Be an early mover into Admission Campaign and sustain it
Are you retooling for the digital headwinds, consistently? Are you positioning yourself early in the academic year? In times, when institutes are aggressively maintaining their position on the top of the Google ranking on most competitive keywords throughout the year, you simply can’t upstage them organically by a late entry. Google crawling of your website pages is a process that takes time and sustained engine crawling to get you moving at the top of SERPs. Digital marketing is now, an around the year commitment.
On the Social Media, it is imperative to continue building ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ throughout the year, engaging current and prospective students’ participation. The prospective students should find a vibrant students’ community in the campus, full of life, fun, joy and academic engagement.
What to go for, and what not?
Digital Marketing is not quite simple as peeling of an orange. Your institute may have an expert on this, but ultimately, you shall have to engage a digital marketing agency that holds experience in handling digital marketing of eminent education institutes, and that enjoys a good credibility in the market. The Head of the institute must fully involve himself/herself in formulating the right strategy and allocate budget appropriately. Here is a brief run-down on how to strategize digital outreach:
1. Social Media is the Oxygen-the best strategic option.
An ordinary digital agency may suggest you all the Social Media platforms and its tools. Simply put, it is futile to spend on a cow that doesn’t give milk, simple as that. You must know what works best with the new breed of prospective students. You should go full steam for Facebook, the most popular platform of current times, where over 90% of students are present. The next most popular platform engaging students, is the YouTube followed by Google plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, in that order. Formulate your budget accordingly.
2. Social Media Paid Campaign-a strong emerging option for lead generation
Social Media paid campaign emerged as a top option in the admissions for the Academic year 2016-17. It relegated Google AdWords to a second position in the number of leads, it generated though Google Pay per Click (PPC-Advertising) with the given budget, though in terms of quality of leads the PPC had a decidedly a cut over the rest. A suitably planned and directed social media optimized campaign can be hugely rewarding.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO); an old horse and ultimate game-changer
93% of online experiences begin through internet search. SEO is a comforting cheap option and continues to be the most rewarding one. Your agency is required to pick up a good mix of high, medium and low competitive keywords, use attractive meta-tags and superior content to drive the SEO to your advantage. The most critical aspect delivering optimum outcomes, is to build quality back-links to your superior content which only a good digital marketing company can do the best. You must demand from the digital agency to show you the quality and relevance of links created on various authority websites on every fortnightly review. A good agency will continue to review your SEO campaign quite frequently to ensure that the feedback on campaign result as captured through the analytics is fully utilized to re-align the campaign for superior results.
4. G-mail Marketing
A fairly new tool which has emerged quite strong in the recent time. The high-impact g-mail marketing comprises of a ‘teaser’ and ‘expendable advertisements’. Using both options on the ‘promotions’ tab of g-mail a good agency can make a prospective student to land on the website/landing page thus generating a lead for you. Further, by using powerful content on html designed mail with relevant and attractive info-graphics, your agency can enable you to reach out to a very large number of targeted prospects.
5. AdWords or Pay Per Click
It is undoubtedly one of the most effective tools in digital marketing to get you highly reliable leads. This however, costs heavy to the institutes. Often, most digital market agencies do not have Google qualified AdWords resource to run the campaign effectively, since requires a niche expertise. It needs real-time management, monitoring and re-alignment and cannot be left to an auto mode for optimum results. A good digital agency can make a solid difference to your admissions leveraging PPC.
6. Reputation Management
Briefly, it saves you from the ‘pull-down’ effect of a sudden sullen reputation caused by a review posted by a person on your wall. Often, this can be a very serious affair for an institute. All reputation built over the years may get watered-down by just one review. Negative reviews are often hard to be taken off and require a specialized drive to degrade the same to lower visibility on pages, besides various other counter-actions practiced by some of the most reputed digital media company such as City Innovates and others in that league. It is a must do for you.
Concluding above, it is utmost important that institutes must engage a Company, having Google qualified and well-experienced team with substantial experience in the digital marketing of education institutes of eminence. The Agency so engaged must remain in constant touch with you and be alive to deliver on the stated ROI. The work of the agency must be monitored on daily basis by a competent and dedicated person in the institute to ensure that it performs at the top. Institutes must set-up an in-house support content cell to feed the agency regularly.
JR Sharma is the Director of City Innovates Pvt. Lt,. a leading IT and Digital Marketing Company and also heads its Education, Accreditation and Digital enterprise.