Tag Archives: Social Media

The Best Ways for Higher Education to Get Butts in Seats

Empty_College_Seats

While higher education has been successful in the past, COVID-19 and other outside issues may require changes to the model. For many smaller universities, losing the income from on-campus residences and food plans for an entire semester, possibly longer, is a major financial hit. However, this immediate threat could be disguising longer-term issues. Due to the high cost of education, many students are opting to do community college first to save money. Others are skipping college altogether, choosing to learn skilled trades, and taking advantage of the high demand.

Top Marketing Methods For Higher Education
Methodology means everything when it comes to marketing. Higher-learning institutions find it more important than ever to get prospective students. Thus, prospecting requires letting as many students as possible know about your institution and its offering. What are some of the channels that are seeing the most success? 

1. Personalized Social Media
Reaching recent high-school graduates and college-age students on social media seems like the most obvious step. Young people use social media—your base of prospective students is young people. Sounds like a perfect fit, right? 

Of course, you should be on social media in some form, but you can’t expect to simply dump the same base ad on every platform and see success. Instead, institutions need to be taking a more personalized approach.

How does this play out in practice? Platforms like Instagram and Facebook make it easy for you to gear different ad campaigns to different students that target their interests. For example, if you have a prominent study abroad program, you can target potential students with interest in travel. At the same time, if you have a particular program of study that’s well-acclaimed, you can target students with similar sets of interests. You can also adjust these for geographic location and other factors.

2. Event Marketing
While digital marketing is an important element for reaching potential students, it’s not the only option on the table. At some point, the students will want to see what your university looks like, and smart event marketing can help paint the right picture. This type of approach means finding event ideas that combine fun and recreation with information about your institution and its benefits. 

3. Showcasing Alumni
Practicality matters as well. More and more students are concerned about their job prospects after graduation, which is why you want to take the time to alleviate those fears by incorporating alumni into your marketing. This approach helps build bridges with alumni to get their participation and shows that you can provide long-term success. It’s not just enough to show that alumni of your school are getting excellent jobs, but that their education played a key role in their success.

Also, you can use this time to share information about campus life. No one will know what a college feels like more than a past student, so it can be a great opportunity to add some authenticity to your messaging.

4. Video Marketing Campaigns
No digital marketing campaign is going to see serious success without video marketing. Video marketing is most effective at:

  • Maintaining viewer focus
  • Communicating points
  • Driving viewers to conversions

All of these are extremely important when trying to convince someone about a decision as big as choosing a college. However, not all video content is created equal. Not only do you need to invest in top-level filming and editing quality, but you also need a plan on how you are going to distribute the video. Do you have existing social media channels? If you have a YouTube channel, how will you promote the channel and keep up the content? Return on investment is critical for video marketing.

5. Digital Reputation Management
Your prospective audience as a college/university has a digital focus like no other. They are online for social interactions and recreation, but they are also deeply plugged into causes and activism. Scandals on campus can go viral in an instant, and statistics show that this can have a pronounced impact on your admissions. As a result, every institution of higher learning should invest in reputation management on some level.

What does this mean in practice? Generally, it means creating and promoting content that presents as favorable an image of the university as possible. Most reputation management experts do this by building up the SEO profile of your university. It’s possible to make sure the highest-ranking sites paint your university in the best possible light by creating positive content optimized for specific keywords. Of course, reputation management doesn’t give you the ability to squash the truth. Thus, it would be best if you were looking into PR support as well.

Why An Integrated Marketing Campaign Is Superior
Any of the previously mentioned tactics can work well for your higher-learning institution. However, there’s always going to be a cap on your Students_Studyingsuccess if you only use one method of marketing. Not every student is going to use one marketing channel. For another thing, outside trends in the world may impact the effectiveness of one platform over another. For example, say that you put all your money into ads on one social media platform. College-age students start to migrate to another platform. Suddenly, your campaign became a lot less effective through no action of your own.

