Cardinal’s Digital Marketing Blog

Innovative higher ed marketing strategies and ideas that accelerate growth.

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Marketing Higher Ed to Parents

Who is the biggest influence in a child’s life? Obviously, it’s mom and dad, even though other influences are present as well. In marketing higher education, we focus so much of our efforts on reaching out to prospective students with our messaging. But what about talking to their parents? Let’s examine this angle of higher ed marketing.

10 Inspiring Higher Ed Facebook Ad Campaigns

Nobody has to tell you that the higher ed marketing scene is competitive right now. Enrollment numbers are down, and schools are vying for prospective student’s attention. It’s most competitive on Facebook, where it seems every campus and its janitor closet is advertising there. Facebook is the number one market for building brand awareness through repeated exposure because so many of us burn so much time there. For the higher education market, it’s a place to nurture prospective students into potential leads and engage those who show interest.

10 Higher Education Marketing Strategies That Boost Enrollment

Declines in student enrollment at universities, colleges, and other tertiary institutions are putting pressure on higher education marketers to deliver growing enrollment numbers. To jump-start interest in their courses and degree programs, many academic institutions are focusing on restructuring and improving their digital marketing strategies.

How to Communicate Vaccine Requirements to Students

These are strange times, and they keep getting stranger. A gaggle of politicians is moving to prevent universities from requiring returning students to provide proof of vaccination. This comes in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed 3.2 million lives worldwide as of this writing. The numerous vaccines have begun distribution in stages, with those most at-risk receiving them first.

What Traditional Universities Can Learn From Online Schools

We all have to face one sobering fact: We should have seen this coming. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed bringing online schools to the foreground, that wave was a long time coming. EdSurge pegs the year at 2010 when the earliest Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) emerged. Internet-based educational options have ever since been growing to compete with traditional higher education institutions. COVID-19 just gave them a niche in history to propagate.

5 Ways to Bring Your Campus Stories To Life

So we all know that higher ed institutions are more competitive than ever before, and they have to market aggressively to keep those enrollment numbers up. At the bottom line, you want to win more students to your school. But digital media is saturated by competing interests, including more than a few other schools and non-traditional academic venues, all fighting for the student audience’s attention.

7 Marketing Strategies to Prevent Summer Melt and Keep Students Enrolled

We made it to the spring of 2021, and summer is just around the corner. We’ve all been through a lot, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying recession still casting a tall shadow over our futures. Even as vaccinations are finally coming through, some challenges remain in higher education and for young adults that may impact enrollment next year. At this time of year, a top concern for most academic institutions is summer melt: a syndrome where up to one-fifth of students don’t follow through on their college plans.

Ultimate SEO Guide for Colleges and Universities

Developing an SEO and content marketing strategy for a whole university is a considerable project. To make sure your effort isn’t wasted, you need to formulate a plan that best meets your goals. So what is a school’s goal in attracting search traffic to their website? On the surface, you might just say “to drive more enrollment,” but you can focus your campaign on subsets of that broad general goal.

SEO vs PPC: How They Work Together to Increase Visibility and Enrollment

There are two schools of thought when it comes to search engine marketing: earned or paid. First, you have search engine optimization (SEO), where you create content hoping to earn an audience from organic Google searches. Then there’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising where you create an ad unit and buy space on the search engine results page (SERP), without having to claw your way to the top of the organic search queue. Both of these tactics aim to increase visibility on the SERP and attract searchers to your website.

5 Ways Colleges Can Improve Facebook Ad Performance

The main thing to understand about Facebook marketing is that there is organic reach and then paid reach. “Organic” social media presence is the content you post to your page. Your organic reach is always limited to the number of users following you and Facebook’s algorithms. The average organic reach for a Facebook post is only 5.2% of the page’s total likes and can be lower for less active pages. If you have 1000 followers, that means only 50 people saw your latest post. Frustrating to say the least.

3 Ways Colleges Can Enhance Their Marketing Strategy with User-Generated Content

How can your school show off its spirit, its culture, and the things that make it special? By letting the students do the talking! Learn more about the surprising power of user-generated content.

How to Capture Students’ Attention in a Crowded Digital World

Warning: The below article will not be your regularly-scheduled marketing article. Our usual staff is tied up in the janitor’s closet; we’re letting the kids take over today. This time, we’re exercising our creative capacity to think differently, and hence, market differently. Lots of university marketing out there is a stale, sleepy drone. Let’s change the station to Channel Woke!

5 Web Design Best Practices for Universities

We hope this doesn’t come as shocking news, but websites are kind of important for just about any kind of business. Higher education is no exception. In terms of digital marketing, your school’s website is your “front door” to the rest of the world. In the mobile age, visitors don’t ask people directions or look you up in the phone book; they Google you and let your online presence lead them from there.

