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Education Marketing: Top Tips and Strategies

Explore the education marketing strategies, tools, and trends that schools, institutions of higher learning, and e‑learning platforms are using to reach their audiences.

In recent years, education has experienced profound changes. The global pandemic forced students and educators to rethink what school looks like and revise long-held standards and practices regarding how and where education is delivered. Meanwhile, technology has transformed what’s possible in and out of the classroom.

The impacts of this evolution have driven changes in thinking, preferences, and capabilities, significantly influencing education as we know it and driving many to seek help from an education marketing agency. Whether it’s a move toward distance learning or the integration of new educational marketing tools and apps, we’re seeing a sea change in how the world teaches and learns.

Educational marketing helps showcase these dramatic developments, especially as they relate to new and emerging education technologies. The practice is focused on introducing the industry to new means and methods and helping connect schools and other education brands with those who will be employing and benefiting from them.  

In this article, we will explore what education marketing is, why it matters, and some useful tools and strategies to consider as you address how to make the discipline work for you.

What is education marketing?

Education marketing comes in a few different flavors. For some, it refers to the creation and promotion of educational marketing content to teachers and educational institutions. The aim here is to help educators understand what new teaching and learning resources are available and how those aids can support the school’s goals.

For others, education marketing refers to the efforts undertaken by higher education institutions, online schools and courses, and even educational apps to inspire engagement or action among students, their parents, investors, and key industry leaders. Goals might include brand awareness, thought leadership, and increased enrollment or subscription.

For this article, we’ll concentrate on educational marketing as it applies to this second group of schools, e-learning platforms, and apps The content they create spans everything from blogs, newsletters, and social media platforms to digital advertising, guest articles, and even courseware.

Why is an education marketing strategy necessary?

As it continues to evolve, the education sector is eager for tips and tools for responding to the steady stream of modern teaching and learning challenges and opportunities. This speaks to the rapid growth of the e-learning market, which is expected to reach $458 billion in value by 2026.

Today, there are more than half a million education-related apps available, many offered on the App Store and Google Play. At the same time, there are scores of videos, e-books, websites, online courses, and other materials all created to support education needs.

The net result is an overwhelming variety of options that make it hard to produce content that stands out and determine which solutions are best. Thoughtful, customer-driven education marketing is a valuable tool for successfully navigating this rapidly changing industry and market. Here are just a few of the goals you can address through education marketing. 

Build trust with your target audience

Trust is a foundational objective and requirement for all kinds of organizations as they look to connect with their learner audience. That trust is built via regular, consistent communication of your brand values, organizational mission, and benefits. Until that bedrock has been established, the path to reaching your communication goals is likely to be challenging.

Education marketing offers tools and strategies for promoting and achieving positive brand recognition for your school, e-learning platform, or app. Key among them is providing useful, high-quality content created to support the needs and preferences of your target audiences. Reliably equipping students and education-minded consumers with material that helps them solve problems can go a long way toward cementing the trust that will power your ongoing relationship.

Develop thought leadership for educational institutions

No matter if you’re an institution of higher learning or a provider of online courses, establishing your expertise is vital for instilling confidence among your prospective students. Delivering the right content in the right places can also help position you not just as knowledgeable but as a thought leader in education.

Your marketing content can help make you a valued resource in the education sector. While academic papers may be too in depth for your audience, you can share key facets of the work and its value in your blog or social media. Doing so regularly and authentically can make you an influential thought leader among students and other industry watchers, promoting recruitment and possible investment to your school or education-related business.

Generate organic traffic through educational marketing efforts

Where your content ranks on search engines is a key indicator of how well your marketing effort is likely to deliver on your goals. This is especially true for organic traffic, which refers to the visitors to your website who get there via the algorithms on Google, Yahoo, or Bing and not through paid advertising like a banner ad.

