With the rapid growth of the industry, you might see growth in a number of competitors as well. The internet is full of online courses and the overall noise in the market has increased exponentially. But, don’t worry, you can always overcome such challenges with good marketing efforts.
If you want to up your enrollment numbers, you need to look at what your online marketing approach looks like.
With a proper strategy in place, you can definitely cut through the noise and make your business stand out.
Even if you run an institution like a school instead of selling online courses, you need to seriously look at your online marketing. As the world goes online, marketing methods have evolved and transferred online as well.
In this article, we cover 15 practical and proven strategies to increase enrollment in your program.
1. Know Your Students
The efficiency of your marketing strategy depends on how clear your message is to the audience. To improve your message you need to find your ideal students. The better you understand your audience, the more effective your marketing will be.
You can do that by conducting surveys, polls, and by asking questions. Then, based on the survey, build a student persona.
A student persona is a fictional representation of your ideal student who is more likely to sign up and succeed. It is how an ideal student of yours behaves online.
Here’s how a good student persona helps:
- You know exactly where to find your audience and the places they spend the most time, both online and offline.
- You can use age and location data to pinpoint digital campaigns to a certain demographic and a specific geographic location.
- You can use keywords and interests to find the students that are more interested in the program(s) you are promoting.
- When you understand your students well, you also understand their pain points, their current qualifications, their career, and personal goals. All this data helps you create powerful marketing communication that resonates with your audience.
2. Understanding Local and Global Competition and Trends
Do you feel worried when more competitors emerge in a market? After all, for under $100 a month anyone can create a course website of their own with their preferred online course platform.
While the feeling is natural, it’s actually a good thing. The emergence of competitors just means that the market has a high demand. All you need to do is to stay ahead of the competition in your marketing.
But how to cut through the competition?
Well, you need to understand how your competitors operate. How they are generating leads and what is their sales structure. Understanding the marketing and sales process of your competitors allows you to modify and improve your own strategies.
Combined with the right audience research, and competitor research, you can create powerful marketing campaigns that stand out from the noise in the market.
3. Showcase Student Testimonials and Success Stories
None of your marketing messages will be as effective as testimonials from your own students. Student case studies, awards, and recognitions help your audience build trust in your brand.
When you publish what an existing student has achieved after going through your program, it gives an insight to others about how efficient your program is. Student case studies also build curiosity and trust in the minds of your prospects regarding your course or training.
Remember, the best asset you can build is trust!
Also, customer testimonials are one of the best forms of content marketing. You can ask for video reviews from your students regarding the programs and publish them on different channels where your audience spends their time online.
4. Use Videos… A Lot
Talking about videos, if you’re not using videos in your content marketing strategies then you’re missing out. People respond more to video, in fact, people tend to consume more video content than text-based content.
You can have your own YouTube channel showcasing the features and benefits of your institutions. Deliver some valuable knowledge videos for free that your audience can consume. These videos help nurture your leads and make their decision easier.
Another benefit of using videos is that you can repurpose them into different forms.
You can embed videos in your blogs, turn relevant videos into podcasts or even turn videos into educational articles and newsletters.
5. Highlight Teacher Portfolios and Their Expertise
Make teachers the “stars” of your marketing campaigns. Teachers help build strong personal brands.
Most of the time, students enroll to learn from a specific teacher because of the personal brand of the teacher. This will help your prospects connect easily.
This method is highly effective when parents are the decision-makers. Parents would love to have a great teacher for their children and anyone studying online will engage better with a good teacher.
You can take short clips from a teacher’s class and promote them to your target audience.
You can also showcase their awards, recognition, and teaching experience in your website pages and your marketing campaigns.
Promoting the quality of your teachers helps build trust among parents and students alike.
6. Optimize Your Website to Generate Leads
Every business needs more leads and more sales. Your website can be a powerful tool to generate qualified leads apart from showcasing your infrastructure online.
You can use a well-optimized education WordPress theme to improve the design of your website.
Add popups to certain pages of your website that ask interested visitors to sign up for course announcements and enrollments. You can also use attractive Call to Action (CTA) buttons at strategic places that let people sign up for enrollment forms for your courses.
Add social sharing buttons at relevant locations on your website to increase social sharing and gain visibility.
Build landing pages dedicated to different courses with a good copy and drive paid traffic to them to increase conversions.
7. Overcome Scepticism With Value
With so many courses out there, most students and most parents have become sceptical about purchasing new programs. It is natural to be skeptical. When every other guy online is trying to sell training or courses, how do you stand out?
The only answer is by providing tremendous value.
Deliver high-quality content on your social media websites and create lead magnets that solve the immediate problems of your students. You can further nurture them on your emails and invite them to webinars that are dedicated to teaching them specific knowledge.
This simple yet effective method can separate you from the competition.
8. Use Social Media to Promote
It is hardly surprising that social media is a big game-changer. With more than a billion users, Facebook is already a giant. We have others like Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, TikTok, and many more.
Guess who spends a lot of their time on social media?
The young generation, which likely includes your target audience.
Social media opens up a unique opportunity to help with inbound marketing. It means you do not always need to run ads to get your customers.
