Educational institutions are the enablers of knowledge creation and delivery.
If we start from the basic definition of education – it is the process of learning, facilitating or the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, values, skills, beliefs and habits.
Today with the advent of technology and communication technologies, the physical distances though remaining same, the speed of transmission of knowledge has reduced to zero. Communications occur in real time and have resulted in transfusion of knowledge and information which can be made available instantly.
Educational institutions are also adopting with the changing dynamics of the society and are paving ways to attract, educate and enlighten the students. Digital marketing and use of ICT plays a crucial role in enabling this perspective.
Digital marketing enables the educational institutions to make use of the power of social media.
Various social media sites can be used to share the information with a global audience. This information can be shared in the form of text, sound, pictures as well as videos.
The presence of such information on social networking sites is instrumental in influencing the decision making process of the students.
One of the main reasons why educational institutions can make use of social media is the fact that 99% of the student population has presence on the social networking websites.
A random post on Facebook has the propensity to travel further than a brilliantly thought out billboard campaign and this realization is what marketers are quickly waking up to.
Although we haven’t reached the point where digital marketing has eclipsed traditional marketing entirely, the Indian context offers a promising premise; especially if we take the example of the education industry.
Know your Target Audience
The line between traditional marketing and digital marketing is far from being invisible but yet there is a stupendous growth the online consumers.
After all, education is a service consumed by the students. Younger generations, the target audience are ever more present on the digital channels and interact with peers daily.
As the education sector’s primary advertising audience are the youth, digital marketing is steadily growing in its importance.
A healthy lead over the competition
It’s not about doing the big things perfectly, but doing the small things right at the right time. Ensuring presence over the internet and digital platforms helps the educational institutions be ahead of their competition.
Today the game is not just limited to traditional channels, like print adverts, radio inserts; it has gone digital. Being present on the correct social media platform and investing in thoughtful SEO and SMO efforts, guarantee presence in front of the right eyes.
Being on the same platform as your competition guarantees you visitors, but it also leads to loss of message due to the clutter. Connect which is needed to engage the audience is missing in traditional marketing channels.
On the other hand, digital platforms provide much easier access to the Indian youth that doesn’t go online but practically lives online, making them more important and relevant to the education industry’s context.
Limitless opportunities to engage
Keeping in mind that over 80% of prospective students begin their search for education using google search engine the possibilities for the institutes are endless.
Consider a scenario wherein, the prospective student googles the term ‘Best MBA college in Pune’.
The search results can show, list of best colleges in Pune listed on educational portals; supposedly YouTube links showcasing a video on how to select the MBA institute, and also homepage of your educational institute. The possibilities are infinite.
With the right use of digital marketing, educational institutions can get highlighted online and be the ones the prospective students might consider for enrolments.
Provide Information; do not sell
Traditional marketing campaigns are elaborate sales pitches by being informative but in the end making an offer.
The youth who are the prospective students, have very less tolerance levels for such sales pitch. Here the role of digital marketing becomes more evident, as it engages the audience in dialog which is usually interactive in nature.
Using digital marketing platforms, marketers can combine engaging content and technology to ensure the right kind of information is provided to the right audience at the right periodicity, helping them in making the best choice.
Such a campaign not only delivers the right message and engages the audience; it gives educational institutes a much larger funnel and far more enrolments than a traditional marketing strategy.
In the end, what drives the customers to purchase your product or consume your service is the efforts put in place by the marketers to engage the customers in a productive dialog.
With the help of digital marketing one can utilise the technological interface to engage with the audience. It remains to be seen the kind of efforts educational institutions are ready to put in harnessing the potential of digital marketing.
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In India, traditional marketing strategies are preferred over the digital ones, as they have delivered the results over the years. But with the shift of the prospective customer from traditional platforms to digital, the owners of the educational institutions have to think on the return on investment and compare it for both traditional as well as digital channels.