Issues like these are why all colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning need to consider an integrated marketing campaign. Here are a few key reasons why this approach is needed to ramp up student recruitment.

  • Competitive advantage. Because many other colleges won’t look into integrated marketing, you have an instant leg up over the competition. This advantage results in not only a larger marketing presence, but also a more refined one. Integrated marketing makes it easier to zero in on the type of students most likely to go to your university.
  • Overall savings. Price is one of the first reasons many universities opt to skip over integrated marketing, but you need to think long-term. It’s more cost-effective to do five different methods through one provider verse using for those same five methods from five different providers.
  • Consistent brand messaging. Arguably the most important benefit of integrated marketing. Say that you decide you want to get into video and social media marketing. However, you do social media in-house and hire a freelancer to do the video. The two interpretations of your brand principles may be wildly different, which hurts your marketing effectiveness. Thus, an agency like Glint can ensure consistency with your brand voice.

While an integrated marketing campaign is the best way for higher education institutions to reach prospective students, it’s also arguably the most complicated. You have to understand multiple marketing methods, but you also need the funds and workforce to make a serious foray into all of them. Developing compelling creative for numerous marketing channels, and managing them well, can be daunting for in-house marketing teams to do on their own.

By turning to outside marketing agencies, higher education can get the specialized outreach they need without spreading their resources too thin. However, to reap these benefits, they need a combination of expertise and experience from their industry partners. Partnering with professionals like Glint Advertising can provide unique integrations across both digital and traditional tactics. We offer consultation and have resources to generate a specialized integrated marketing strategy that can help take your higher-learning institution to the next level.

The Director’s Guide To Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation Inbound Leads

If you’re not taking marketing automation seriously and incorporating it into your overall strategy, the chances are that you’re selling your company short. Last year:

  • 51% of companies used some form of marketing automation, with 58% of B2B companies having implementation plans in place.
  • 63% of professionals planned to raise their marketing budgets for automation.
  • 4 out of 5 marketers saw automation as a critical part of their overall success.

With this said, the term automation invokes a lot of fear and anxiety in the uninitiated, from people not looking forward to learning new platforms to worrying about their job security. 

In reality, though, marketing automation is less about supplanting professionals, and more about removing tedium and busywork from their daily operations. Here’s a top-down look on how to understand and utilize marketing automation in your business.

What Is Marketing Automation?
In essence, marketing automation is an umbrella term for using different software platforms to automate aspects of marketing activities. The marketing team puts together an overall strategy, or workflow, for the software, which it then executes to provide automated communications across a variety of different channels.

On paper, it seems easy, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing automation is a replacement for a well-planned strategy. Marketing automation lives or dies off of the nature of the workflows that you create. As a result, you need to know your audience, and what they respond to or your investment in the process won’t pay off. 

Along with this, you need a solid CRM with prospects in your database to increase ROI with marketing automation. If you have a small existing list of leads, you’re going to see diminishing returns. At the same time, if you buy a cheap list of potential leads and use marketing automation to spam them, you’re just going to hurt your brand’s reputation. So, before implementing marketing automation, have a plan in place to handle database/lead decay.

Replacing Common Platforms
One of the major benefits of using marketing automation is that it allows you to replace a multitude of software platforms. A change like this also means more capacity for your marketing team to dedicate on additional tactics. Here are a few examples worth looking at:

Lead Forms: These used to be the gold standard when it came to lead collection. They consisted of attaching a lead form to something like an e-book or another type of enticing content. The lead’s information would then go into an accompanying database, which compiled warm leads to mine. In the past, this process would be quite time-consuming, from setting up the form to filtering for people who may have filled things out incorrectly. Skipping these steps with automation means you spend less time combing through the database and more time figuring out how to grow it.

Landing Pages: Marketing automation generally serves as the middle of a marketing funnel, helping convert prospects from the lead lists you create to the moment of conversion. For many businesses, landing pages are that point of conversion. Where marketing automation helps is cutting out a lot of the work of data collection (using heatmaps, checking KPIs) to see how your landing pages are performing. Automatically forward people to your landing pages, and see if your marketing is creating an effective bridge from lead generation to conversion.

