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Insights from the industry

Summer is just around the corner

Summer is just around the corner

Posted on June 2, 2019 by Gary O'Connor

It’s that time of year again! Colleges across the UK are putting together strategies for their summer campaigns to get the best results with tight budgets. Speaking to several marketing managers over the past few weeks there is one common theme being communicated; “How do we have a presence on all the digital marketing channels with minimal budgets and how do I make sure that the message is reaching the target audience at the right time?”

There are so many factors to consider for prospective students to apply for college and marketing teams have a huge challenge of understanding their motives. In this blog, I will look at some factors for marketing teams to consider when implementing their summer campaign.

Internal Research – The Most Valuable Benchmarks are set using your own historical Data

The first point I want to focus on is research and is something we always emphasise to colleges when discussing summer campaign strategies. Colleges have something that is often overseen when planning summer campaigns, STUDENTS! Conduct market research asking your students what social media channels they use. How did they decide to study at your college? Did they notice adverts for the college in print (newspapers, buses, billboards)? What device do they use most to browse the internet? Have they seen online adverts of your college recently and if so where?? This information can be vital in determining effective channels to incorporate in to your strategy.

At the same time review your previous campaigns, and take all the learnings and even “mistakes” to adapt your future strategy. If you haven’t been tracking the student journey or campaign performance in previous years, you still have the time to implement changes for this year.

At Educate we have the right platform to track the student journey – we are including this service for  all those who are planning to run their summer campaigns with us

External Research – A key component of applying your summer campaign strategy

External research is also a key component of applying your summer campaign strategy. Identifying industry trends, knowing how well known your brand is amongst your target audience and comparing your online presence vs competitors will give you some indication about the approach that should be taken not only for the summer campaign but for your digital activity in general.

External research will help you answer questions such as: Do we need to create more awareness? Do we need to have a stronger engagement/conversion strategy?

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Pre-Enrolment is about creating awareness and incorporating a message that stands out from your competitors and what makes you unique. Get in the forefront of your prospective students’ minds in the early weeks of your summer campaign. Video adverts are the most effective here, creating emotional awareness and giving insight in to your campuses and courses through the eyes of your alumni and current students. If the pre-enrolment segment is produced effectively this will make your core enrolment stage a lot easier.

It’s Not Over Until it’s OVer

On my previous point on pre-enrolment, post-enrolment is just as important, and colleges should put aside some of their budget to ensure they capitalise on students who will take a much longer time than others to decide. After the dust settles over the GCSE/A-Level result week there will be a collection of students still deciding their educational future. A small portion of your summer campaign budget will be enough to tip the scales on a student deciding to study at your college or another, having that presence and an “it’s not too late” message will allow you to acquire additional students in late August/Mid September.

I hope you take some of these points above into consideration if you are yet to finalise your summer campaign plan. I understand some of the points mentioned might be too late to incorporate but please take note when planning campaigns in the future. As always feel free to get in contact with us here at Educate for expert analysis and advice on any barriers/implications you may face when finalising your campaign.

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