Marketing in Higher Ed: How to Improve Your Grades

Marketing Automation


If you’re in higher ed, you’re probably under pressure to increase retention, graduation, and post-graduation employment rates – no small task, especially when you’re competing against other schools, fighting against social networks for attention, and dealing with squeezed budgets at every turn.

But higher ed organizations are now catching up with best-of-breed marketers in other industries — and not a moment too soon. As we discuss in our new ebook, Enrollment, Engagement, Donation: How Higher Education Can Improve its Grades with Marketing Automation, schools are now using marketing automation to attract and recruit new students, personally engage current students, and maintain the loyalty of alumni.

Grade Your Marketing

To successfully leverage inbound marketing in higher education, you need to do more than send messages to an inbox. Instead, you must ensure consistent, personalized messages on your website and landing pages; deliver all your information in a compelling, digestible manner to mobile devices; and make sure your brand’s being heard on social — these networks will only gain in both credibility and reach.

When it comes to inbound marketing, higher education institutes can power their efforts with marketing automation in five crucial ways. How would you grade your organization in these areas?

  1. Create and launch marketing campaigns without IT involvement. Can you develop and execute campaigns on your own?
  2. Listen for behaviors and respond with personalized information in real time. Can you track behavior on your website and social pages, helping you understand how a prospective student, alumni, or donor is interacting with your site?
  3. Develop a 360-degree view of each student, alumnus or donor. Can you score website visitors based on demographic and behavioral criteria, allowing your recruiters, admission, and alumni outreach to focus their limited resources on the most promising candidates?
  4. Engage across all stages of the student lifecycle. Are you able to initiate and develop relationships over time, sending relevant information to students before they are enrolled, throughout their student career, and beyond?
  5. Optimize marketing spend. Can you identify which channels and campaigns are driving the best ROI, making smart decisions about your budget, focusing your marketing investments on activities that drive results, and protecting your budget from cuts when times get lean?

If you aren’t earning A’s in all five areas, keep reading.

How Does Marketing Automation and Higher Education Work?

To give you an idea of how higher education marketers might use marketing automation to engage prospective students, we’ve mapped . Jane is a prospective college student who’s currently attending high school.  Here’s how a university system might use marketing automation to engage Jane:

Janes marketing automation experience


Janes marketing automation experience contEducation organizations like yours need to do more than send mass messages to students, alumni, and donors. Instead you need to deliver relevant, personalized communications across channels — including web, email, mobile and social — for a consistent and engaging experience that increases the likelihood of conversion. With marketing automation, you can manage the entire educational funnel and student lifecycle from pre-enrollment and beyond. The software provides the range of capabilities you need to engage today’s students, alumni and donors.

Want to dive deeper? Check out our ebook below!

Enrollment Engagement and Donations thumbnail