Since the birth of the technology age, digital marketing has gone from strength to strength; and has now taken over the marketing and advertising sectors almost completely. Digital marketing has entered and taken over practically every sphere of human life now from birth to death, even entering education. The education sector changes every day, similarly to marketing. As technology has had such a significant impact on so many sectors, it is unsurprising that is has become so crucial to the education sector. The education sector utilises digital marketing to spread information, promote themselves, solve problems, and reach audiences it previously could not. It is great for the sector, as it costs less than traditional marketing. So, let us take a look at the benefits it has brought to the education sector in the past few years.
1: Information Spread
The most obvious upside to the use of digital marketing for schools is just how important the internet has become over the past decade or so. The ability to spread information at lightning speed has skyrocketed, making the spread of information not only astronomically quicker, but cheaper and easier than ever before. Now, rather than looking in the local newspaper or simply going by word of mouth; parents looking for good schooling options for their children will be much more likely to look online.
Even if people are browsing online and do not have the initial intention of looking for schools, effective digital marketing will mean that they have the advertised institution in their minds either for future decisions or conversations. Having effective and ‘top of the search results’ digital marketing is crucial for schools in gaining pupils. Even when advertising for open teaching positions, for example, digital marketing is the best way to attract the best candidates available. Everyone makes decisions informed by the internet these days, even if they do not fully recognise it. The subconscious is consistently affected by what people see online on websites, emails, and social media.
2: Learning & Solving Problems
The internet is full of helpful websites and tools to assist both educators and students with their education. Because of this, the utilisation of digital marketing leads to an uptake in use of the internet in schools. Even though initially, an uptake in internet usage in schools may not seem like an upside; it really is. The internet is a helpful tool that is useful for all types of learning and education purposes. Although it is not often recognised as such. Digital marketing will lead students to discover different online educational tools as they explore.
Even educators will come across helpful teaching materials and methods, and solutions to their day-to-day technology and teaching issues. Technology has become an increasingly important part of education in the 21st-century and incorporating it into different aspects of education is crucial to progression. The use of digital marketing in schools and the education sector as a whole opens up a whole new field of exploration online.
3: Allows Schools to Have a Wider Reach
There are so many different ways to attract both students and parents to educational institutions these days; and the vast majority of these are accessed through the field of digital marketing. Digital marketing can take many forms, and they have differing levels of efficacy in turnover rates. The most popular are ‘pop-up’ advertisements on websites which can attract the attention of the scrolling passer-by. Even if the person looking at the advertisement is not initially interested, they will have come across your ‘brand’ or spread it through word of mouth. Website pop-ups can, however, be some of the most expensive forms of digital marketing. Although not expensive in the long run as they are efficient and effective (and cheaper than traditional marketing); they can tend to be on the more expensive side of digital marketing tactics. And finally, we must consider social media.
Social media is the beast of the modern age. Some love it, some hate it, and some do not even know about it to have an opinion. However, no matter your personal opinion; no one can deny its ridiculously immense power. Some say that it is ludicrous, how much effect and influence a little phone or laptop screen can have, but it works well for the digital marketer and those using it as an advertising strategy.
Social media is now being used by a wider group of people; so it allows access to both students and parents alike. Having an attractive and effective social media page which is promoted and advertised will attract many new families. Proficient social media gives off an air of progressiveness and strangely, wealth. Both students and parents spend hours upon hours on these social media websites; so they are likely to come across digital marketing on this platform over most. It is important to know your target market and understand which social media apps they use the most. For example, if you are a higher education institution looking to target 18–20-year-old students, you will need to focus your efforts on the websites and apps that they use. However, if you are looking to target parents looking for schools for their primary school age children, you will need to advertise on the platforms that they are most present on. If not targeted correctly, digital marketing will have limited efficacy.
4: Cheaper than Traditional Marketing
A not often talked about benefit of digital marketing is simply its cost-effective nature. Promoting your educational institution through a monetary-backed Instagram post has the same (possibly more) positive effect on spreading the word about your school as a massive billboard above the motorway. For a fraction of a fraction of the cost. Smart advertising is often not the most expensive option, and digital marketing has made that very apparent. It is also a lot easier to organise and takes much less manpower.
Traditional marketing was limited in a couple of ways. The ironic part of traditional marketing was that the only companies, businesses, corporations, and people that cold afford to advertise on a large scale and get their ‘message’ out there, were the people who did not need the advertising. Traditional marketing was so ludicrously expensive that smaller companies (the ones who actually needed the exposure and limelight) simply could not afford the advertising that they needed. Now, digital marketing and advertising allows smaller companies with limited capital a ‘foot in the door’ in a sense, due to the better affordability of digital marketing. Traditional marketing was fantastic for those who had the capital, but digital marketing has levelled the playing field somewhat, and really opened up competitive markets in industries which did not used to have them.
5: Promotes your Reputation
Digital marketing through websites, pop-up advertisements, and social media provide educational institutions a fantastic opportunity to promote themselves through testimonials, feedback, and statistics of the school itself. Digital marketing will up your school’s positive impression on the general public and its overall reputation. When it comes to reputation, social media and digital platforms are definitely a two-way street.
Some educational institutions have come to hate social media platforms due to the ability for ‘bad news’ and reputation harming information to be spread on them like wildfire. I would advise not to shy away from this power, but rather harness it and fight fire with fire. Use the incredible power of social media to spread good news, truth, and positive messages and testimonials about your educational institution. Plastering opinions all over your digital marketing may not always be the way to go, but the occasional positive testimonial from a student or parent will give an air of authenticity to your advertising and catch the eye of the interested scroller.
These 5 points are just the start of how helpful and revolutionary digital marketing has become to the education sector over the last couple of years. The vast majority of schools now are almost solely focusing on digital marketing as an advertising strategy. Higher education institutions are using digital marketing almost solely due to the fact that their target market now get most of their news and information from social media and other online platforms. Even lower education institutions such as primary and secondary schools are focusing on digital marketing due to the influence that online forums and platforms now have on the general population. Digital marketing is a great avenue for the education sector that must be harnessed; otherwise certain institutions may get left behind.
About the Author: Regina Wheeler is an online learning consultant at Academic Brits.