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When you think about it, Hollywood depictions of school are pretty weird.
If it’s a high school setting, the students seem to have an hour to hang out at their lockers in between every class period, and there’s a good chance they’ll break out into song and dance at any moment. If it’s a college setting, the campus is practically a beach and everyone looks like they’re no younger than 38 years old.
Nobody wants this to be the reality more than education marketers. If high school and college were truly that glamorous, not much advertising would be necessary. That’s not to say that these places aren’t actually good times—in fact, they’re arguably too fun.
Nonetheless, education is a heavy investment, and marketers in the industry have their hands full. Let’s go over some tactics you can use to better advertise your school.
We recommend that every pay-per-click (PPC) advertiser uses remarketing, and few advertisers need to take advantage of it more than education advertisers do. Here’s how it works. A prospect clicks on your ad and visits your website. She hangs out for a while, but doesn’t end up taking a first action—signing up for an information session, starting an application, and so on. Later that day, when the prospect is reading an article about the Celtics’ chances to win an NBA championship, she sees an advertisement for your undergraduate degree programs in the sidebar.
That happens a few more times, and it works. She eventually enrolls at your school, graduates in three years, single-handedly reverses climate change, and brings honor to the university. That’s the magic of remarketing.
Next: give each discipline (or major, or degree program) its own campaign in your PPC account. Ads for different fields yield widely different costs per click (CPC), and lumping everything together will make it extremely difficult to determine how well each unique discipline is performing.
By the same logic, spread your keywords across different ad groups within each campaign. This is because different keywords reflect different levels of intent. For example, a search query like “what jobs can an economics degree get you?” is informational in nature, making the searcher unlikely to click on your ad. You want to keep your click-through rate (CTR) as high as possible for the sake of your Quality Score and position in the ad rankings. By contrast, “UMass Amherst economics degree” is a branded keyword and it reflects high commercial intent, meaning the prospect is likely to click.
When building out your social media accounts, remember that high school students don’t pick a college based purely on the degree programs and the quality of the education—they’re looking to have fun, too. Use Instagram and Snapchat to share photos from all the awesome events you have going on around campus. Facebook is a great platform for quick informational videos and virtual tours. Finally, flex your sense of humor on Twitter. 17- and 18-years olds want to relate to the colleges they consider. If you can successfully tap into what makes your prospects laugh and share content with their friends, your brand becomes that much more attractive.
Speaking of branding—create an ambassador program to enable your students and alumni to represent the university. As evidenced by apparel, rearview window stickers, and LinkedIn profiles, people are immensely proud of their schools. An ambassador program allows you to channel this enthusiasm and use it to attract prospective students. Your ambassadors can take a variety of approaches: create social media communities via hashtags, give talks to the upperclassmen at nearby high schools, and meet with applicants either one-on-one or in small groups to provide that final push. The excitement about your school is there—use it to your advantage.
For more education marketing tips and tricks, head over to the WordStream blog.