Increasing organic traffic requires that you regularly put out high-quality content that reflects your audience’s interests. Ideally, this content should also be cited on other popular sites through backlinks. In addition, implement a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to boost the performance of your blog or website. When done effectively, SEO can raise your rankings among search engines, driving more leads or subscriptions and contributing to other aims like increasing student enrollment.  

Create awareness of your brand

Education is a competitive marketplace and growing more so with the introduction of new tools, technologies, and models. Your content should help you rise above the noise and differentiate your offering in the eyes of your audience.

The effectiveness of your communications is directly linked to your understanding of the people you are attempting to reach. With a solid grasp of their pain points, interests, and aims, you can craft messages and stories that connect your audience’s needs with the unique value proposition offered by your brand or product. To grow brand awareness, your messaging should be regular, maintain consistency, and appear on the marketing channels your audience prefers.   

Drive product affinity and growth

Whether your ambition is increased student enrollment or a bigger user community for an app, education marketing strategies will play a key role in getting you to the finish line. Start by meeting your audience where it is, offering content that expresses an understanding of their challenges.

Education is about improving lives through learning. Your communications should convey your commitment to that objective. Selling will be a natural outgrowth of this relationship building, which can be bolstered through content that teaches and inspires your audience to visualize a brighter future for themselves.

Top 8 education marketing strategies

The internet forever changed the way schools and prospective students find each other, build relationships, and make decisions. Gone are the days when schools could rely exclusively on reputation or word of mouth to attract interest.

Most participants in education must now employ marketing tools and practices familiar across other industries. Today’s tech-savvy audience expects content aimed at their needs and interests, forcing schools and other educators to create modern marketing plans or risk being ignored.

Done effectively, education marketing strategies give institutions and e-learning brands a powerful tool for finding and building their audience. That means greater interest among students and larger enrollment. Students benefit as well by seeing content that helps them make the right educational choice.

Use social media marketing to connect with your target audience

Social media is a critical part of your digital marketing toolkit. It’s unique among your educational marketing strategies in that it is reliably used by both parents and students alike to research, connect with, and learn about schools and institutions. In fact, there are now approximately 4.59 billion social media users worldwide, or about 42 percent of the population.

Therefore, it’s important that your educational institution, app, or online courseware creates a presence on popular sites like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, or TikTok. Not only do these platforms offer access to your audiences, but they also boast significant amounts of data to help you unlock the preferences of those audiences to refine your knowledge, message, and social strategy.  

Make digital marketing a part of your marketing efforts

We live in a digital world, and it’s no different for the education sector. As traditional marketing strategies lose relevance and traction among younger audiences, education marketers are turning to digital channels to reach students. This makes digital marketing a fundamental feature of any successful marketing effort.

Digital marketing methods include everything from your website and social media, to paid search and email. As each has its unique benefits, using a mix is a sound approach. Among the advantages of digital marketing is the targeting it offers, which can lead to greater response and click-through rates for your campaigns. It also returns performance metrics you can then use to sharpen your efforts.

Build and launch mobile-friendly educational websites

Our phones are our go-to devices for all kinds of tasks, from social media to banking. More than ever, our mobile devices are also used by people researching schools or educational apps. Therefore, it’s vital that your website is responsive and built to deliver a satisfying user experience for those choosing to engage with your content on their phone or tablet.

Mobile-friendly means that your page loads in no more than 3 seconds, it represents your brand accurately, the content is meaningful and easy to read, and all links and navigation elements are easily clickable. If you’re not sure yours passes muster, put your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Create and offer video content

If content is king, then video is certainly a member of the royal family. Video is increasingly the most effective lure to attract online audiences to stop and learn, delivering a welcome return on investment. Given this fact, it’s little surprise that 91% of businesses report using video as a marketing tool in 2023.

The many forms a video can take is another reason for its wide popularity among marketers. Depending on your needs and the interests of your audience, you can create education demo videos, brand videos, how-tos or tutorials, customer testimonial videos, webinars, and live event videos. With each one, use the performance data you receive—like average view, completion rate, and subscriber growth—to adapt and improve your education video strategy.

