In an age of stunning displays, high speed internet, and lightning fast processing capabilities, the digital world has been able to connect audiences to what they seek, at a speed that conventional mediums could never hope to.
A random post on Facebook has the propensity to travel further than a brilliantly thought out billboard campaign and this realization is what marketers are quickly waking up to.
Although we haven’t reached the point where digital marketing has eclipsed traditional marketing entirely, the Indian context offers a promising premise; especially if we take the example of the education industry.
But why is digital marketing becoming so important in the education industry?
It is what your target audience knows
While older generations are slowly getting accustomed to the idea of digital marketing, the younger generation has grown up knowing only of digital channels for getting information. With the education sector’s primary advertising audience being the youth, digital marketing is steadily growing in its importance, only accentuated by its success and increasing adoption among educational institutes.
Keeps you in front of your audience 24×7
Studies show that 93% of students in India have access to the internet and the average time they spend on the internet ranges from 3.4 to 4 hours (laptops and mobiles respectively). Interestingly, 83% of students use the internet while commuting, and while marketers try hard at getting billboards, television advertisements, and newspaper inserts to reach their target audience, it is highly likely they are accessing the internet trying to find information about a course or college.
While traditional marketing channels aren’t completely shut off from younger audiences, marketers have an infinitesimal window of opportunity to connect to their audiences using television, radio, and print mediums. On the other hand, digital platforms provide much easier access to the Indian youth that doesn’t go online but practically lives online, making them more important and relevant to the education industry’s context.
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It informs instead of selling
Most traditional marketing campaigns either sound like sales pitches or take an elaborate setup to sound informative. The youth has neither the tolerance for advertising garble nor the attention span for an infomercial. What they want is information in the form of relevant and engaging content that gives them a basis for decision making.
According to research, 91% students in India use the internet to research courses / educational institutes in India as well as abroad. 4 among 5 Indian students consider the internet as their main source of college / course related information while 3 among 4 students feel the internet is a complete source of information for their searches regarding colleges.
Using digital marketing platforms, marketers can combine engaging content and technology to ensure the right kind of information is provided to the right audience at the right periodicity, helping them in making the best choice. For example: A digital marketing campaign based on engaging content on social media platforms (blogs, tips, right practices, and videos), would integrate with search engine advertising to get users who queried your search terms to your content. Those who clicked on your links and became leads can then be reached out to, while the ones that dropped off can be re-targeted using mobile display and behavioral re-targeted advertising. Such a campaign not only delivers the right message and engages the audience; it gives educational institutes a much larger funnel and far more enrollments than a traditional marketing strategy.
Provides limitless opportunities to engage your audience
With digital marketing, the possibilities are practically endless. Imagine a situation where a marketer created a video on ‘tips to select the best MBA college’ targeted at graduate students seeking admission to MBA courses. This video can be hosted on YouTube – a platform where over 85 million users consume video content each month, as well as be shared on social media such as Facebook, where students spend an average of 2.4 hours each day. Not only this, display and banner advertisements can be used along with the video as well along with behavioral re-targeting that can help engage the students who already viewed the video or the advertisement. Search engine advertisements linked to the video can also be leveraged considering that over 80% students use Google to begin their course / college search.
This is just a small example, but the possibilities of reaching out to your audience are almost endless with digital marketing as opposed to traditional campaigns, making digital marketing more important and relevant in the education sector’s context.
Far more cost effective
The amount of planning and logistics that go into structuring a traditional marketing campaign are far greater than that required to make a digital campaign go viral. Compared to the exorbitant prices a print campaign entails, an e-mail campaign or a series of posts on social media handles barely cost a fraction. And making a comparison between video advertising on YouTube and a television advertisement is simply blasphemous.
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