Rather, create useful content and post them on social media. This attracts students that are interested in your channels and nurtures them more and more.
Here are some tips to boost your social media reach and improve enrollments:
- Study social media: Every social network is different. First, you need to study the ones where most of your audience hangs out. Start with two to three social platforms. You really do not need a lot and you can always add more later.
- Create relevant content: The content that works on Instagram may not work on LinkedIn or Twitter. Although you can repurpose the content, you need to deliver the content in the format that the users in that media regularly consume.
- User testimonials: You can showcase your student testimonials on social media. You can even run social ads on these testimonials to increase the reach of your channels.
- Use short video clips: You can split longer lectures into bite sized content pieces. You can then publish them on social media.
People love these smaller condensed videos but it also leaves them curious to learn more. With more such content, you can better reach your audience.
- Run social media ads: Drive social media users to your landing pages to encourage conversion. With the right message, you can increase the number of applications and also increase enrollments.
9. Improve Visibility Through SEO
Your most qualified audience will come searching for the program or the course. When we say qualified, we mean these people are really in need of your course and are on the hunt.
They search in Google, check videos on YouTube, and everywhere they can think of.
Imagine being able to be at the top results of the search engine results page (SERP). All you need to do is optimize your website for these searches by adding keywords in relevant places.
These searches are determined by the words your audience types into search engines. Targeting the right words at the right time is key to successful SEO.
For example, someone searching for “best data science programs in Texas” would be an interested candidate for your data science course. Another search term “X university data science program reviews” would imply that the searcher is already considering a specific university.
You can use different keyword research tools to find out keywords that your prospective students are searching related to your program.
10. Script Your School Tour
If you have an offline institution, your school tour is the best sales pitch you can have.
The better your school tour is, the higher the chance to increase enrollment. People who are on a school tour are the ones most interested in your program and are highly likely to enroll. The tour could be the element that clinches the deal.
When you provide a great school tour experience, you make their decisions easier and faster.
It also enables the prospective students and their parents to get a glimpse of the infrastructure of the program.
Here are some points that you can take into consideration while planning the school tour:
- Look at the information shared during the school tour. The information should resonate with what your prospects are looking for in the school.
- Your infrastructure and your message should differentiate your school from your competitors.
- The person conducting the school tour should have good presentation skills and should be able to communicate effectively with the audience and parents.
- While writing the script make sure that the tour covers all the important aspects of your school. It should also address concerns that the audience has about the school.
11. Use SMS Marketing
Just because the world is on the internet, does not mean offline marketing methods have lost their impact.
SMS brings the best of both worlds. Your prospects don’t have to use their internet connection to receive messages and SMS has an incredibly high open rate of 98%.
Although limited by the number of characters, SMS is a great way to notify your prospect about your programs. It helps in nurturing your audience further.
A personalized well-timed text message to your prospects can motivate them to take action or take the next step.
12. Reduce Response Time
As technology becomes faster, people want instant answers to their questions and queries. When you provide them with a fast response, you win the game. Because these little things bring the most incredible results.
You can automate pretty much any kind of response. Have a chatbot do it for you. Or, you can even add live chat features to your website where your support team can respond quickly to any student queries.
Live chat also helps generate leads, and build a connection with your audience faster.
Use automated email and SMS sequences to keep your audience engaged and nurture them further.
13. Ask Students for a Review
When was the last time you purchased something online without looking at the ratings and reviews?
Similar to student testimonials, ratings and reviews are a major trust booster. Some of these platforms include Google Reviews, Trustpilot, or Institution specific portals like Niche.com or even your Facebook Page.
Additionally, these reviews contribute to SEO. The more positive reviews you have, the better you rank on search engines.
Good reviews bring long-term and sustainable results. This becomes like a digital word of mouth. Every good review that you get, contributes to increasing the number of enrollments.
14. Conduct Student Satisfaction Surveys
Student reviews and net promoter scores (NPS) are a good way to get honest feedback about your institution or program.
The NPS score is basically the measure of the likelihood that a current student would recommend the program to a friend or colleague.
These surveys help you understand the room for improvement in your education and infrastructure. Pay attention to all actionable feedback. This will help you better craft your marketing messages to help yield increased enrollment.
15. Have an Efficient Sales Team in Place
Every business needs leads and every business needs sales. Your education and training are no different. But it’s not like you just build a product and market it hard and it will sell itself.
There is too much information out there and your students and their parents need a little convincing before they invest their time and money into your program.
This is where a sales team comes in. Sales are the lifeblood of any business and an efficient sales team can actually make or break a company.
With the right message, your sales team can close students for you on webinars or in case of a high-priced course, in one-to-one calls. With the right training, your sales team becomes the biggest revenue-generating asset for your business.
Increase Student Enrollments This Season
The digital world presents a unique opportunity to connect and communicate with your students. Most students are online, so it’s time that your institution goes online too.
No matter what the medium, the number of enrollments you make depends on how strongly your message resonated with your prospective students.
You can leverage your social profile, and your website to publish relevant content for your audience and build trust.
Use organic reach, SEO, and paid ads to amplify your message and showcase student testimonials and case studies.
With enough trust built and a well-structured nurturing sequence, you will increase your student enrollments in no time!