If you’re not familiar with the higher education landscape, you’re probably not aware of just how dynamic and even competitive it can be. The rise of online and hybrid degrees, the surging interest in career and technical schools, the push for experiential and applied learning — all of these challenges are intensifying. And when you combine that with increasing pressure to differentiate your school or university and stand out in the market — well, that’s a recipe for a headache.

Why You Need a Digital Marketing Agency in Higher Education

You already have so much on your plate running a higher education organization (*gestures to all of the above*). The idea of that you also need to boost your marketing power and make the most of the latest advertising tools and techniques can be a brain overload. Bringing on a higher education marketing firm can allow you to:

  • Free up your own personnel and resources to better focus on the needs of the school and your students
  • Increase your leads and enrollment by better targeting the students who truly fit your school’s culture
  • Take advantage of the full slate of traditional and digital marketing tools out there without having to waste time learning them yourselves
  • Stay competitive within the dynamic landscape of higher education

How to Pick the Higher Education Marketing Agency That’s Right for You

Once you decide to partner with an education marketing agency, then comes the big question: how do you pick the right one? What factors should you keep in mind? We’ve outlined seven key things you should consider:

What is their experience in the higher education landscape?

This is, honestly, one of the biggest points to look at. It’s one thing to team up with a marketing agency that’s been around for a bit; it’s another thing entirely to choose a partner who’s deeply familiar with higher education. You’re not just any old company. Colleges, career schools, universities, and other educational institutions have a unique mission and distinctive challenges, and you need an advertising partner who understands where you’re coming from right from the jump. No ramp-up time. No struggling to explain your perspective to account reps who don’t get it.

Are they data-driven decision makers?

Marketing, in this day and age, is all about the data — gathering it, analyzing it, understanding it. With the Internet such an integrated part of our daily lives, humans generate a constant stream of information about themselves, their preferences, and their interests. You need a higher education marketing agency that knows how to use the data out there as a jumping off point to creating strategies and campaigns that build a bridge between you and your potential students.

What is the range of services that they offer?

We’re way passed the old days of advertising, where it was about a single jingle on the radio or clever TV spot. Today’s higher education marketing firms need to be consummate multitaskers, juggling old-school traditional services with the most up-to-date digital tools. A good marketing agency will offer:

  • Website development and management
  • Content strategy and marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Paid digital media
  • Social media management
  • Reputation management and social listening
  • Email marketing and retargeting
  • TV and print media
  • Consulting
  • And more

What kind of track record do they have?

Claims on a website are just that: claims. A higher education marketing agency needs to be able to back up what they say they can do with the data to prove it. If you ask them: What kind of growth have you seen? How are you at utilizing your clients’ budgets? What kind of customer retention rate do you have? Then they should be able to answer that, concretely, without a lot of puffery. Even better? If they have testimonials from clients who can tell you about the level of service they’ve experienced from that agency.

How experienced are they with digital marketing practices?

Your students are online. All of them. Whether they’re adult nontraditional students or new high school graduates, they’re doing their research, finding their programs, and even enrolling all online. You need to select an agency who thinks digital-first, who keeps tabs on the latest developments from search to social, and who knows how to drive traffic and capture leads.

What kind of benchmarks and KPIs do they utilize, and how accountable are they?

A flashy looking campaign is all well and good, but it doesn’t mean anything unless it actually performs the way you need it to. Any education marketing agency should be able to tell you upfront what kinds of metrics they’re using to measure performance, and they should be transparent and accountable throughout the process. You shouldn’t have to chase them down for numbers or squint at reports, trying to make sense out of what they’re doing.

How will they leverage your unique selling propositions (USPs) to capture the right audience?

No higher education institution is exactly the same, and you don’t want to waste money on a bunch of leads and prospects who aren’t a good fit for you. The right digital marketing agency is going to understand that and know how to dig deep on your USPs, using them to inform the overarching strategies they employ. This way you’re connecting with potential students who really want what you’re offering.

Get More From Your Marketing With EdwardsSchoen

If you’re ready to connect with a digital higher education marketing agency who can be a true partner to your institution, then now is the perfect time to start a conversation EdwardsSchoen. We combine large agency experience with the nimbleness and accountability of a boutique firm, resulting in a proven track record of results. Learn more about us or contact us.

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