Permit and monitor student reviews of the institution

As of 2022, 76% of consumers claim to regularly read online reviews for local businesses. More than 50% say they read at least 4 reviews before buying a product. In short, the opinions of our fellow consumers are an important part of our decision-making process.

The same research habits are true in the education sector as well, verifying the need to make student reviews available. Encourage students to leave online reviews and make the process as easy as possible. To build trust with your audience, respond to your online reviews quickly and treat any negative ones with sensitivity. You can repurpose the positive reviews by incorporating them into your website and elsewhere.

Develop and launch email marketing campaigns

There may be no more direct way to communicate with your audience than by email. Email marketing represents a cost-effective and popular means for delivering important content right to your students or customers. What’s more, you can personalize the outreach, segmenting your audience to ensure the material is relevant and timely for each portion.

Email also offers helpful automation and scheduling options so you can create nurture or drip campaigns composed of linked emails delivered on a set schedule. The focus of the content will depend on your goals and audience. You might want to promote other content like blogs, webinars, or how-to videos. The success of these campaigns will hinge on creating compelling subject lines and reliably delivering useful information.

Personalize relevant content for your audience

It’s well established that personalized content delivers the best results among most audiences. With your educational marketing, consider segmenting your audiences and creating personas for each that capture salient demographic details. You can use this information to tailor your content creation and distribution for each group.

For example, short social media marketing videos might be best for incoming students while longer-form articles on LinkedIn could be best for more corporate audiences. As you evaluate these options, remember that a mix of formats and platforms is usually the preferred scenario, providing your audience multiple touchpoints to engage with.

Use data to drive informed decision-making

Data and analytics have dramatically changed how we engage, sell, and buy. Education marketers are using the power of data to transform the education market as well. Data-driven insights enable institutions to improve decision-making, track key performance indicators (KPIs), measure campaign effectiveness, and develop a more nuanced understanding of audiences.

Among the most powerful dividends of data is the ability to use enhanced intelligence to develop personalized marketing content that resonates with those you’re trying to reach. Unique learning paths are also possible based on audience needs and interests, enabling more meaningful connections with students and users and better educational marketing strategy results.

Education marketing tools to support your marketing strategies

Education marketing success is the reward of thoughtful planning, actionable knowledge, and targeted, high-quality content. Like most relationships, it requires an ongoing commitment to improving the connection over time. Helping you manage your efforts is an ever-growing list of marketing tools and technologies. Here are a handful of resources to assess as you construct and advance your education marketing strategies.

Software to create video content

Given the growing popularity of video in education marketing strategies, your Social Media team could benefit from access to the tools necessary to build these valuable assets. The right software will equip you to edit, polish, and publish video content for sharing on your website, social media platforms, live events, and elsewhere.

Platforms for building online courses

If you intend to create and provide education courses, you’ll need a means for hosting and managing that content. Online platforms will provide an effective option for delivering all kinds of educational material. Additionally, many of these tools provide a venue for your students to interact as well as providing supporting content such as guides, e-books, videos, and tests to aid learning.

Graphic design software

Graphic design tools can help elevate and distinguish your education content. Design is also a crucial contributor to a successful user experience. Experiment with the growing number of free plans that are available, including tools like Canva or Visme. Use what you learn to determine if you want to upgrade to the more robust paid versions of the software.  

Email marketing automation software

Chances are good that email will play a part in your marketing mix. It’s inexpensive and targeted. You can get more out of email campaigns by integrating an email marketing automation tool. Whether software or an application, these tools help you build, design, send, and optimize your emails. They also provide detailed reports and metrics to enable you to continually improve and customize your email marketing program.

