Like any other business, higher education institutes need to go online these days, if they want to get more students or improve college admission numbers. After all, high school students who are planning to get into a good college take the online route mostly, to check out websites, make comparisons, or even apply for a course. And the current pandemic has made it essential for them to stay home, stay safe, and use their laptops or mobile phones to research different colleges and universities. And this is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on.
So, take a look at these online marketing tips to get more students:
- Know who you are targeting – If you intend to target “all” prospective students, your marketing campaign might fail. Because, not everyone will be a perfect fit for your college. So, identify your ideal target audience and research about what social media channels they use, if they are active on emails, and their online behavior. Then you can craft personalized campaigns about the programs they might like or the facilities (campus location or setting, dorm rooms, cafeteria, gym, library) that will attract them.
- Sell your uniqueness – Why should a potential student choose your college over others? There must be something unique about you. So, one of the online college marketing tips is to highlight that USP. So, your online marketing strategy should focus on your strengths and chief attractions. It might be a location that is easily accessible, or beautiful campus grounds, a massive and well-stocked library, impressive faculty or a canteen that serves a wide array of cuisines.
- Make the website awesome – Ifyou want prospective students or their parents to visit your website more and linger on, make sure it is extremely responsive, fast to load and easy to navigate across all devices. It should look professional yet engaging. Add crisp and well-shot images to increase interest of site visitors and also embed college virtual tours for an immersive and interactive experience. Such 360 degree tours give a clear idea of what your college is like and tell the student how he or she will fit in.
Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game
- Optimize site for search engines – Your SEO strategy should be smart and updated, so that you get more organic traffic to your website. For this, you need to use relevant keywords in your web content based on the phrases potential candidates use to search for a college like yours. Even your social media pages and blogs should be optimized for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Experiment with content formats and marketing channels – Apart from your website,use yourFacebook page to build a community of students and parents, where you can share events, upload informative videos, and create polls or fun quizzes. This will help you communicate better with your target audience, understand their pain points, solve their worries and gradually nudge them towards conversion.
- Also try and maintain a blog where you post informative pieces regularly and share them on social media channels.
- LinkedIn is a great platform for colleges too and can showcase your formal side effectively. You can also ask ex-students to join your LinkedIn group and share their experiences. This can reel in new students.
- You can also use YouTube to post videos. Or, share the virtual tour on your website on social channels, to get more clicks.
- Email newsletters every week if possible, to boost brand awareness and engage students.
No matter what type of content you share or which online marketing channel you choose, make sure to include a powerful call to action or CTA at the end, like “Find out more”, “Ask questions” or “Apply now”, so that the student knows exactly what to do. This will get you more applications.
Apart from the points mentioned above, make sure your brand voice and tone is consistent across all marketing channels, so that students can easily associate your campaigns (posts, tweets or ads) with you. And if you need the best visuals to boost your online presence, say with college campus virtual tours, send an email to email@example.com.
Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses
Thanks to the intense competition online businesses face these days (with every small and big brand vying for customer attention), it isn’t surprising that many of them are using virtual tours to gain a competitive edge. And it’s not just hotels, gyms and spas that are using these 360 degree tours to attract and engage potential customers. Higher education institutes like colleges and universities have also adopted these tours to bring in more applications and make the students’ online experience better. Moreover, the COVID outbreak made it essential for colleges to replace in-person campus visits with virtual tours for introduction and orientation. In fact, close to 1.4 million people watched campus virtual tours on YouVisit from March to April this year.
However, with so many virtual
tours for education out there, you need to follow these best practices, to
stand out and convince students to choose you over others:
- Tell a story – Did you know that the average age of those who take virtual tours of colleges is 16.6? This means, they are at that juncture of life when they have plenty of dreams as well as questions, and they are keen to know if your college will take care of them and nurture their ambitions. So, your virtual tour should clearly tell them why you are unique as an institution and better than others. It might be your awesome location, beautiful campus, great recreational facilities, vast library or the exclusive courses you offer. Here is how the Art Institute of Vancouver nailed it.
- Focus on the basics – No matter how wonderful your college virtual tour is, it won’t engage with students unless it is easy to find and navigate. So, have it on the Home page of your website or on the Admissions page. The tour should load quickly but look compelling too. Share the tour on social media pages as students are more likely to come across it there, given their age. Also, the tour should be easy to explore across all devices. Check out how University of Windsor is making it happen.
Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game
- Ensure an immersive experience – This basically means that students should be able to imagine themselves on your campus, in various settings, whether they are doing their own thing or interacting with others. In other words, your college virtual tour shouldn’t just be a walk through the different campus areas or facilities. Like, instead of just showing what the cafeteria or classrooms look like, cover the types of foods served or students attending a live teaching session. Highlight students having fun in the dormitories or counselors offering career guidance. This will show candidates that your institution is a living, breathing affair and can actually cater to their needs.
- Use Call to Action or CTA for better engagement – University virtual tours need to incorporate powerful and specific call to actions to convert the viewer into an applicant. For example, if your tour zeroes in on the admission office at the end, include a button for application here to nudge the prospective candidate to apply online. Or, if your state and city regulations permit, you can add a link to schedule an in-person visit later on. CTAs can also encourage a student to ask more questions or connect on social media.
To wrap up, virtual tours have become absolutely necessary for higher education institutes to reel in candidates, impress them, and establish a meaningful connection. After all, this year, high school students are checking out such tours at a 228% higher rate than in 2019. So, if you feel that you need some expert guidance to put together a unique virtual tour, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Must Read – Get Your College the Attention It deserves with a Custom Virtual Tour
As an online business, you must be aware how cut-throat the competition is, when it comes to ranking high on the Google search results page or getting more website traffic, especially in the light of the pandemic. So, to stand out from others and boost you digital presence, a 3D virtual tour is one of your best and most innovative bets. After all, visual content sticks to the viewer’s brain way more than plain text. In fact, websites that feature 360 degree photos witness a 27% higher conversion rate than those with the usual 2D images. So, you might well imagine how effective an interactive and realistic virtual tour can be!
Now, find out how Google virtual tours can improve your business’s online presence in multiple ways:
- More customer engagement – A high-quality 3D virtual tour can encourage your site visitors to interact more with your content and spend more time on it, thereby reducing the bounce rate. Your potential customers can get a better feel of what you offer, whether you are a café, spa, gym, hotel, college or even golf course, and trust you more. They will also consider you to be a progressive business that keeps up with the times to reach out to its target audience. And it can translate to higher customer satisfaction.
Read – Find Out Why Your Business Needs 3D Mapping for That Competitive Edge
- SEO boost and better Google ranking – Better customer engagement with a 360 degree virtual tour basically means that Google will reward your site by ranking it higher than others. That is because it will consider it more valuable, informative and relevant for searchers. The click-through rate will increase as potential customers will be curious about what your tour covers. Even if you have already optimized your textual content for the search engines by including the right keywords, a virtual tour will boost your SEO strategy by keeping site visitors hooked for long.
- Local search optimization – By adding a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing, you will show up more when someone in the locality searches for a business like you near him. And that is because Google will consider your listing to be more trustworthy as you are offering visual proof of your establishment and have nothing to hide.
- Easy to share or embed – It is pretty easy to embed a business 3D virtual tour on a website or social media page. And it can be shared quickly as well. This means, you will be able to reach a wider audience base than you previously could, or more site visitors. Hence, such tours are ideal for boosting brand awareness, promoting the features or benefits of your business or products, and getting conversions in the long run.
Read – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses
- Sensible move during the pandemic – The COVID pandemic has made it quite impossible for most
people to visit restaurants, resorts, gyms, educational institutions or
adventure parks in person. However, with a 3D virtual tour, you can help them
make plans for when things go back to normal. They can explore your offerings
from the comfort and safety of their homes and make an informed decision. This
is also a good way to show them that you care about their pain points and are
embracing new things to make life easy.
- Competitive edge – If your competitors are still using the same old 2D images on their
websites to reel in traffic, this is the time to make the most of virtual
tours. You will be offering an exciting and unique experience to your target
audience this way, and can grab and hold their attention, generate more leads,
and convince them to make a booking or buy something.
All in all, a 3D virtual tour for business can boost your global Google presence forever, despite being a one-time investment. No matter where your potential customers are located, they will be able to view your tour, visit your website and convert. So, are you ready to give your business new life with a virtual tour? Simply email to email@example.com and get expert help.
Read Also – Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?