Without a doubt, the world is facing a trying period right now. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are staying home; workers are being encouraged to work home if they can. Grocery stores are doing what they can to make sure that they are stocked and have what people need during this period. On top of all this, schools are trying to figure out how to increase their enrollment rates during this trying time. This is where your online programs and marketing them comes into play.
Education institutions, whether they are universities, trade schools, etc. have moved most of their classes to exclusively online lectures, practices, and more. It is a position most schools probably did not think they would even have to be in. Now during this time, you may think that, as an education institute that cutting down on your advertising is the best thing to do right now. However, it is when times are slow that you want to take advantage and let people know you are still here and that we are all in this together.
Furthermore, it is now, more than ever, that you want to push your online courses. Education is always needed and prospective students need to know that they can still go to you in order to start their education. With all of this in mind, we are here to let you know about the importance of online education marketing and what your institute could be doing during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
Let Students Know You’re Still Here
The importance of online communication and outside the box thinking is critical to gain new admissions for your school. One of the most basic, yet vital actions you can take right now is keeping up a consistent social media presence. You want your current and prospective students to know that you are still around and that you are taking precautions and adapting during this time. Let them know via your social media channels what measures you have taken to make sure that current students’ programs have not been disrupted. Additionally, you will want to let prospective students what programs are available to them and what online support tools are available to them to ensure communication and an easy enrollment process for these online programs.
Furthermore, it is a time to be sensitive with the content you post and try not to be too forward or pushy. Remember, there is an end to all of this, and you want your school to be ready to get back to normal when it is.
Phones Are Still Important
Due to the sudden and rapid onset of the coronavirus, many prospective students were forced to either rethink or delay their education plans. Many of them are stuck at home right now either due to government mandates or voluntary isolation. Now that they are home, they are on their phones-A lot.
Recent reports have said that prospective students are now more willing than usual to respond to calls from educational institutes regarding their continuing education. Now is the time to capitalize on this before your other educational competitors do. Have your admissions department, recruiters, etc. pick up the phones and encourage these prospective students to submit applications and take whatever steps they need to start the admissions process.
Email Marketing is Vital
Email marketing has always been a strong recruitment tool for schools. It is just that now, it is more important than ever before. Studies across various marketing firms confirm that email open rights are at an all-time high now. Furthermore, bounce and unsubscribe rates are at a low percentage rate as well. In order to take advantage of this and reach your prospective students, make sure that your email campaigns are creating content they respond to.
One of subjects that prospective students seem to be responding to the most right now is news about industries that are thriving right now. Who can blame them? They want to know which industries still have people going to work. Many of these prospective students may even consider changing their career plans to study in these industries. Creating email content with information about these thriving industries that are related to the online programs you offer is going to be vital moving forward.
The lack of control people have during this crisis is a sour point to be sure. Students are especially feeling like they are no longer in control of their lives. However, this is where your email marketing comes into play. Creating content that makes them in control, even if it is the little things will go a long way. Create short, but direct messages encouraging current and prospective students to fill out surveys, register for classes, etc. to remind them that they have agency in their education. Offering the opportunity to make a decision or complete a task helps students feel like they are back in the driver’s seat again.
Personalization was always important in email marketing campaigns. Now that more and more students are staying home, personalization and audience segmentation are going to be important. You will want to send messages that are specific to each type of student (adult, traditional, transfer, online, etc.). Furthermore, you will want to send messages specific to prospective students' interests, life preferences, program interests, clubs and more. With these relevant and personal subjects, you are sure to see your open and click rates go up.
Keep Up Your PPC
With more students at home now, PPC marketing is going to be more essential now than it ever has been before. Refining and honing in on your PPC marketing will give you more connections to the students you are trying to enroll and give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. You will also save money on your marketing budget due to the customizable nature of ppc and the ability to set your budget however you see fit to. The cost-per-clicks are steadily decreasing across all verticals. This is likely to continue in the coming weeks. This gives your school another incentive to keep advertising. Now in order to take advantage of all of this, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Delete Underperforming Keywords
Ads can be a beast to manage, so it is understandable that managing all of the keywords in your campaigns can get a little difficult to keep track of. By removing underperforming keywords, your overall daily budget will not change but your top keywords would get a larger share of your daily budget. This way, the underperforming words will not eat through your budget and leave you hanging.
2. Remove Broad Match Keywords
This goes in tandem with the first point. You should be using exact match keywords, some phrase match keywords and at worst, modified broad match keywords to tighten up the queries matching your keywords. The goal here is to get rid of as many irrelevant terms as possible so that you end up paying less.
3. Smart Bid Management
In Google Ads, another key component is keeping track of how much you are bidding for your keywords. One of the default settings for Ads’ automated bid feature. Our recommendation is to turn the setting off. Most likely, the automated bids will not make optimal use of your ad spend. Furthermore, look for terms that get lots of clicks but not many conversions. These low-converting keywords are a big source of wasted spend.
4. Review Your Search Terms Report
Knowing what’s working and what isn’t will save you a lot of headaches when it comes to saving money on your Ads campaigns. Fortunately, AdWords provides you with an analysis of the terms that your ads are showing up for in Google. Therefore, if there are any irrelevant terms that you are showing for you can simply add them to your negative keywords list and make your accounts as precise as needed. It is a good idea to always check this analysis report each week so you can stay on track of the constantly changing nature of Ads keywords.
5. Mobile Optimization
We cannot stress enough how important it is for your digital marketing efforts to be optimized for mobile devices. The world is moving closer and closer to a mobile age and Ads is no different. Make sure that if you’re bidding on mobile search terms, that your ads are mobile optimized as well. This is vital because mobile users behave differently from non-mobile users. For example, they are more likely to place a phone call than fill out a form. Using mobile ad extensions tend to increase your CTR, and your quality score, which makes bids cheaper.
Google Ads can be a hassle to manage. It takes constant devotion to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. However, with these tips and a little know-how, you should be on track to utilize a Google Ads campaign that is both cost-effective and brings in leads for your business.
COVID-19 has changed the way many schools conduct their operations. We are most likely to see more changes in the coming weeks. However, by continuing your marketing efforts and reminding students that your online presence is important, your school will be able to gain new students. Therefore helping your school to grow and give students the tools to continue their education. However, try not to fall in the panic that is sweeping the nation. Try to keep a clear head and remember that there is going to be an after this.
Things usually get worse before they get better. Nevertheless, remember the last part of that saying. It is going to get better and when it does; your school needs to be ready for what comes next. Finally, I want to reiterate that no one is alone in all of this. We are all in this fight together.