Project management platforms

Communication and collaboration are the cornerstones of any effective education marketing campaign. Today’s project management software can help you do that and more. The numerous options are designed to simplify planning and delegation, setting deadlines, tracking progress, and brainstorming ideas. Like the graphic design software, many of these platforms, including Trello, Asana, and Jira, offer free versions to get you started.

Landing page builders

Not every educational creative team has access to web development support. This is when off-the-shelf landing page builders can make a big difference. These user-friendly tools allow you to build professional-looking landing pages to support your education marketing strategies. Page options can include everything from templatized designs to e-commerce capabilities.

Customer relationship management software

For many organizations, customer relationship management (CRM) software forms the backbone of an educational institution’s or company’s communication and sales program. These systems enable you to automate many processes, including collecting data, creating customer lists, and launching marketing campaigns. Many universities are using CRM systems to analyze the student journey to better understand decision drivers.

Education marketing and digital advertising trends

If you’re ready to start planning your next education marketing campaign, consider making use of one or more of today’s most notable education marketing trends. It may be that adding the right technique or practice to your plan will make the difference you’re looking for with your audience—and your results.

Short-form video content is growing in popularity

Shorter, snackable video is proving especially influential with today’s student audiences. Fans of Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts appreciate brief stories told in a compelling way. According to Statista, 61% of Gen Z and millennial viewers prefer videos under 1 minute long.

You can use this popular marketing vehicle to share short testimonials, spotlight new institutional or product details, or showcase an upcoming tour or demo. You can also tease longer-form content and invite viewers to click through to see and learn more.

Conversational marketing is more important

Conversational marketing is a quickly growing practice of emphasizing real-time, one-to-one connections with your audience to build rapport, develop trust, and help answer questions. Academic institutions and others are seeing the benefits of exploring new ways to forge more immediate connections.

Integrated chat features and instant messaging represent some of the more familiar expressions of a conversational marketing strategy. Educational institutions and e-learning platforms will increasingly be expected to deliver such options. This strategy also helps those in the education industry to better interact with future students at scale.

Use of user-generated content is growing in educational marketing strategies

At a time when consumers expect helpful content to support them throughout their buying journey, students are looking to education providers to offer the same. Even with campus visits declining, today’s prospective students are still eager for a sense of what life is like at the institutions they’re considering. User-generated content (UGC) can help address that interest.

Make the most of this trend by inviting current and former students, faculty, and on-campus staff to participate in your UGC effort. They can be commissioned to create and upload photos, videos, blog posts, and other content to give the public a view of what the day-to-day looks like at the school. This authentic content can then be used across your marketing strategy from social to your website.

Chatbots are becoming more prominent in marketing strategy

The rise in conversational marketing was noted earlier, a trend that is driving the growing use of chatbots among educators and makers of learning tools and content. Today, your audience wants quick responses to their questions.

As a result, chatbots are fast becoming an expected resource. It’s easy to see how important the one-to-one communication they provide can be. Simply consider a scenario in which multiple schools are being evaluated at the same time and yours doesn’t offer this convenient avenue for getting questions answered.

Influencers are now helping your educational marketing strategy

Important contributors to marketing strategy in many other industries, influencers are now being employed by education marketers as well. These individuals bring large social media followings and a demonstrated skill at connecting with them, a great attraction for schools and app builders looking for an edge.

You may already know some of the education sector’s influencers. If not, explore via social media searches and tools. A digital advertising agency can help here. Then, connect with the influencers and discuss opportunities for collaboration. Note that influencer endorsements come with legal considerations, so be sure to check out the latest FTC guidelines.

Employing the power of education marketing to teach and grow

Choosing how and where to pursue educational goals are some of the most important decisions a person makes. Today, eager prospective learners have access to a growing number of options, from traditional educational institutions to convenient distance learning platforms to the thousands of education apps now available. To ensure your brand or institution attracts interest, you can engage an education marketing agency or tackle it yourself, creating and executing a thoughtful, data-driven marketing strategy that puts the student first.

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