Powerful Digital Marketing Strategies for Schools & Institutes in 2024

To keep up with the requirements of the digitalized world and reach their target audience effectively, all kinds of educational institutions need to leverage the power of online platforms.

Digital marketing has become an essential tool for schools and educational institutes to attract prospective students, engage with parents, and promote their brands. On average, a higher education institution spends at least $429 per student.

But which strategies will you focus on when promoting an educational institution for maximum benefit?

Each type of educational institution requires well-tailored strategies and ideas to stand out among its competitors in the industry. Taking one digital marketing strategy and implementing it in both schools and institutions would be a waste of time and money. That’s why we have taken a segmented approach, specifically targeting higher education institutions, schools, and educational organizations separately.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Schools

When promoting a school through digital marketing, the first thing to keep in mind is that your target audience is not only focused on academic success. They are equally interested in the school’s facilities, services, and educational philosophy. Understanding these aspects will help them make informed decisions regarding their children’s future education.

Content Marketing

Content marketing for schools should revolve around showcasing a happy and nurturing learning environment, highlighting strong teacher-student relationships, and sharing special day celebrations and events. 

By featuring heartwarming stories of teachers going the extra mile to support students and incorporating testimonials from students and parents, schools can emphasize their commitment to personalized attention and care. 

To exemplify how a testimonial web page can be used, let’s look at Mount Carmel Kindergarten’s dedicated page:

Sharing memorable moments is another important part of content marketing for schools.  If you are working for a school’s digital marketing, you can convey a sense of community and inclusivity, and attract potential students and their families by making events and activities more apparent on the website:

For example, The Bronx Charter School for Children has prepared a webpage to showcase the events and activities, you can make a similar one with numerous photos from the events:

Social Media Engagement

Social media platforms are powerful tools for schools to interact with their audience and strengthen their online presence. So, consistently sharing engaging content, including event updates, field trips, and student achievements will be useful.

Let’s look at how Dalton Schools in New York leverages one of its annual events:

And here’s another post from Dalton Schools demonstrating a field trip and detailing the purpose and outcomes of it in the caption part:

Major Tom’s campaign for Seneca College skillfully combined strategic digital marketing techniques to boost enrollment. Major Tom launched a multi-faceted approach with paid search and social campaigns, focusing on tactical geo-targeting and direct-response strategies. Their efforts led to significant improvements in lead volume, conversion rates, and cost-per-lead efficiency. This success story underlines Major Tom’s expertise in leveraging digital channels to meet educational institutions’ unique needs, making them a top choice for schools aiming to enhance their digital presence.

Integrated Brand Campaigns

Creating integrated brand campaigns for schools or institutions involves harmonizing various marketing elements to tell a cohesive story across multiple channels. By aligning messaging, design, and strategic goals, schools can effectively reach and engage prospective students, parents, and the community.

Crowd’s campaign for NYU Abu Dhabi targeted young Emiratis with the theme “Global Success Starts Here,” highlighting the university’s international offerings and liberal arts degrees. Through creative strategies and a mix of online and offline media, including impactful visuals and digital ads, Crowd aimed to raise awareness and drive student enrollments. Their approach, blending audience insights with a tailored media plan, led to significant engagement and application conversions, showcasing Crowd’s expertise in digital marketing for educational institutions.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Educational Institutes

Let’s start by thinking of a question: Who is the target audience of an educational institute? 

Although it depends on the courses provided, every person in this audience is solely interested in what they will learn and how they will benefit from it. Unlike school promotion, the focus for this audience should shift towards emphasizing the quality of lectures and instructors, in addition to highlighting the advantages offered, such as the flexibility of learning at their own pace and the value of earning certificates that unlock career opportunities.

Create an Entertaining and Educational Website

While providing educational information on the website, you can create a dedicated section for interactive content. For example, you can include puzzles, quizzes, and educational games that align with your courses and target audience, just like the British Council does on its LearnEnglish Kids website:

Or, you can make a teen- or adult-targeting version of such a website. Here’s the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens version of entertaining and educational content:

This approach not only attracts potential students but also encourages existing students to stay engaged with the school’s digital platform outside of school hours.

Emphasize Online Education

Online education has gained immense popularity due to its flexibility and accessibility. By putting a strong emphasis on online opportunities, your institute can tap into a broader audience of potential students who prefer the convenience of learning from the comfort of their homes. 

For example, Cambly, which is a fully online English learning platform, promotes its easy accessibility as an essential part of its marketing strategy. The brand always highlights its importance in its blog posts, ads, website content, and influencer marketing campaigns.

