more in digital marketing to attract and engage potential students.

Here are some of the current trends:

Social media marketing – Social media marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. Educational institutes are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote their courses and increase awareness. The right mix of paid advertising and an organic social media strategy enables the education institute to optimally reach their target audience. Apart from promotions and awareness, these platforms are also used to share informational content like blogs, articles, and videos to help students make informed decisions.

Content marketing – The right content, with a mix of data and informed strategy, has the potential to attract the audience and drive action. Content marketing helps educational institutes strengthen their positioning and establish themselves as thought leaders. Educational institutes are increasingly using various forms of content marketing, such as blogs, articles, whitepapers, infographics, and videos to engage with potential students.

Paid Search (PPC) Advertising – Interestingly, according to a report by SEMrush, education is the fourth largest industry in terms of PPC spending in Canada, accounting for 8.5% of all PPC ad spend (Source: SEMrush 2021; Industry PPC Benchmarks in Canada).

PPC advertising is highly preferred by education institutes. It can be personalized to target a specific audience, taking into consideration various factors like geographic location, age, interests, and search history. Thus, there is a high probability that the ads will reach out to potential students who are most likely to be interested in the programs. The chances of conversion in PPC advertising increase considerably.

Moreover, the real-time data obtained with the help of PPC advertising campaigns, such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per click, allows educational institutes to optimize their campaigns and improve their return on investment.

Email marketing – Educational institutions are widely using email marketing to reach out to potential students and keep them informed about their programs. Email marketing helps educational institutions create a personalized experience for potential students and build relationships with them. Educational institutions are using email marketing as a powerful tool to send newsletters, updates, and promotional emails to potential students.

Search engine optimization – Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an essential digital marketing strategy for the education sector. SEO helps educational institutions improve their website’s ranking on search engines such as Google and Bing. Educational institutions are employing various SEO tactics to optimize their website’s content, improve their website’s user experience, and increase their website’s visibility. The objective here is to drive traffic to the website and improve the conversion rate.

Video marketing – Video marketing has become a popular digital marketing strategy for the education sector. Educational institutions are using video marketing to create engaging and informative videos that can attract potential students to their websites. Video marketing helps these institutions showcase their programs, facilities, and campus life. They are making vigorous efforts to come up with innovative video marketing techniques such as explainer videos, campus tour videos, and student testimonial videos to generate the interest of their target audience.

The Key Takeaway

The trends in the digital world keep changing, and the exposure and avenues for marketing here are limitless. The education industry is constantly evolving and trying to keep pace with changing trends. The right blend of technology and a planned digital marketing effort is helping educational institutes unleash the potential of digital marketing to the fullest and increase their brand awareness. The timely adoption of digital marketing strategies is enabling education institutes to attract more students and improve their reputation in the industry.