Email: Replacing email outright isn’t necessarily what marketing automation is about, but more about ending the back and forth process that comes with an email campaign. For example, if someone doesn’t respond to your marketing email at first, it’s generally good practice to send a followup. However, drafting the email and remembering to send it can be a vexing task. Marketing automation allows you to set this all up in advance. Not only does it mean less tasking work, but it also ensures you’re not sending extra emails to prospects that don’t need them.

As a final note, statistically speaking, custom/dynamic automated marketing performs the best out of all automated marketing. And it’s pretty easy to understand why: it helps differentiate you from conventional sales/marketing copy, while also allowing you to target individual customer needs. Marketing automation is also a major timesaver when it comes to dynamic content. For example, you can:

  • Set when your marketing emails/communications will be sent based on past prospect actions.
  • Set different fields in your communications to account for names, companies, and other information. 
  • Add unique imagery/product suggestions based on past behavior.

Marketing Automation And Your Sales Funnel
So let’s say that you’re confident about using marMarketing Funnel Growthketing automation, and are ready to start implementing it. How exactly do you integrate this workflow into your existing sales funnel? Remember, as we mentioned earlier, marketing automation does a lot of work in the middle of the sales funnel. But, you also need to integrate multiple touch points at the top and bottom of the funnel to see the full impact.

How many touch points do you need? It will vary based on the clients, but here are some of the most common examples.

Phone calls: Whether this is a cold call or a followup to an in-person meeting, these are generally the starting point for a lot of sales funnels, especially for big-ticket purchases or services.

Emails: Often, these are the most effective ways to regularly contact a prospect with followup for answering questions and reinforcing services to help convert a sale. You can also use this as a reminder or to let them know about other opportunities.

Social media: Social media as a touch point may seem a bit odd but think of it as the touch point before the touch point. If you reach out to a prospect cold, they may not be interested in your service at that moment and turn you away. Doing things like providing them content on social media and engaging with them in a personal manner will warm them up to your offerings.

So, how does marketing automation come into play here? You can create a workflow based on a prospect liking a series of posts. Then, automatically, send a followup email right after the database triggers the actions of liking the posts. This approach hits multiple touch points for a fraction of the work, meaning it’s easier to personalize the marketing and connect with more prospects.

Marketing automation has gone from a novelty for many businesses to an essential tool. The ability to simplify a multitude of tasks not only helps streamline the workflow of your marketing team but also saves time. However, there are still two main touch points that you’ll need to overcome to transition into automation:

  • Finding a seamless way to transfer from legacy systems.
  • Implementing if you don’t have a marketing team or agency partner.

In both cases, working with a veteran marketing agency like Glint Advertising is your ideal solution. We can help provide consultation and resources for you to move your marketing strategy toward automation.

Snap Stock Is Out

Photo Credit: HowToStartABlogOnline.net 

Snapchat, Inc, just released their IPO and people are going crazy over Snap stock. If you haven’t heard of Snapchat by now, then there’s a good chance you’ve been living under a rock. Snapchat is today’s most popular social media application among millennial’s. The app focuses on disposal content that you can share with friends between 1-to-10 seconds, or upload content to your ‘story’ that will stay active for 24 hours. Snapchat was initially created with the sole purpose of exchanging nude photos of one another, and though the app is still infamously known for that, Snapchat offers a way to capture raw moments in life. Most of the moments individuals now share with each other are strange objects, unique scenery, and of course, food. A popular phrase has even been coined, “if you didn’t Snap it, did it really happen?”

