Simply put, the world has changed. Looking back to the beginning of 2020, we were in a state of naive innocence. We were completely unaware of what was around the corner: a global pandemic that would affect the United States and the rest of the globe for several years. Now, we’re living in a completely different world, almost like a dystopian novel where everyone needs vaccinations and it’s dangerous to leave home without a mask.
As a result of the pandemic, many industries and niches have been forced through a period of evolution. As well as businesses, this includes colleges, schools, and other educational institutions. In 2020, fewer people enrolled in a college, and around three-quarters of college students changed their plans after the outbreak of COVID-19.
Educational institutions, therefore, cannot rely on the marketing techniques that have been reliable for so long. For those that didn’t need to advertise before, it has now become essential. Competition for students is strong and a significant percentage of the population demands some form of online service. With that said, we believe that video marketing is one of the best ways to communicate your message in 2021.
First and foremost, don’t fall victim to the rumors that video marketing is expensive. These days, most people have a mobile phone in their pocket capable of recording a high-quality video. That’s right - the iPhone or Android device you can’t leave home without is your ticket to an effective marketing campaign.
Not only is the recording part easy, but you also shouldn’t have problems distributing the content. Social media is free, and you can send videos to the world in seconds with this solution. To create and share a high-quality video, you’ll get away with just the following:
Another reason to choose video marketing is the research that points to videos producing clicks and conversions. If you add a video to an email, you could experience two to three times as many clicks. What’s more, videos on landing pages generate an 80% increase in conversions. Plus, more people recall watching a video ad compared to a text-based ad.
When scrolling through social media and other platforms, people stop and pay attention to videos. The more engaging the video, the more likely it is to generate interest.
Also, keep in mind that everybody - and, by everybody, we mean the majority of your target market - watches videos these days. According to research from Wyzowl, the average person watches 16 hours of online content every single week. Not only this, but between eight and nine in every ten have admitted to buying a product after watching a video from the brand.
If you need another reason to choose videos, more people between 18 and 49 years of age watch YouTube than cable TV networks. At first, video marketing started as a nice addition to a marketing campaign. Now, it’s an integral part of any strategy.
Finally, you should invest in video marketing because we can guarantee that most competitors are doing the same. If you don’t enter the market with your own strategy, all those people watching videos online will consume the content of other educational institutions. You’ll find it harder to convince prospective students to choose you. These days, nearly nine in every ten universities and colleges post videos to YouTube.
There’s no doubt about it, the global pandemic has changed the entire education industry. Campuses have been forced to shut down and educational institutions with long and deep histories now need an online offering to appease students of all ages.
The first trend for education video marketing is a need for virtual content. Prospects and their families don’t want to travel around the country to visit campuses because of COVID-19 risks. Therefore, they want to learn more about your college through virtual tours, 360-degree campus videos, interactive videos, testimonials, social media, and live streams. Can you answer common questions for prospective students with a Q&A video?
The second trend is that more schools are offering deeper online services than ever before. In turn, this means that educational institutions are reaching beyond the normal boundaries to make up for the dwindling enrolment numbers. With more courses being held remotely, colleges and universities especially are advertising courses to people all over the world.
As a result of these two trends, it’s important to consider all marketing efforts and how you’ll succeed in 2021. With heavy competition for some keywords, you’ll need to find the balance between traffic and competition (particularly with long-tail keywords). Also, focus on what students gain from choosing your facility rather than simply talking about everything you offer.
When focusing on online learners, recognize that people still choose a local facility more often than not. In fact, one statistic suggests that 77 in every 100 online college students still choose a local college (within 100 miles). Don’t just start advertising nationwide (and even worldwide) because your local market still has tremendous value.
You now know the importance of videos and the trends the education industry faces, but don’t just pick up a cell phone and start recording without thought. Before doing anything, sit down with the team and think about how you’ll boost brand awareness and project a positive brand image across the internet. Think about the different audiences, channels, and goals.
Too often, colleges produce videos without thinking. In this competitive environment, we believe that videos need three things to succeed. They need to be highly produced (and high quality), personalized, and user-generated. This isn’t to say that every video should be all three - every video should be high quality and then you’ll need to consider the next two.
With user-generated content, prospective students hear the story you want them to hear but not from the college itself. Instead, it’s current and past students telling the story. In other words, people who have been in the viewer’s position. They’ll know what to say, how to encourage prospective students, and what people in this situation want to hear.
Some educational institutions hear about video marketing and panic - they don’t have a degree in video production, nor do they have experience in standing in front of a camera. Fortunately, you’ve got the wrong idea of video marketing because prospective students don’t just want to see your face video after video (sorry!). Instead, you’ll need to be creative with videos in 2021. Here are some ideas!
This is something we’ve mentioned throughout this guide, but a virtual tour is more important than ever before. In the past, a virtual campus tour was an optional extra and a nice feature for those who wanted to show extended family. After COVID-19, it’s a necessity. Some nations are restricted with travel and some people in the United States simply don’t feel comfortable traveling to visit a university. With this in mind, you need to accommodate them with a virtual tour.
If you don’t offer a virtual tour, know that all other institutions are offering this video and you’ll be left behind. Implement this feature early in the funnel - ask for an email address and some basic details for a virtual tour. This way, they get the video, and you get future contact opportunities.
With your audience in mind, produce ads for social media because this is where your target market gathers more than anywhere else. Thanks to the advanced targeting options these days, it’s possible to reach people by age, interests, hobbies, location, and more. Therefore, you ensure that the right people see your ads at all times.
While businesses are left guessing their audience, educational institutions are lucky in that the audience is relatively similar from one year to the next. There’s no guesswork because you know the age of people applying to your school or college. With this, it’s time to reach out with personalized content such as explainer videos (explaining the application process, for example), personalized tours, acceptance videos, tutor introductions, financial assistance explainers, etc.
Personalized content also includes video testimonials and user-generated content since these resonate with prospective students better than most other content ideas.
You might think that shoppable content on social media is designed for clothing companies and businesses trying to sell products…but you’re wrong. Instead, you can use these posts to lead people towards a prospectus, an application form, or your website. Upload a video of a specific faculty or a video testimonial and let the click take people towards your prospectus for more information.
Video marketing is critical for the education industry this year, and now you’re in a position to succeed with this strategy. Good luck!