Over the past ten years, higher education has seen a significant change with the growth of online education programs– US News is currently ranking 860 programs. In line with that, the marketing mix of higher education programs has changed significantly. In the past, higher education programs were regionally confined and, thus, marketing to prospective students was also geographically bounded. In that era, the most effective methods of advertising to prospective students were direct mail and phone. With the growth of online education programs, geographic limitations are no longer existent. Subsequently, the marketing mix has also changed. A range of innovative methods to attract students globally has been introduced.
One of these marketing tactics is email marketing. Here, I outline 5 key strategies to a successful email marketing campaign for an online education provider:
1st Define Your Prospective Student Segments
It is imperative for all higher education institutions to communicate with their prospective students on a defined email schedule. Prospective students are ones that have already shown interest in the program and are found in your database. All higher education marketers need to define the stages of interest that these students go through before making an enrollment decision. Once these phases have been defined, higher education marketers should characterize, using an e-mail marketing platform, prospective students and distinguish them in different categories based on their interest levels.
2nd Build E-mail Campaigns Around These Segments
As the primary drivers for enrolling in higher education programs differ among prospective student segments, academic marketers need to appropriately target and convey the right message to each segment. A concerted effort should be devoted to the exact titles of the mails, the copy, and the offer (call to action) that the mail inspires. In addition, campaigns should be built to be dynamic to the individual’s actions. Imagine if you have two prospective students in the same segment one of these prospective students does not open an e-mail, and the second does, the next e-mail within the campaign for these two students should be different.
3rd Timely Reponses to Prospective Students
One of the most common mistakes most educational marketers make is not responding in a timely manner to queries. Prospective students that e-mail questions are actively engaged in exploring the program and are looking to understand next steps. When these prospective students don’t hear back from the school within two days of their query, they may lose interest in the program or pursue alternative programs. By responding promptly, the program builds on its reputation and esteem in the minds of prospective students.
4th Monitor Your Results & Optimize for Future Mails
After every e-mail sent, the educational marketing team should analyze the results. Key performance indicators include:
- How many people opened the mail
- How many clicked on the active link within the mail
- How many responded to the mail
- How many people unsubscribed
By analyzing the success of your emails, you can better understand if your communication was effective and if/what changes may need to be made on future mails.
5th Make Sure You Are Viewed as a Thought Leader
Prospective students want to attend higher education institutions that are active leaders in the fields that they want to pursue. In order to maintain the engagement of these prospective students, you need to make sure that in your communication, academic content and educational resources of departments are highlighted. Links to articles published, blog posts written by university professors, or videos produced should be attached. Sending out these types of mail is an appealing way to humanize the higher education institution and engage the prospective student in their program of interest.
If You Build it, They Will Come
An effective e-mail marketing strategy can differentiate you from other programs and enable you to turn prospective students into enrolled students. The steps highlighted above are some of the foundational elements needed to succeed. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us at Nowspeed.
Recently, while attending a meet-up event at a prominent marketing automation company, I was confronted with a slew of old generation marketers lamenting the difficulties of the new digital marketing world. These marketers spoke of the “good old days” and an understandable, easier to manage marketing mix. With the infusion of web marketing pervading every corner of the world, these marketers felt like dinosaurs, out of place in the current climate. Very similar to newspaper editors, video rental store clerks and mail sorters.
The majority of them spoke of marketing automation platforms and services as their only savior because email marketing was the only digital marketing solution that resembled the traditional marketing they were familiar with — giving them a sense of clarity and structure around their work. Unfortunately, for these dinosaurs it is only going to get “worse”. According to eMarketer digital ad spending in the US will total $42.5 billion in 2013 alone and is projected to reach $60.4 billion by 2017. The reality is that to succeed in any world, you have to adapt.
My advice to these dinosaurs is that the world isn’t so different now and while the tactics have changed, the strategies have stayed the same. Here are four key winning marketing strategies that have stood the test of time.
Know Search Marketing: How, When, Where and Why You Are Advertising
In the 20th century, advertisements were primarily placed in local and national newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. The idea was that by having targeted placements with a set amount of eyeballs you could generate many prospective new customers and generate added revenue. It was of course tough to measure the exact return on your investment, but generally you could instantaneously see the results based on the positive changes reflected in your business sales. With traditional media disappearing, generations of marketers have found it tough to duplicate that same success.
