How Integrated Marketing Campaigns Help Higher Education Institutions Tell Their Story

Jun 1, 2022 | Digital, Education

Three marketing strategies your institution needs to implement

An integrated marketing campaign combines all aspects of marketing communications to sell and communicate with targeted audiences through online platforms and advertising mediums – such as email, social media, print media, or paid advertising.

Additionally, an integrated marketing campaign aims to provide consumers with a seamless brand experience and awareness using consistent messaging and brand voice.

Gavin has implemented this strategy within various higher education institutions to help current and prospective students navigate their journey and offer a more comprehensive experience.

Here are three tips our team recommends when creating an integrated education communications and marketing campaign:

1. Leverage social channels

Consumer insight service Experian Simmons says more than 98% of college students use social media. This is their primary channel to connect to the world, so it can be a great tool to engage with current and potential students.

For instance, prospective students may look at your social feeds to see what life at your school is like – the student body, activities, events, campus, classes, buildings, and student life. Showcasing these elements on social media through posts, Instagram reels or Facebook stories can effectively communicate your school’s story.

Students don’t often read emails for news and updates; they go to their social platforms to stay updated with the latest happenings. Use this to your advantage – become a reliable resource on information sharing trends and topics most important to them.

Video is one of the most powerful outreach marketing strategies for students. They are interested in what the school offers and how it can help them reach their goals, so giving them a sneak peek through video is key.

At Gavin, our integrated marketing strategies for colleges, universities and institutes include short-form videos on social platforms like TikTok, Facebook and YouTube to highlight testimonials, tutorials, tips, courses, campus life, and facilities.

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2. Add paid search to the mix

Paid search is a marketing tactic that allows you to target potential and current students with personalized messages increasing their search experiences – meaning more inquiries tied to brand recognition and enrollment.

For instance, we combine consumer behavioral data, demographics and tracking metrics to lay out the following steps.

  • Start by researching application trends, including time, date, and semester deadlines, and in turn, you’ll know when to increase your advertising. Also, emphasize geo-targeting to restrict your campaign’s range to target a geological area.
  • Improve school brand awareness by expanding your reach with re-marketing paid ads. This tactic primarily includes paid ads to target students who already know about your school and have previously visited your website.
  • Ensure your school website or application landing page is mobile and user-friendly since most students use smartphones. A better user experience will improve conversion rate.

So, if your school is trying to increase or boost enrollment, paid search is the way to go.

3. Conduct persona research

Students make decisions based on relatable experiences. To attract prospective students and foster current student relationships, you need to understand who they are and how they interact.

Personas are a fictional representation (think avatars) of your students, such as traditional, non-traditional, transfer, or career students. This is when conducting persona research comes into place. This thorough research allows you to create a content strategy that targets specific student groups.

Some ways in which we create a student persona are through focus groups, targeted emails, surveys, or brainstorming sessions.

The research will result in a persona that often includes:

  • A short biography
  • A name
  • Age and location
  • Goals and challenges
  • Common sources of information

In addition, for an integrated marketing campaign to work successfully, be willing to test and reviewing analytics. For example, we pour over results and metrics regularly to see if they are working and, if they aren’t, we find out why and adjust accordingly.

Digital platforms are ever-changing, so be ready to pivot in real-time. Stay on top of social media platforms and new emerging apps, and review trends quarterly to ensure your message is proactively delivered.

Does your school need help telling its story to students?

If you’re looking to implement an integrated marketing campaign strategy, contact us today to talk to one of Gavin’s education specialists.