Similarly, you can showcase the advantages of online courses, such as self-paced learning, access to a wide range of subjects, and the ability to balance studies with other commitments. Besides, you can highlight the success stories of students who have excelled through online learning, underscoring the institute’s commitment to delivering high-quality education through digital platforms.

Be Mobile-Friendly

With the majority of internet users accessing content through their mobile devices, it is crucial to ensure that your institute’s website and online courses are fully optimized for mobile use. 

A mobile-friendly platform enhances the user experience, making it easier for students to navigate the website, access course materials, and engage with interactive elements seamlessly on their smartphones and tablets. By prioritizing mobile-friendliness, your institute can cater to the needs of a mobile-savvy generation, increasing student satisfaction and overall engagement just like online education platforms like Udemy does:

Emphasize the Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

For educational institutes, showcasing their unique selling points is vital to stand out in a competitive market. Whether it’s offering specialized courses, state-of-the-art facilities, or renowned faculty, highlighting what sets the institute apart can attract potential students seeking a distinct learning experience.

Highlight the Benefits of Certificates

Promoting the value of certificates earned through online courses as a recognition of skill and competence can be a logical step to take. As shown in the image below, Coursera thoroughly explains the different types of certificates it offers so that potential students are aware of every little detail.

Also, highlighting the career advancement opportunities that come with acquiring specialized knowledge and skills through the institute’s online programs can be beneficial. 

You can share testimonials from your former students who are currently employed and benefiting from the education and certifications you’ve provided to show that what you offer is valuable. Here’s an example of providing testimonials and success stories from former students on edX’s website:

Start a Blog

Creating insightful and valuable blog posts can serve as an effective way to provide free information to the audience, besides paid courses. By sharing valuable educational content and tips to study wiser and better, your institute can showcase its commitment to enhancing the learning experience of students.

For example, Cambly uses blog posts to promote its courses, increase brand awareness, and establish itself as an authority in its niche. The brand creates a number of websites in various languages and regularly shares blog posts about English grammar, learning tips, studying skills like time management, and so on.

To make itself more apparent on Google, Cambly cares about developing a solid SEO strategy and benefits from keyword research. Similarly, you can boost your visibility and reach by incorporating SEO strategies for the education sector into your blog. 

Digital Marketing Strategies for Higher Education Institutions

Marketing a higher education institution is similar to solving a puzzle, as your audience is wide and their common features are less compared to other entities in the education industry. While some students are more interested in academic success, others focus on extracurricular activities, and for some, the location of the campus or the option to go fully remote can be a reason to choose your institution. At this point, you should decide which aspects you want to be related to and which of them you want to promote.

Alumni Engagement

Encouraging alumni to stay connected with the institute can lead to various benefits, including word-of-mouth referrals and increased credibility. You can use social media and email marketing to keep alumni informed about institutional developments, upcoming events, and opportunities to get involved.

In addition, you can arrange events where alumni and current students meet. Therefore, you can help your future alumni make a network and find better jobs in an easier way, and promote these events on various platforms to attract new students. You can also create a website to announce alumni events and stories, as Yale does:

Besides, you can share editorial content created by your alumni. To see a good example, you can check Yale’s reading list created by its alumni.

Online Course and Degree Offerings

In response to the surging demand for online education, higher education institutions should proactively embrace the digital realm by expanding their e-learning course offerings. 

By curating a diverse array of online degree programs, institutes can cater to a global audience of learners seeking flexible and accessible educational opportunities. 

These virtual learning initiatives not only facilitate knowledge dissemination beyond geographical boundaries but also allow institutes to tap into new markets and demographics. And promoting online offerings through targeted digital marketing campaigns can significantly boost the institute’s brand visibility and attract more students.

In the post-pandemic world, not only are online courses provided by universities, but also degrees are attainable online.

Webinars and Virtual Events

Hosting webinars and virtual events can help educational institutes connect with a broader audience beyond their physical location. These online events offer a platform to discuss trending topics in education, showcase academic programs, and engage directly with potential applicants from around the world. Here’s an example from Nottingham University:

Wrapping Up

Whether your goal is to enhance the digital presence of a higher education institution, a school, or an educational institute, implementing the above-mentioned tips can lead to remarkable results. From crafting SEO-friendly blog posts and developing engaging alumni websites to leveraging social media for showcasing annual events and hosting webinars, there are numerous ways to establish a robust digital marketing strategy in the education industry.

By wholeheartedly embracing these strategies, you will undoubtedly pave the path to success in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of education. However, seeking professional assistance from marketing agencies in the education sector can expedite the process and further amplify your institute’s growth and impact.