4 Education Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2020

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Kristen Baker
Kristen Baker


Marketing trends in the world of education have the power to get prospective students excited about applying, visiting, or accepting their invitation to your school. They're critical to staying top-of-mind among your target audience now and for years to come.

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Similar to other trends under the (large) umbrella of marketing, education marketing trends are critical to stay on top of and deploy regularly if you want to be relevant and sought-after. In this blog post, we'll help you discover how you can achieve just that.

Education Marketing Trends

There are a number of education marketing strategies to experiment with, but here are four recommendations we have for you to help you stay ahead of the curve.

1. (Live) Video

Today, engagement stats for video content only continue to grow. Incorporating video into your marketing strategy is no longer optional. And these days, it's not just about offering any type of video content — it's about tapping into live video content.

When considering how to incorporate live video, tools like Facebook Live are a great place to start.

Fortunately, campuses are natural hives for creating compelling live video. Any school event, in-class experience, or lecture can be live-streamed (as long as your school policies permit this). Other ideas include a quick "student on the street" live interview about a hot topic of the day or a day-in-the-life video for a specific student persona.

Not to mention you can repurpose video that was recorded as part of a live stream into future content like Northeastern University did with their commencement video — once the ceremony was over, they shared the graduation on their YouTube channel for anyone interested to watch.

To piggyback off of our suggestions of using Facebook Live and Youtube, there are a number of other social media sites you can take advantage of when it comes to live and previously-recorded video including Instagram and Snapchat. These channels are highly relevant among millennials and generation Z — who are most likely members of your target audience as an educational institution.

In fact, every day Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18-to-34 year-olds in the U.S. and allows you to get creative with video.

The platform lets you share images and short videos that you can curate them into longer "Stories". For example, you could make an experience out of a campus tour or as a channel for student ambassadors and faculty to share personal perspectives on campus life. Like Instagram and Twitter, Snapchat works with hashtags — so, research your student personas to find the hashtags that will ensure your Snapchat content is found by them.

2. Memorable Experiences

Nothing reaches audience members like sharing real experiences. People want experiences that make them feel something — when this happens, they'll be more likely to make a purchase, invest in, or strive to have that experience as well.

For example, a video about move-in day on campus should make prospective students feel excited, welcome, and motivated about the opportunity to be a part of that experience. Meanwhile, the same video should make current and past students feel proud and fortunate to be a part of the community.

Experiential marketing and content resonate with people and make them want to have the same experience and/ or invest in whatever the experience is. It also makes them want to share the content among their personal networks via social media, word of mouth, and more.

Experiential marketing strategies allow you to offer a look into your school that people who know nothing about it or have never visited want and need to make a decision about whether they want to apply, visit, attend, donate, and more.

3. Personalized Content

For years, e-commerce and social media sites have been customizing web experiences. But today, we expect all of our digital engagements to provide that sort of personalization. Think about it — with all of the schools out there today, there is so much content floating around among prospective, current, and past students. Personalization is how you make it relevant and tailored in a way that the content stands out and becomes something worth consuming and sharing.

But this personalization requires more than simply inserting a prospect's name into an email. Effective personalization is providing the most relevant content to a specific member of your target audience that meets their needs.

To do this, you'll need to learn about the online behavior, challenges, interests, and routines of your target audience members This includes understanding the type and format of content they prefer to consume. An effective way to do this is by creating personas for different students or conducting surveys.

To personalize, think big and go beyond email. For example, you can tailor headlines that visitors see when they visit your site or offer the most relevant blogs for their desired education path and interests. And remember, the more data you collect, the more precise your personalization can become.

4. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) but with an added bonus for your efforts. WOMM is so effective because it's a third-party opinion that prospects feel they can relate to and trust — because, let's face it, prospects know that even when you're providing valuable and relevant content, you're still biased as the promoter.

The process of influencer marketing is about identifying an individual who fits your persona, is well-known among members of your target audience, has an impressive following, and exerts a powerful influence on your shared target audience. You can use influencers to share your content or they can create content relevant to your school.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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