Education was one of the first few sectors to jump on the internet marketing bandwagon. Despite the success of digital marketing campaigns, there are still some who refrain from making hay while the sun shines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, and should be, one of the top priorities for academia. With the entire world going electronic, your educational setup can no longer afford to restrict itself to a geographical boundary. The world is becoming a smaller place, thanks to the internet.
The market scenario
Some of the most celebrated universities/colleges today are at their respectable best partially because of their legacy, history and teaching standards, and partly because of their marketing tactics. Long term success can’t be achieved with just selling your institute on the real life examples of a few successful alumni (moreover, direct mail, newspaper and telephone book ads have become almost obsolete today). That’s not all. The market is so competitive that mere existence in the virtual universe isn’t enough to ride the waves – you need a dynamic strategy which fills your catchment area to the brim and ensures ROI.
You ‘sell’ education – your degrees and programs are your ‘products’. But, when marketing gurus share their formulae on successful marketing mantras for businesses, they often tend to overlook the education sector as a key beneficiary. The stable-yet-volatile industry calls for optimization of internet marketing campaigns for educational institutes. To compete in an ever-expanding market, education businesses everywhere are indulging in streamlining their online presence through internet marketing, and trying to achieve maximum online visibility through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), PPC and Social Media.
What you need
An able partner who can give you an overview of where you stand globally, indirectly alleviate some of the competition through effective content management, implement a multi-channel marketing strategy and provide you with a customized SEO strategy that will catapult you to the top of the search rankings.
Looking at the bigger picture, enrollment marketing should be at the very core of your business objectives. But apart from that, you also need the following:
Brand Visibility: If people can’t find you in spite of you being present online, what’s the use? Building an online reputation that equals (or exceeds) your goodwill, and marketing you as a ‘brand’ on the internet can help you become a household name. The significance of building businesses as ‘brands’, especially educational institutions, is irrefutable today, since trustworthiness, credibility and reputation are key parameters for your target audiences.
Elevated User Experience: When they look for you, they expect to be able to browse through your website from their device with ease.
Geography: If you are a state school, community college or local commuter school, your physical presence is of utmost importance when it comes to geo-specific or local searches. A location-based strategy and geo-targeted keyword modifiers that cater to local queries are vital to satisfying these searches.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO: Optimizing elements that search engines scout for, and building links should be at the core of your SEO strategy.
Internal Search: Keywords are the most integral ingredients for the perfect SEO recipe. If this goes wrong, the rest of the strategy will fall flat on its face. Internal site search can enable you to identify what your target audiences are looking for.
Content: Superior (optimized, unique and relevant) content encourages backlinks, which are crucial for the success of any SEO strategy.
Visual connect: Visual content is what helps attract more attention and hold a user’s interest for longer periods of time.
Freshness: Unique content is considered ‘unique’ only the first time one views it – in a cutthroat market like the EDU industry, fresh content and the number of quality backlinks must keep increasing to ensure a steady flow of inbound traffic.
Competition: Conducting an SEO audit will enlighten you about not just the keyword phrases that should be optimized, but also provide insights into what you’re up against (in terms of competitors). Understanding the whats, hows and whys of their success can be an eye-opener.
SEO is a long term investment
Unlike the common misconception, SEO is NOT a one-time investment. It requires persistence, insistence and the knack to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of organic search. Committing your resources for the long haul can ensure that your online ventures have the best prospects of getting to the top of search engine results and staying there for a longer duration.