Students today have so many options available to them when it comes to choosing a higher education institution. Students today are also now selective: focusing on educational ROI and career-oriented programs and degrees. These have caused higher education to become incredibly competitive and is forcing colleges and universities to increase their school marketing strategies and initiatives.
For larger schools with more resources, this may not seem like too arduous a task, but smaller schools may face more of a battle — especially considering that they need to compete against these larger institutions who have more name recognition.
Small schools need the right tools and the right strategies to compete. Current strategies are no longer enough and may even no longer be applicable due to new demands from potential students. For example, it's no longer enough to just leave brochures in guidance counselor offices as students are spending more and more time online.
So, what small school marketing strategies can be implemented?
Firstly, small colleges and universities need to position themselves accordingly. Yes, large schools have the name recognition and the resources to have dedicated marketing staff to further establish their brand. In the past, small schools have tried to compete on the same field as the larger school, trying to market themselves on the same points instead of focusing on what sets them apart from larger institutions.
To do this, identify your niches. Do you offer an impressive music program? Are all of your class sizes small? Has anyone of prominence attended your establishment?
Whatever it is that makes your school unique, focus on it and find niches that large schools simply cannot because of their size. The great thing about small schools is how they are able to interact. Your students and staff are very accessible — find out what they think about the school to get a real perspective that you can leverage in your marketing materials.
Secondly, find new avenues for marketing. Everyone is doing billboards and brochures so set your school apart by finding unique marketing channels. Try SMS shortcode campaigns, for example, where your school can have a dedicated keyword that is a potential student texts they are sent a link to a custom landing page! Try personalized drip campaigns based on a potential student's course interest. Essentially, try and make your marketing as personalized as possible so students feel the close, engaging experience of a small school right away.
So, how can these small school marketing strategies be implemented?
Having highly-personalized campaigns that focus on your identified niches sounds great but how can a small school practically implement such strategies? With more limited budgets, small schools need to be more efficient with their marketing. That's where marketing automation comes in.
With the right automated platform, small schools can easily create personalized campaigns that target each potential lead with custom messaging and through their preferred communication channel. This same platform can also aid in the posting and automating of social media posts while reporting statistics on all communications.
Small schools can leverage a marketing automation even further in order to increase the effectiveness of such an investment by also using the system to streamline communications in other areas. For example, on top of automation small school marketing strategies, a school could also use marketing automation to optimize administrative workflows such as appointment reminders, storm closures, exam schedules, and more.
To some, the investment in marketing automation may seem to large a risk for a small school. However, scalable solutions exist that provide ease-of-use no matter the budget.
SimplyCast understands small school marketing strategies need an efficient, budget-friendly solution, which is why we have an enterprise-level platform that is scalable to any size or budget. If you want to see how many automation can work for you, sign up for a free 14-day trial for your small school. Or, contact us today and we can help you find the perfect solution that meets your marketing and communication needs.