But what makes Snapchat so popular? Snapchat encourages sharing personal moments with close friends, despite not physically being with them. Snapchat is widely popular with millennials and centennials due to their love of sharing moments and experiences. Now, combine that attribute with the ability to share 10-seconds worth of content, appealing to the short attention that humanity has developed, is a recipe for success. Snapchat has managed to take all the positive aspects of each big-name social media platform. Further, they’ve incorporated them all into one social media application – photos, videos, filters, emojis, artistic doodles, and text without it permanently being stuck on the web. However, there’s still the option of screenshotting a snap, so think twice before you send that risky photo. Researchers have also found that the way individuals interact accounts for Snapchats success among its users. Interactions are not ‘transactional’ like a text message, or as impersonal as a status update on Facebook and Twitter, but rather more ‘conversational,’ and it has the ability to place users in the exact moment an event occurred.

With all of these amazing features intertwined within Snapchat, some may wonder how does the social media app make money. Snapchat has found an interesting way to disguise ads between Snaps, and stories. Individuals are likely to see ads when they shuffle between stories. However, these ads are not your typical 30-to-60 seconds long. They are shorter, much shorter. They can range anywhere from 5-to-10 seconds long, and the best part is that they can be skipped by users. Contrary to many people’s belief, millennials are less likely to pay for an application than any other generation.

Another reason why Snapchat has become so popular over the years is due to its relevancy. Twitter has an endless stream of tweets, and users often move on to another application before they get a chance to read a tweet from someone they care about. Meanwhile, Facebook feeds are either filled with people that you don’t often consider close friends or click-bait. Click-bait is a coined phrase that describes an interesting title, but redirects to an uninteresting page when clicked. The unfortunate case of Twitter and Facebook is that users spend a lot of time trying to find that small sliver of content that is relevant and interesting to the user. Snapchat is much different. Yes, there is a lot of content on Snapchat that is waiting to be found, but Snapchat allows you to follow, view and receive content from the people you care about. Snapchat even has a section called Discover which is news-like content, and even that section can be editable. Users can select which publications, new stations and TV channels they want to view.

The last reason why Snapchat has become so popular, and probably the most important, the application is just downright fun to use. Users can attach goofy stickers, funky lenses that add a mask, manipulate the structure of your face or add geofilter sliders that indicate which city or location you are in while Snapping. Even the Discover aspect of Snapchat, which is probably the least interesting part, is still more engaging than Twitter Moments – a similar news like attribute.

Team members of Glint regularly use Snapchat, so we decided to conduct an internal survey:

What is it about Snapchat that you like the most?
“I love Snapchat because it allows me to capture raw moments of life. Anyone can record an event and add effects to make it look more appealing, but with Snapchat, the moment itself is appealing; not the effects added to it. It’s authentic and unfiltered. I love using Instagram, but every photo and video I come across looks like a glossy imitation of reality.”

What don’t you like about Snapchat?
“I do not like how you can screenshot users content. I have had friends screenshot embarrassing photos I have sent before, and it would be great if Snapchat could remove that feature. Hint, hint, Snapchat.”

What do you use Snapchat for?
“Initially, I used Snap to send photos and videos, but as Snapchat evolved, so has the way I use it. I now use Snapchat as my preferred method of communication. I use it to for text messages and phone calls. The best part is that the app allows me to add a personal touch to my message specifically tailored for whomever I’m sending a message to.”

Would you ever stop using Snapchat?
“The first step to recovery is acceptance, and I accept that I’m addicted to Snapchat, but I can only see myself stop on the off chance that my friends stop using it. There would be no reason for me use an application if my only form of interaction was viewing other people’s stories. I like sending and receiving content from friends.”

There’s no doubt that Snapchat will become a household name like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s interesting to note that Facebook saw the potential of Snapchat just after a year of its creation. Facebook offered Snapchat $3 billion dollars to buy it out, but to many people’s surprise, Snapchat declined the offer. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion dollars in 2012, and Facebook has made Instagram the number one photo sharing application in the world. Facebook may have had a different plan for Snapchat, but no one is complaining about the potential fate of Snapchat under Facebook control. If you haven’t used Snapchat yet, we encourage you to experiment with your friends, and if we have one recommendation it would be this: if you’re not willing to risk that Snap being screenshotted then don’t send it.