How to Improve Higher Ed Marketing

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Marketing is a field that has always been challenging, and higher education marketing is even tougher than it sounds. But with the passing years, more challenges are arising for higher education recruiters, communications professionals and marketers. Most of these challenges did not exist in the past years, but they exist now.

These challenges are mostly arising due to the shift from conventional learning methods to the virtual learning ways. Moreover, digitalization is also a big factor which has made every industry change how things operate.

But there is a greater challenge existing in the higher education industry, which is marketing. Due to the technological shift, there is a higher need for improving higher education marketing by making use of digital tools so that potential students are reached effectively.

Higher Education Marketing

The world’s current dynamics have brought many complicated obstacles, but the biggest obstacle universities are facing is the shrinking pool of applicants and the decrease in enrolments.

In order to increase the applicant pool and increase the yearly enrolments, you must understand your target audience’s expectations and behavior in this modern era. Everything has changed in the past few years, including rules of engagements, communications and how they selected a university. 

Marketers have to work on their innovative ideas based on the expectations of prospective students. Only then higher education institutions will be able to reach their goals. Universities across the globe are struggling to adjust to the new standards of omnichannel, mobile-first, on-demand and tailored experience.

With the current changes in the behavior and expectations of people and the technological advancements all over the globe, a university or any educational institution can only be successful if it also adjusts to the digital age.

Reasons Why Higher Education Institutions Should Go Digital

Here are four major reasons why higher education institutions should go digital in order to reach their targeted applicant pool and annual enrolments:

It lets your target audience engage when and how they want.

In this modern world, students have become habitual in accessing any information they want. Institutions need to go digital in order to give access to all the students whether prospective or alumni so that they can engage with data whenever they want and however they want.

Higher education institutions will be able to give students the chance to explore, direct, converse and interact with their preferred content by going digital and that is what is needed in this digital age. This way you will be able to lead generations for higher education also.

It is a necessity for the mobile age.

Having digitized facilities has become a necessity for higher education institutions in this modern era. For higher education institutions, the target audience is students and mostly students are on their mobile phones for at least five hours in a day. 

Higher education needs to engage students by developing mobile-friendly applications and browsing experiences so that students and prospective students can access useful information or the data posted anytime and anywhere.

You are able to visually tell your school’s story.

Digital storytelling is the new trend these days, followed by marketers. Higher education institutions can stand out among the rest by using this strategy. Moreover, by visually sharing your story, prospective students will be able to remember and engage with your brand more effectively.

You are able to use data for informed decisions.

As most of us know, the admissions landscape across the world has close competition. Universities across the globe cannot lose their prospects and leads so that their competitors can capture them. 

By having digitized content, higher education institutions can have closed-loop reporting, which means they can further optimize the content to move the leads to the admissions pipeline. This means that higher education institutions can increase their enrolments by having digitized content.

Vital Strategies to Improve Higher Education Marketing

Uptill here, you would have understood why higher education digital marketing is necessary for this modern age where everything has become digitized and tech-savvy. But how can higher education institutions go digital, or how can they improve their marketing? This may be a common question that would arise. 

We have listed out some vital strategies to improve higher education marketing in 2023. They are:

Organize the list of your ad placements.

The most important step for attracting prospective students is making them aware of admissions, programs and enrollments. If prospective students would not know about your institution, its programs and admissions, then how will they join your university?

For this purpose, there are so many strategies and tools which you can effectively use to target the appropriate audience with the right content. One of these tools is Google display ads. But a very important thing that you must understand is that these tools might be helpful in lead generation, but if you do not curate your ads, then they might be placed at suboptimal locations. 

This is why you must curate your ads for better marketing. If you do not do so, then your ads will end up on websites that will have greater traffic but would be contextually irrelevant. This means you will not have any leads.

Build brand awareness and equity.

Amid all the marketing campaigns and tactics, a very important thing for winning over your competitors is creating brand equity and awareness. Your name should be enough for students to get admission to your university. 

A strong brand equity and the right kind of brand awareness would make prospective students choose your ad over a competitor’s ad. They will click on your ad first and not on your competitors. 

Your marketing team should come up with strategies to build a strong brand equity before anything else they do.

Do not neglect traditional media.

Even though this is the age of digital marketing and most of the users are using the internet mostly, it is not wise to completely avoid traditional media. Radio, television and print campaigns are always effective in reaching out to students and their families. 

While you work on your digital d campaigns, keep your focus on the traditional media as well. When it comes to reaching prospective students in the same geographical region, traditional media is more effective.

While you target prospective students through digital media, there are still some households where families make the decision, and you can target them through traditional media. If the family is convinced, then, students will also be pursued to choose a higher education institution over the other one which they like.

Refresh your ads regularly.

Complex digital ad campaigns often have high frequencies, but they soon wear off. An ad campaign may be interesting, but audiences get bored easily, and this can make them lose interest.

In order to keep your audiences interested and get a high frequency, you must continuously rotate ads and refresh your ad campaigns. You can also learn about your audience’s patterns by rotation of ads. You can see which ad campaigns generate more leads than the others.

Keep an eye out for new capabilities of existing platforms.

For successful digital marketing for universities and higher education institutions, you must keep an eye on new platforms and use them for ad campaigns. But while you test the new platforms, do not forget about the existing ones. 

While you are testing the new platforms, the existing platforms might have introduced some robust options and tools that might help you with advertising. Sometimes we are spending more on new platforms while the existing media platforms are offering budget-friendly tools that can provide us with better leads and enrollments, and eventually that is our ultimate goal.

Keep measuring the campaign performance.

A very important step that most people forget is measuring the performance of ad campaigns. To improve higher education marketing, you must keep an eye on the overall performance of the digital ad campaigns to find out if it is successful or not. 

If your ads aren’t effective then all the effort and money that your marketing team is spending on them is wasted. Measuring the effectiveness will help you analyze the patterns of your target audience and what they want from an institution.

Also, you can make your ads better if the existing ads are not showing any results.


Higher education institutions are facing a tough time trying to follow the new trends of the globe. As digital advancements are taking place and new processes are followed, they are having a tough time attracting prospective students to join their institution or university.

In such a time, universities need to work hard on their ad campaigns and marketing so that they are able to generate more leads and increase the admission pool. This can be done through effective marketing and using digital platforms. 

After reading the above article, one can learn how to improve higher education marketing following the new trends.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.