Some university programs and classes pretty much sell themselves. Others can require a bit more effort to fill, whether due to high competition with other universities, filling a more specialized need, or simply being a bit less glamorous than other programs and courses.
Keeping classes as full as possible is important for any university. Marketing can make a huge difference in increasing interest in less-popular programs and classes, allowing universities to continue offering important courses without losing money. Here are some tips for marketing these individual programs.
Understand the Target Audience
In marketing, one of the most important tenets is to know your audience. If you are trying to get more students enrolled in specific programs and classes, it’s critical to know what kinds of students are interested in those classes so you can speak to them directly.
One way to get started is to analyze the needs and preferences of actual students who are (or were) enrolled in the courses you want to boost. What made them choose these programs? What are their demographics? What do they hope to get out of the experience?
Surveys can help you learn more about your target audience. From there, you can build out a “buyer persona,” which is a common tool in marketing that will help you create your marketing materials. Essentially, it’s a fictional student who represents your ideal audience for the program or course that you can reference as you build your marketing strategy.
Don’t Assume Knowledge
It’s easy to assume that anyone who might be interested in the programs you want to promote would understand all of the terms and concepts you’ll be using in your marketing materials. However, that’s simply not the case. Assuming knowledge and using jargon without explanation will alienate some students who might need additional explanation.
A good example of this would be a student who wants to get into education administration or policy. However, this student might not fully understand the difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D., for example. Getting a bit more explanation through marketing content can help guide them to the program that’s right for them.
Create Compelling Content and Program Descriptions
If you want to bring more attention to specific programs and courses, then you need to make sure that you’re highlighting the unique selling points of these offerings. Make content interesting! Use persuasive language, storytelling, statistics, and visuals.
Your program descriptions offer an opportunity to pique the interest of students and persuade them to take the next step. You can also create educational content related to the programs and courses, like infographics, videos, and articles that will get students thinking about enrolling.
Break Down Barriers to Action
Getting and maintaining students’ interest in your programs and courses is the first step, but the process doesn’t stop there. You also need to make it as easy as possible for students to learn more, apply for the program, and get answers to their questions.
Having a responsive and intuitive website is important, as it will help to guide students in the right direction and discourage them from leaving before they take the next step in the enrollment process. Making the website easy to navigate, simple, and clear, is critical. The website should also be mobile-friendly, as many people do the majority of their browsing on their mobile devices.
Leverage SEO Strategies for Academic Programs
Organic search is a great way for universities to promote specific academic programs. Using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies like high-quality content creation, on-page SEO, keyword research, and link-building can all help drive prospective students to your programs over your competitors. It’s worth noting, however, that this is a long-term strategy—results from SEO initiatives take time.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Universities can market specific classes and programs by having an active and engaging social media presence. Visual content, engagement posts, and other types of promotion are a great way to attract college-age students who might be thinking about what they want from their careers.
Engaging with the online community through social media channels can leave a lasting positive impression and bump up interest in specific classes and programs if they’re promoted. This is a great way to build enthusiasm for new and little-known programs, such as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Universities can also use social media advertising to bring in more potential students who might fit the target audience.
Engage Alumni and Community Networks
Networking is an effective technique that marketers can use to promote programs and classes. Alumni networks are usually more than willing to help current and future students, promote the school, and to share success stories and testimonials. Universities can also partner with organizations in the community to offer internships, scholarships, and other perks for students who enroll in specific programs and classes.
Dedicated, Consistent Action Yields Results
There are lots of effective ways to promote individual classes and programs, even beyond what is outlined above. The most important thing to remember, however, is that consistent action is what provides the best results.
Your marketing team will have to dedicate time and resources if you want to see enrollment go up for certain courses. Using these tips consistently will, over time, help you build up your courses of focus and provide even more great results that you can use to boost your programs’ credibility.