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Most people aren’t simply born to be managers. Sure, some of the most iconic leaders of all time—Cleopatra, George Washington, Chad Kroeger—were probably born with greatness in their blood. For the most part, however, the ordinary men and women responsible for galvanizing workplaces and the teams within them likely had some form of management education.
It’s a popular path to take. In fact, along with marketing, finance, and operations, business management and administration is one of the core tracks offered in business schools. While prospective students may feel overwhelmed by the range of options, what’s more stressful is on the other side of the equation—marketing the degree programs.
That’s why we’ve compiled our best online advertising tips for higher education marketers responsible for promoting their management degree programs.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for higher education is expensive. Basic degree-related keywords can easily run over $40 per click, and WordStream research found that MBA keywords are among the 10 most expensive on the Bing Ads platform. In order to get your costs per click (CPCs) as low as possible, you need to focus on Quality Score—Google’s metric for measuring the relevance of your advertisement. Quality Score principally depends on two factors: your click-through rates (CTRs) and the quality of your landing pages.
Management degree program marketers can drive higher CTRs by using ad extensions to boast all the perks that come with attending their university: small class sizes, professors with field experience, alumni networking events, and the like. As far as landing pages go, it’s always a good idea to customize according to keyword. The advertisement you show for the keyword “affordable mba” should direct prospects to one landing page, and the ad for “public university mba” should direct them to another. Making sure your landing pages are as relevant as possible is a surefire way to boost Quality Score and cut down those massive CPCs.
Higher education PPC is unique in ways other than high costs. Namely, it’s a bad idea to bid on the name of your university. Why? Because your students and faculty will often search the school name in order to find the main website. If you run ads for these searches, the people already on campus will click on them, thus costing you money without offering any additional business. In order to save ad spend, management degree marketers should stay away from the branded keyword.
Although prospective students are searching for the perfect degree program all year round, the higher education industry certainly has its peak periods—namely July, August, and January. During these three months, management degree marketers need to dig a little deeper into their pockets and increases their keyword bids. When search volume is at its highest, attaining the top ad spot is more important than ever. Don’t miss your opportunity to drive applications when your prospects are at their most eager and motivated.
When it comes to picking a school, people typically use search engines at the beginning of the process, eventually navigating directly to university websites when they’ve narrowed down their options. This means that your search marketing tactics should be tailored towards prospects at the top of the marketing funnel. At this early point in the process, a prospective student isn’t ready to apply, so it makes no sense to ask them to do so. In fact, taking this urgent approach is sure to drive down your CTR and making your already high costs even higher.
Instead, employ one of the strongest top-of-funnel tactics out there: content marketing. Publishing accessible, informational blog posts is a terrific way to drive casual prospects to your degree program site and get them to interact with your brand. There’s a ton you can write about, too: the benefits of a management degree, the management profession, higher education more broadly, and so on. Making a good impression on a prospect when she’s beginning her search for a degree is an effective way to make her pay your site another visit later on.
For more online advertising tips and tricks, read the WordStream blog.