A Guide to Higher Ed Advertising During COVID-19

August 21 / Emma / filed under Pay-Per-Click

higher education advertising

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that COVID-19 is not something that will be gone anytime soon. So how should you adjust your advertising strategy for your college or university? Here are some key things to consider for higher ed advertising during this time.

Readjust for Shifting Application Deadlines

Many institutions are extending application deadlines for some degree or certificate programs. This usually means the initial timeline for your advertising needs to change as well. If there is additional time for prospective students to apply, you want to make that clear in your ads, and also make sure your ads aren’t going radio silent leading up to that new deadline. We know extra advertising budget isn’t always an option, but at a minimum, you’d want to keep your remarketing ads running. The goal? Reach those already in the funnel until the program is full or the new deadline arrives.

Adjust Your Messaging

Your pre-COVID ad copy likely needs some tweaking. Have you made changes to the program due to the pandemic? Make sure that’s clear in ad copy and on your landing page. As our country is going through so much and unemployment numbers have reached record highs, there could be new audiences potentially interested in re-training or furthering their education. Make sure your messaging speaks to everyone who may be in-market during this time. Finally, don’t forget about your email marketing. If you have drip campaigns going out, make sure to adjust the content accordingly. Are info sessions online only now? Can they meet virtually with an advisor? Make sure that’s clear.

higher education advertising

Don’t Assume People Are Searching in the Same Way

Prospective students may be searching for courses and programs offered entirely online. As more and more universities move their courses online, you want to highlight that attribute if you offer it. Review your search terms regularly to see if there are new trends in how people are searching; new keywords may be warranted! Finally, make sure you’ve added in COVID-19 negative keywords to your campaigns. This will ensure your ads aren’t showing for erroneous searches related to the virus.

Let the Data Drive Your Decisions

As always, you want to be adjusting your spend and strategy as you get more data. What shifts are happening by platform? Some results may surprise you. You may start seeing more conversions from Facebook than Google. People are spending their time differently online, and you shouldn’t assume your strategy can stay stagnant. Dive into the data and see what it’s telling you.

What Has Happened With the Competition?

You aren’t the only one making changes to your strategy. It’s important to keep an eye on what the competition is doing, too. Are there clear differentiators in ad copy or landing pages? Are they waiving application fees?

With so many online programs offered now, you may find yourself in an overly crowded field and competing with schools outside of your region. How can you still stand out? What is unique about the program you’re offering? Make sure this comes through in your copy, landing page, and email communications.

Need Help?

We know there’s likely a lot on your plate right now, and higher education marketers are looking for proven strategies to help them drive applications and ultimately reach their enrollment goals. Chair 10 Marketing is here to help you. Feel free to schedule a free consultation and we can craft a strategy to meet your needs.