As a higher-up at a college or university, you are heavily invested in how your school is seen by the public. After all, a great image attracts more new incoming Freshmen and raises money from donors and alumni. If your college is too small to warrant a full marketing group, or you simply need the help from a professional firm, you can outsource your marketing campaign to companies that specialize in marketing for colleges and universities. But what exactly do these companies do to improve your image and pull in recruits?
Cement a Brand
In many ways, your college is like a business. And all businesses need a good hold on what their image is. Branding a company or a university essentially means pin-pointing what you want to highlight. What makes you different from other colleges? Maybe you want to be seen as a great school for commuters, or a school that specializes in online courses. A marketing company can help you narrow down your brand. The benefits? Branding attracts the students you want and engages your alumni.
Once a consulting company determines your brand, they do research to figure out your value proposition. Essentially, what makes you valuable to students? Is it your amazing new student union building, top-notch professors, integrated technology, or inclusive on-campus housing? Maybe you have all these amazing things but don't communicate that to the public, and you need to switch up what you highlight in your marketing campaign. Research can figure all that out so your campaign is more effective.
Create a Media Plan
These days, you can market to the public in a variety of ways. With social media, television, brochures, newspaper articles, press releases, websites, events and other tools at your disposal, how do you know which ones will be the most effective? A good company will come up with a media plan to implement in the next campaign.
In our modern world, your university needs to be marketed in traditional ways (with the media plan) and online extensively. Without a strong online presence, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with the younger generation. Digital marketing can include content marketing (link building, blogs for your website, and infographics. It can also include digital advertising, like Google ads and email automation.
It's important to note that you may be able to perform some of these marketing strategies in-house. You can hire a consultant to fill in the pieces, or turn the entire thing over to a professional company. But now you understand what it takes to get your university noticed with a marketing communications for higher education.