During COVID-19, education marketing can be a challenge for colleges and universities that need to encourage enrollment in their programs without appearing insensitive. For higher education institutions that need to accurately relay shifting COVID-19 strategies, while still also reassuring parents and students that academics and student life are a priority, deploying positive, inclusive and informative enrollment marketing campaigns may be the best approach.
Higher education marketing campaigns during the pandemic should focus on:
- Answering questions parents and students may have about new processes and procedures due to the impact of COVID-19.
- The relative normalcy of academic and student life.
- School strengths, including what makes school culture and programs unique.
- Career applications and support.
Several universities have successfully launched marketing campaigns that encompass pandemic-appropriate strategies, including West Virginia University Online, Fordham University and University of Southern California.
WVU Online Marketing Campaign Emphasizes The Positives Of Being Ready For The Return To Normal
During normal years, West Virginia University (WVU) Online’s marketing strategies include emphasizing how prepared students will be for in-demand careers as soon they graduate. During COVID-19, WVU Online has pivoted their messaging while still maintaining the same positive tone and forward-thinking attitude. “When Everyone Goes Back: Mountaineers Go First” is the tagline on the landing page dedicated to offering encouragement during COVID-19, reassuring students that when everything is back to normal Mountaineers will be prepared. The pandemic itself is never overtly mentioned; instead WVU Online promises students that there are “better days ahead” and directs them to the online programs offered at WVU Online.
Fordham University’s ‘Ram Pledge’ Asks Students To Be A Part Of The Solution
Fordham University had to carefully align their reopening with the health and safety protocols of the New York City area, which was hard hit by COVID-19 in the earliest months of the pandemic. The “Fordham Forward” marketing strategy includes a robust landing page full of information for parents and students, ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on academics and housing to the ins and outs of keeping students physically healthy. The “Fordham Forward” campaign includes the Ram Pledge, which asks students to commit to the school’s COVID-19 guidelines and understand their collective responsibility to their fellow students. “Fordham Forward” uses the tagline “Each of Us Caring For The Whole Of Us” which has been deployed across Fordham’s Instagram account with original graphics.
USC Focuses On Virtual Opportunities And The Importance Of Mental Health Wellness
University of Southern California (USC), which has moved primarily online for the fall, is promoting an initiative, “Mindful USC,” to help students that may be struggling mentally or emotionally or who just need a moment of calm in the chaos. The Mindful USC Zoom meditation classes are available via app and are being touted along with a number of other campus initiatives, now available virtually, as part of the “We Are USC: A Semester Like No Other” marketing strategy. Many of the virtual events are focused on building online communities, offering students support and staying positive.
Higher Education Marketers Can Help Students And Parents Feel Confident Now And In The Future
Connecting with prospective students and their parents in a relevant way during COVID-19 is essential, and that engagement will be helpful when schools get back to normal. By offering reassurance that students will be ready for the workforce and reinforcing that students are the priority, even during difficult times, colleges and universities are more likely to gain the trust of students and parents moving forward. Staying agile during the pandemic is also essential for education marketers. As plans and policies constantly shift, parents and stakeholders will want positive, informed, up-to-date messaging that matches their expectations of the schools’ readiness and offers confidence for the future.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Cavill