The 21st century answer for marketers can be found using search marketing. Savvy marketers can place and pitch their products via search marketing in a similar manner as they did with traditional media through Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook Advertising, Linkedin Ads, etc. The key to success is the same as it was thirty years ago: you have to have targeted ads with clear messages (“calls to action”) and broadcast to your relevant market (keyword and demographic targeting) with a corresponding appropriate ad schedule (what time of year the ads should run and how long.) The difference is that now we can tell to the penny how much your leads are costing you.
Location, Location, Location: Protect Your 21st Century Storefront with SEO
As new generations of consumers rely more and more solely on online searches to buy their products it is imperative to optimize your website to give your business the best opportunity to be found. The majority of people in the marketing industry talk about search engine optimization (SEO) but don’t apply the very core fundamental tactics needed to ensure success. Just as it was critical for a business to have an attractive address on a well-trafficked street to pitch their products in the 20th century, it is imperative for a modern day business to invest in a proper SEO implementation effort to drive search engine results.
Maintain and Expand Your Brand: It’s Time to Get Social
Marketing used to be all social and recommendation spread via word of mouth. As the population grew, branding became important. In the past and still to this day, companies spend millions and billions of dollars annually on their branding campaigns — often without any idea whether the advertising had a positive ROI.
Nowadays, marketers can build their brand in a cost-effective and measurable fashion. By using social media marketing to engage and appeal to their clientele, marketers can guide discussions, create buzz, get feedback, and humanize their company and its products. We follow a time tested methodology that not only drives followers and engagement, but leads too. Employed properly social media can be the quickest and most effective method to give voice and spread your brand both locally and globally.
Partner When Needed: It Takes a Team to Make a Successful Marketing Campaign
Marketing directors and managers are always confronted with a plethora of daily marketing tasks while keeping their eye on their marketing goals and strategy. It is virtually impossible for a small marketing team to be a subject matter on all facets of digital marketing. An internet marketing agency can deliver excellent tactical marketing results that align with your marketing goals.
New Gameboard with the Same Old Strategies
It is important to recognize that marketing as a core discipline has not been altered. It still takes a deeply analytical, creative and strategic approach to build effective marketing campaigns. The only difference comes in the speed, applications, tactics and platforms used to sell your products. Don’t be a dinosaur, and follow these marketing strategies to a successful marketing conclusion.
In part one of this blog series “Making Paid Search Marketing Pay Off”, I discussed the power of targeting and how Google AdWords can be used as a lead generation tool. In part two, I’m going to take you through the key items to consider when developing your Paid Search Marketing Strategy including setting goals and optimizing the campaign.
Setting goals, as in every aspect of marketing, is critical to creating a successful Google AdWords campaign. Some typical goals used for a Google campaign include:
•You want your ad to increase traffic to your website (Better Offers)
•You want more leads (Better Landing Page)
•You want a low cost per click (Better Segmentation)
•You want your ad to show up at the top of the search results (Better Metrics)
Here are 4 ways that give you the biggest bang for your buck with Paid Search Marketing.
One of the most important elements of any AdWords campaign strategy is the offer. In my experience, the most effective ads are the ones with a specific call to action. A “20% off” offer or a strong white paper offer is going to deliver a higher click-through-rate than a self-focused ad about your company or the benefits of your products.
If you have multiple offers, segment each of the offers by keyword to make each offer more relevant to the searcher. The more relevant the offer, the higher the click-through rate and the less money you spend.
Once your offer has been developed, the next key step is to create lead generating landing pages. A good landing page will fulfill the goal of the searcher quickly. When someone clicks on an ad, they expect to be led to a page where they can complete a form. Many marketers make the mistake of leading traffic back to their site’s homepage, which may not be relevant to the keyword or offer that got them clicking in the first place. A landing page also prevents distracting navigation options leading away from the goal of a conversion. Of course don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself just how effective landing pages are.
AdWords makes it easy to segment your campaign in order to meet each of these goals, including campaigns, ad groups and keywords. These segments can be changed and optimized as your campaign progresses, giving you the chance to capitalize on what’s working, without wasting time or money on what’s not. You can also use the campaign management tools to target the campaign geographically or by time of day, to make it more likely to attract the segments you are focused on,
Once you’ve created a Google AdWords campaign that has well designed offers, landing pages, and keywords, the work is really just beginning. It is imperative that your campaign is monitored closely at all times to ensure optimal results. For example, shutting down ad campaigns that aren’t working will help you save money and increase your ad positioning. While anAdWords campaign will produce a lot of data, it’s important to monitor the most important pieces of this data. Determining Key Performance Indicators (KPI) like number of conversions and cost per conversion will ensure your campaign is in line.
