What to think about when creating a digital marketing strategy for your college or university?


Although they are different industries from others, colleges and universities still have to follw the same rules when it comes to online marketing and and gaining ‘customers’ then same way private commerce businesses do. There are so many things to include for an effective digital marketing strategy, but we will just focus on these 5:

  1. Building a strong brand
  2. Work on SEO
  3. Be active on social media
  4. Create an email marketing campaign
  5. Create valuable content

1. Build a strong brand

Establishing a strong brand is a vital part of the process for any college or university, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to make sure that students, alumni, donors and other stakeholders know who you are and what makes your institution different.

Two young brand managers sitting together at office desk discussing some problems looking at laptop screen

Branding has so many benefits: it allows prospective students to recognize your name when they’re looking at schools online or in their local newspaper; it helps recruiters target candidates with similar interests; it gives donors an idea of how their contributions are being used on campus; it helps build loyalty among current students who feel connected to the school because they like its image.

The main point is that branding creates an identity for your school—it defines what sets you apart from other institutions in your category (public vs private; liberal arts vs engineering) while also conveying some sense of personality and culture that reflects what makes us unique as individuals too!

Keep these tips in mind when defining your brand image:

  • Using consistent branding across different mediums establishes what your brand is all about. 
  • That said, if there’s a clear divide between a billboard advertisement and a Facebook advertisement’s voice, it creates confusion. It’s as if your college comes off with a split personality. 
  • It’s difficult to market your school in multiple voices, and defining it helps attract the exact type of students you want.

2. Work on search engine optimization

Search engine optimization is the process of getting your website to rank higher on search engines. This can be done through a variety of methods, including creating content that people want to read and making sure your website is easy to navigate.

This strategy takes time and dedication. It’s important to realize that SEO is a long-term strategy: You won’t see results overnight!

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) text wooden cube blocks on table background. Idea, Vision, Strategy, Analysis, Keyword and Content concept

3. Be active on social media

Social media is an important part of any digital marketing strategy for colleges and universities. The platforms that you choose to use depend on your personal preferences, the type of institution you represent, and the demographics of your audience. Regardless of which platforms you choose to focus on, it’s important to be active across all of them.

Young Woman Lying On Sofa At Home Looking At Mobile Phone Messages And Social Media

From a public relations standpoint, social media allows you to share information about campus events (like open houses or new programs) with prospective students. This can help drive up attendance at these events as well as increase awareness among potential students about what life at your institution might look like. You can also use social media to engage with alumni who want updates on what’s happening at their alma mater — they’re a great source of referrals when it comes time for current students or recent graduates to make their decision about where to attend school next! Additionally, faculty members may find value in having access channels where they can connect with each other and share ideas related from both inside and outside their own departments — this could lead towards greater collaboration between different disciplines within an organization.”

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • The most popular social media platform varies by generation and knowing where to place your marketing is key. At the moment in 2022, it seems to be TikTok, since overtaking YouTube as the most visited site in the world.
  • What was popular ten years ago no longer has the same user traffic. Make sure your research is updated.
  • Once you determine the best social platform, gather a following of your current, prospective, and alumni students. These people will aid in finding how your school may already appear on social media.

4. Create an email marketing campaign

Email marketing is a great way to reach students, especially when you’re trying to build loyalty and engagement around your institution. It’s also the most effective channel for B2B marketers.

Email notification concept, woman working with a computer laptop, one new inbox e mail message on the screen, business office desk background
  • Make sure your emails are relevant. This means that they must be timely and contain helpful content that readers will find useful in their academic or professional life.
  • Make sure your emails are personalized. Every email needs a personal touch that makes it feel like the sender cares about them as individuals and not just as numbers on an analytics report.* Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly.* Mobile users have very little patience for slow loading times or hard-to-click links, so make sure your emails look good on small screens too!

5. Create valuable content

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. And, if you want to attract visitors, it’s important that you create high-quality content that engages your target audience and helps them solve problems. Here are the key elements of good content:

  • Unique and valuable
  • Engaging
  • Easily digestible
  • Easily shareable (on social media)
  • Easily searchable
Content creator using modern software for video post production in home office during night hours.


6. Focus on the students

Students are the life of your university. Without them, there wouldn’t be a school. It’s important to remember the importance of them and show appreciation for your population. A marketing strategy focused solely on them is one that targets both current and prospective students.

Take note of these tips when focusing your marketing strategy:

  • Incoming students are the toughest to target since all universities compete for their attention. However, it still helps to let these potential freshmen know what’s in store.
  • People attend higher education to better themselves, but they also want to feel welcomed. 
  • A strategy surrounding how hospitable and engaging a school is to its population provides insight to prospective undergraduates. It also reminds current students the professors and staff are there for them. It helps with engagement and participation on campus. 
  • Promoting events or assistance for them on some multiple channels and platforms is one way to remind them the university cares about them.


Using these digital marketing strategies will make sure that your college or university is attracting new students, retaining the old ones, and helping current students find their dream job.

There are many ways to use digital marketing to attract new students, retain current ones and help them find jobs after graduation. By following the strategies below, you can ensure that your college or university is maximizing its resources and helping students make the most out of their time on campus.

  • Create a strong brand with consistent messaging. Your school’s brand should be recognizable across all platforms—even when someone sees it in person or hears it on the radio—so that parents and prospective students know exactly what they’re getting into before enrolling at your institution. Your digital marketing strategy will help in this area by keeping all of your materials in line so that everything from brochures to social media posts conveys the same information about what makes your school unique and stand out from competitors’ offerings (and even among similar institutions).
  • Use SEO tactics that lead searchers directly to pages where they can get more information about programs offered by potential schools/colleges/universities as well as those options available within their geographic area(s). This will allow people searching for something specific—like “how do I become an accountant?” or “what credentials do I need before starting graduate school?”—to quickly find relevant information without having too much distraction while doing so (e.,g., advertisements). In addition, remember: keywords matter! Using words like “accounting degrees online courses guidebooks textbooks textbooks books ebooks e-books articles leaflets pamphlets booklets guides articles essays papers essays papers