It’s no secret, the world as we know it is changing at a rapid pace. This impact affects whole sectors especially that of higher education. The challenge is ongoing, but despite everything, learning institutions need to focus on a new way to make education work during and after COVID-19.
How is COVID-19 (coronavirus) affecting higher education systems?
Social distancing has become a way of life and this means that students can no longer go to college and universities without being at risk.
The Institute of International Higher Education compiled statistics that show over 80% of higher education institutions in the United States changed their mode of instruction in 2020.
Only 5% of institutions refrained from classes of any sort, and over 70% of higher education providers shifted to a virtual module of learning. In addition, 1% of institutions adapted an in-person mode and 25% resorted to “hybrid” learning which consists of in-person and online instruction.
Taking on new strategies in marketing higher learning education and recruiting prospective students
1. Create stronger online systems to communicate
Without the internet, remote learning is impossible. It’s necessary to improve the fluidity and user experience of the campus learning systems online.
It needs to be robust and user-friendly so that students can manage their work with minimal support.
2. Convert current modules into online resources
It is important to transform the modules of learning into resources online. This may require the need to recreate the content for students to access from hard copies into online sources.
There may be extra services required such as software development and programs to help transform traditional learning to online-based modules.
3. Create more robust and interactive virtual tours to your advantage
A virtual tour allows people to “see” and “experience” the campus without having to be there in person and creates an interactive experience. Additionally, realize that you will want to engage perspective students with topics of interest. They want to get an authentic feel for the culture, and you can do this by highlighting the fun aspects of the campus not just academics, clubs and buildings.
This will not only be a temporary strategy, but one that will form part of student recruitment for years to come. Another advantage is that it can benefit prospective exchange students as they can see the campus before making their move to the country.
4. Virtual orientation and current student progress
Digital communication with prospective students helps to build bridges during the lockdown period. Virtual orientations should be fun and exciting. Institutes can also share stories of how well the current students at the campus are doing through the transition to hybrid learning. It’s a good opportunity to express the successes of the campus as a whole.
5. Use social media to reach students
Young people “live” online and social media is part of their lifestyle. Incorporate social media into the marketing strategy and use it as another way to communicate with potential students.
The campus may ask current students to upload an Instagram story depicting their online education experience. These can be tagged into the campus’ Instagram feed and shared throughout social media channels. Prospective students will have something to relate to when seeing other students going through similar experiences.
Another excellent digital strategy via social media or digital marketing includes creating free courses available for students to access.
6. Choose digital marketing during this time
While traditional marketing has many great factors and instills a personal approach, digital marketing is one of the leading ways to communicate with an audience.
Using a digital marketing strategy allows you to reach potential students despite social distancing practices. Adding a Digital PR component is also effective at increasing accurate information and disbanding any misinformation about the current COVID crisis.
Invest more time into online accessible content which students and their parents can discover. Using digital advertising through social media and the campus website are great ways to send out information.
7. Invest in video content
Statistics have proven that people tend to take a more interest in video content. It gains a better response compared to written articles. Because concentration spans are so limited, summarizing the presentation in a video is a better choice.
Digital seminars and lectures are now possible and easily accessible. Lectures can be broken down into several shorter sessions instead of being an hour long. Proper captions will help students to find the next lecture or class.
Many platforms allow for video content including YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Young people would appreciate the video content via their favorite social media networks, and this will also help to reach a larger audience.
8. Improve safety features for online use
Since most classes will be completed online, improving security systems is of utter importance. The student’s information should be protected so that there is peace of mind when utilizing the platforms online.
At the same time, larger online storage should be available so that more modules are accessible online.
9. The campus needs to be on point with smart technology
There are lots of factors that influence the way students’ study during the current COVID-19 pandemic and that includes smart technologies.
To improve situations, campuses should implement contactless payment methods, use digital signage, progress tracking systems, smart reminders, and other innovative technologies that makes the campus stand out and be ready now and in the future.
10. Change the current strategies
“Futureproofing” education systems will increase the chances of successful careers. Other strategies that will help improve recruiting students through COVID-19 includes shifting the larger focus of outreach to digital marketing. Institutes can use email marketing through newsletters – making certain that all content posted is insightful. The students must understand why choosing this institute is a crucial part of their future.
Despite the challenges, together, we can pave the way for successful learning in all aspects of higher education.