How to Develop and Protect a Positive Reputation for Your School

For higher education institutions, a strong online reputation can influence leads, enrollments, retention, as well as alumni relations. As such, it’s important to actively manage your online reputation by implementing both a proactive and reactive reputation management strategy.

Marketing Messages for the Things Students Care About Most

Of all the life decisions, choosing a school for continuing education is one that people tend to ruminate upon for a long time. It’s one of those few decision points, like marrying, starting a family, or moving to a new state, that tends to set the narrative for the rest of your life. As a higher education institution, your mission should be to use marketing to guide students along the path to selecting your school and answering all of the questions and concerns they might have along the path to that decision.

How to Increase Word-of-Mouth Recommendations For Your School

Today’s college-age students, by a growing proportion every year, are from Generation Z, and we’re gradually learning quite a bit about them. In some ways, this generation runs along an axis of values and trends set before them by previous generations, while in other ways, they take off in their own direction.

Marketing Strategies to Increase MBA Enrollment

The market for MBAs is stronger than ever. Learn how your school can capitalize on this new interest and develop a digital marketing strategy that encourages MBA enrollment.

How to Build A College Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

What is a thought leader? When you see this phrase, you likely think of the kind of person who delivers a keynote speech at a conference or an expert cited in a reputable publication. A thought leader is recognized as an expert authority in a specialized field. We can see thought leaders in action whenever we turn on the news or pick up a paper. They bring out Neil deGrasse Tyson to offer his thoughts on astrophysics whenever we launch a rocket or find a new comet.

Marketing Mental Health Awareness in Higher Education

The stresses of the global pandemic have exacerbated mental health issues among college students. Universities should make mental health awareness part of their marketing and communication strategy and help students access the support they’re desperately seeking.

How Social Media and College Students Are Evolving

If you want to up your social media game, you need to know how social media has evolved and the current trends. So, let’s get a snapshot of the social media landscape for 2020. What’s hot, what’s not, and what do we do with it?

How Chatbots Are Useful in Higher Education Marketing

Each year, more colleges and universities are deploying chatbots, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only furthered this trend. As artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves, chatbots and virtual assistants are better equipped to handle more responsibilities in the academic world.

Creative Ways To Promote Campus Culture During a Pandemic

Don’t look now, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on the entire higher education industry. The higher education industry was already facing a challenging time with many factors conspiring to put schools in a tough spot in recent years. Then the pandemic came along and made everything worse. Schools now have an uphill battle for enrollment, many of them having to turn to aggressive marketing for the first time.

How Higher Ed Marketers Can Use Remarketing

We’ve all seen this phenomenon when we cruise around the web:
You visit a video streaming site to check out their selection of zombie flicks for October viewing. Then later you’re on some unrelated site like Facebook and suddenly there are ads for The Walking Dead. Or you shop Etsy for a funny coffee mug to give your coworker for a gift, and then every other site you visit for a while suddenly has ads obsessed with coffee mugs. Research some marketing topics, and the next three YouTube videos you watch will be preceded by ads for online B2B software.

How to Create the Best Inbound Marketing Program for Your University

Along with the other upheavals to the markets that 2020 has brought, the higher education industry has changed overnight from being merely competitive before to practically cutthroat now.

Top Higher Ed Marketing Trends in 2021

What the future holds for higher education in 2021 is very much up in the air. While the world of higher ed always seems to be in flux, with new marketing tactics and shifting budgets to deal with, as well as changing student populations guided by whims and proclivities of the latest generation of kids, it has never felt quite like this.

Best Ways to Market to the Graduate Student in 2021

Empathizing with students scores high for their confidence level right now. The biggest asset we can currently give a young adult is an older adult to work with them one on one and help them sort out their concerns.

8 PPC Best Practices Every Higher Ed Marketer Should Do

Few searches in 2020 are as depressing as searching for higher education news articles. It’s like a holocaust out there. Washington Monthly just put up one of the most dire articles yet, “How to Save Higher Education: A New Deal for America’s sinking colleges.” You came for the clickbait headline and the cartoon of the university slipping into quicksand; stay for the gloomy pull-quotes

6 Opportunities for Higher Education Marketers During COVID-19

So here we are looking at the crisis market of higher education. In our previous article, we talked about the challenges that higher education institutions face in marketing. The global COVID-19 pandemic was just part of the story. Even before that, universities were already experiencing market decline due to a host of other trends, ranging from being out of touch with the modern digital-native student audience to students having declining faith in the economic feasibility of a degree.

How to Determine What Higher Ed Marketing Agency is Right for You

Finding the right digital marketing agency for higher education institutions sounds like a daunting task. “Digital marketing” isn’t exactly a phrase most college faculties are used to bandying about anyway. Academic professionals tend to look down their nose just a little at this whole “marketing” field, which means they aren’t the best ally to higher ed marketing teams. Surely, the students should flock to your honored institution based on its outstanding reputation alone, should they not?