An effective Paid Search marketing campaign can deliver affordable and immediate results only with a good offer, a smart strategy and an effective landing page. A smart marketer will use all of these tips in their AdWords campaign to drive the best results possible. Of course we’re more than happy to do this work for you, it’s what we do best.
To learn more, please download our free white paper How to Make Paid Search Pay Off.
WESTBOROUGH, MA, February 17, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ – Nowspeed, a top Internet marketing agency has released a new paid search marketing white paper entitled, How to Make Paid Search Pay Off, written by President & Founder of Nowspeed, David Reske. The white paper explains how and why it is important for companies to incorporate an effective pay per click (PPC) marketing strategy and test their tactics to ensure a steady flow of new lead generation prospects.
Businesses will learn the efficiencies of a paid search marketing strategy through Nowspeed’s tips and best practices that will jumpstart your efforts to create a paid search marketing strategy that works. The goal of any paid search marketing strategy is to turn it into an actionable plan to generate more qualified leads. Whether you’re developing a fully integrated online marketing program or just executing a simple Google AdWords campaign; it is important to start with a plan.
Reske states, “I’ve been working with companies like yours since the heyday of online marketing over a decade ago, and I’ve seen major changes in what works–and what doesn’t–to engage your prospects. The fact is, the companies that are reaping high returns on marketing plans need to do every step right, from defining your target market to ongoing testing optimization.”
The paid search marketing strategy tips mentioned in this 8-page marketing white paper will help marketers understand how to get started by setting goals, deciding on which offer to use, creating a well-designed landing page, testing with AdWords, and then optimizing the campaign when needed. Nowspeed has used these strategies to help a number of top companies achieve success with their marketing programs.
Download this free Nowspeed email white paper, How to Make Paid Search Pay Off, by clicking this link and filling out the form:http://www.nowspeed.com/resource/how-to-make-paid-search-pay-off
Nowspeed is an Internet marketing agency that drives leads–from click to customer–for companies. Our packaged services include a blend of social media marketing strategy, search engine marketing, search engine optimization SEO, email marketing,lead nurture campaigns, marketing analytics and website design so that we can deliver complete end-to-end solutions to our customers. For more information, visit us at www.nowspeed.com.
Paid Search Marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools ever developed. It is more targeted and flexible than any other media option. Google AdWords is the elephant in the room of paid search marketing with an estimated 90% market share. Advertisers currently spend $28 billion a year with Google, up from $66 million ten years ago. AdWords is quite simple: you bid to have your ad shown when a specific keyword is searched for. Google will display your ad based on three things: The price of your keyword bid, the click-through-rate history of your ad, and the quality score that Google assigns your ad. This system is survival of the fittest, ruthlessly striving to improve the quality of the ads for the audience rather than the advertiser.
Clearly Google knows what they’re doing.
The key feature of this advertising system is the incredibly accurate targeting options. You can target your ad on Google’s search pages, partner pages, or countless number of sites that use Google Ads. It doesn’t end there though, you can also target on specific geographic and demographic specifications as well.
Traditional media does not allow for this level of targeting which relies on Interruption Marketing — targeting individuals while they are busy doing something else, such as reading an article or driving a car. This often results in low response rates, and is referred to as “Push Marketing” because your message is being pushed in front of people, even if they’re not listening.
When searching with Google, people are actively seeking something. It is natural for them to click on your ad if you answer a question they’re asking. If a cloud storage company wanted to target 30-40 year old CIOs of large companies, placing an ad in a tech magazine would certainly find the right audience, but probably not at a time when he or she is considering their company’s cloud data storage options. Google AdWords will present your ad when the person types their search query, and are clearly interested in your message.
Targeting ads based on what people are actually searching is extremely effective, and often results in cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale that is lower than other media types. The key to making your program work is considering all of the variables.
- Ad Copy
- Banner Ad Design and Copy
- Geographic Testing
This system allows you to run multiple ads featuring multiple offers on thousands of keywords at the same time. There is no other form of media that gives you this kind of capabilities. Google AdWords has changed the entire landscape of marketing. It has changed the way we as marketers deliver and target our messages, and has changed the way we as consumers receive the message, and eventually perceive the brand. Ads are now assisting people instead of agitating, and that has very exciting possibilities.
On our next post we’ll discuss the creation, testing, and measuring of Paid Search Marketing. If you can’t wait, download our free white paper How to Make Paid Search Pay Off now.