5 New Year’s Marketing Resolutions for Higher Education

2013 brought changes to digital marketing by way of the Google Hummingbird update, new social marketing tools, Gmail inbox changes and more. If you missed any of these updates, now is the time to make some changes in your strategy! It’s a new semester and a new year for higher education marketers, so here are five New Year’s Resolutions to help you make the most of your 2014 digital marketing efforts.

Know your audience better

In the post-Hummingbird world, education marketers need to focus on the audience, not the keyword. As you write content and develop pages for your website, be sure to answer questions and provide help

Higher Education Marketing - New Year's Resolutions

ful information to prospective students who may be searching for program information or degree requirements. The deeper you go with the useful information you provide online, the more searchers you will attract.

Always blog

If you’re not blogging you need to start. And if you are blogging, you can probably blog more! Blogging allows you to inform and entertain to your audiences, and showcase your school’s personality. Be sure to use your blog to link to key SEO pages and provide content for your social efforts. Be sure you’re connecting authors and publishers to their respective Google+ pages.

Don’t be afraid to adopt new social channels

Younger people are often the first ones to adopt new social channels, as we saw last year with Instagram and Vine. When it comes to social media, you want to be where your audience is. While many businesses struggled to adopt these newer channels, it was educators who had the most success connecting with students and prospective students on channels like Instagram. Early adopters of new social channels also typically enjoy some advantages (such as attracting a bigger audience faster and your content competing with less noise), so don’t be afraid to try something new.

Avoid silos and share data

In 2014 your digital strategy needs to be holistic. Your content and messaging should align across SEO, paid search, social media and email. Each digital marketing practice provides a way to get content to your audience, which are the common denominators in marketing. Sharing data between practices only makes you smarter as a marketer, so compare keywords in SEO and paid search, and use social media insights to improve your email content. When you get everything working together, you can expect to amplify your leads.

Start designing your emails for mobile first

Although subscribers have been reading emails on mobile devices for years, most email marketers are still designing their email templates for the desktop. Many stop there, not using responsive design to create a mobile-friendly layout. Those who use responsive design shoe-horn the elements of desktop design into a one-column mobile layout and call it a day.

If more than half of your opens are on mobile devices, though (and if you don’t know this stat, go look it up right now), you should be designing your email templates for mobile first, then using CSS media queries and other responsive design best practices to create a desktop-friendly layout. This design practice will ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward with the majority of your list, while avoiding some of the roadblocks involved in trying to achieve responsive design across mobile email platforms.

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About Stephanie Pflaum

Stephanie Pflaum is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist for Fathom Education, a higher education marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. Stephanie specializes in higher education recruitment strategies that include SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing and Online Reputation. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University where she studied Marketing and Statistics. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephPflaum.

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