9 Best SEO Practices for Colleges and Universities

Competition for a spot on the first page of Google can be intense—especially in higher education. If you search for “what is the best MBA program in the US” (sans quotes), you will find at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) a “People also ask” box, some ads, and a few organic listings.

How to Find Out What Students Think About Your School

Starting in 2010, the “Arab Spring” was a protest movement sweeping through the Middle East. Riots, uprisings, and even armed rebellions occurred in one country after another. It caught many governments off-guard. After years of relatively comfortable rule where civil unrest happened only in isolated pockets, suddenly the ideals of these activists jumped from one group to another and spread like wildfire, faster than anybody could react to it.

Higher Education Marketing: Best Practices That Boost Enrollment

Even though more schools have started embracing the concept of “marketing” in recent years, there is still a lot of foot-dragging among the rank and file. “Marketing,” to some of the faculty’s ear, sounds like this crass, dirty thing that only other industries have to do. But there’s no choice now. Layoffs and salary cuts have begun. It’s time to market or die.

Student Ambassadors: A Marketing Strategy to Increase Enrollment

Like most concepts in modern digital marketing, brand ambassadors have a history going back to mid-20th-century media and beyond. In fact, brand ambassadors go clear back to ancient history if you believe #10 on the list of Roman gladiator facts: “the most successful fighters even endorsed products just like the top athletes of today.”

Social Media Marketing for Colleges: Learn from the Best

Too often in the marketing business, you’ll have this scenario: you set up social media accounts for a business, organization, or higher education institution, hand them the accounts and they designate a social media manager from inside the organization. You check back later, and the feed will be one of two things: dead, because whoever was in charge of posting “ran out of ideas” or was “too busy,” or still active, but with just monotonous self-promotion and self-congratulation.

New Challenges in Higher Education Marketing (Plus Solutions)

Given the current situation, it’s not surprising if your marketing campaigns suffer a blow. You may be experiencing decreased digital engagement, fewer website visits, and a drop in applicants. Know that you’re not alone; this has been a difficult time for all marketers.

The Top Higher Education Marketing Trends in 2020

Welcome to our perspective on the year 2020 and what it means for the digital marketing industry as applied to higher education. We will have some bad news, some good news, and a digital marketing roadmap for colleges and universities for the second half of the year.

5 Inspiring Higher Education Digital Marketing Campaigns

What makes a great digital marketing campaign for a college or university? There’s a shortlist of bases a good campaign should address. First and foremost, a good campaign helps prospective students visualize the successes they’ll achieve by attending that university. They may also cover supporting points like a diverse student body, a broad offering of courses, opportunity for accelerated learning, a nurturing and secure campus life, and an expert faculty.

The Top Ten Questions Students Search About Your College

A key factor in marketing for any industry is to understand what the consumer wants. This is just as important in the academic industry. Students today understand now more than ever that it would be wise to do their proverbial homework before signing up with a carefully chosen university.

The Best University Blogs: What They Do Right (and Wrong)

In the world of digital marketing, educational institutions have several advantages that they don’t often appreciate. To start, universities and colleges can have a domain ending in “.edu,” which Google ranks higher in search. People naturally trust content from a university as having higher authority than your average website. A natural by-product of being in the academic industry is that universities and colleges frequently generate content, either through their students or their staff.

How to Market to the STEM Student

STEM is an acronym that stands for the academic principles of “science, technology, engineering, and math,” sometimes extended as “STEMM” to also cover “medicine.” It’s become one of the hottest buzzwords in the 21st century, dominating discussions in education, industry, and commerce. It’s synonymous with the high-tech industry, which values STEM graduates for powering technology innovation and hence large parts of the economy.

How Caprice Young, CEO of Magnolia Public Schools, Is Creating The Next Generation Of Brilliant Minds

Dr. Young goes into what it takes to create a great group of graduating students as well as giving us her advice on what it would take to keep our schools safe. This one is not to be missed!Resources from this interview [00:00:01] Voice over: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, where we help marketers and [...]

Paid Search Marketing 101: A Guide to PPC for Your University

Universities and colleges have unique challenges when it comes to online advertising. While PPC campaigns should be a staple of your overall strategy, these campaigns can become particularly costly – or ineffective – if you don’t know the do’s and don’ts of this type of online advertising. Our PPC company in Atlanta has tested several [...]

Using Social Media to Show the Culture and Character of Your University

Digital marketing has completely transformed how higher education institutions market their schools to prospective students. Your website is easily your most valuable asset, and social media has become an integral part of engaging prospects while delighting current and past students. There are many factors prospective students consider when choosing a school. Price, location, and course [...]

Creating “Content Hubs” on Your University Website to Cater to Your Varied Audiences

Creating “Content Hubs” on Your University Website to Cater to Your Varied Audiences. Unlike traditional businesses – that tend to have specific audience segments they’re looking to attract – schools and universities aim to attract people from a varied background, each with their own interests and relationship with your institution.

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