Digital Marketing for Higher Education Institutions

Recruit more high-value students with a specialized
Higher Ed digital marketing agency

Higher Education Digital Marketing Cardinal's Trust signs

Clients That Trust Us:

Higher Education, Universities, Digital Marketing Clients
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See Our Work In Action

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An overwhelming number of prospective students begin – and end – their research for higher education institutions online. On your quest to attract new prospects and boost enrollment rates, developing a comprehensive digital strategy is one of the most important steps you can take.

Here at Cardinal, we specialize in helping higher education institutions use digital marketing to tackle their two most important challenges:

Recruit New Students

Recruit new
students

Alumini Relationships

Retain and strengthen
alumni relationships

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Ignite Your Growth with Cardinal

Leverage Cardinal’s higher learning marketing solutions to grow your student base.
Here are some of the benefits to partnering with Cardinal:

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The #1 Spot on Google SERP’s
You’ve worked hard to get your university to where it’s at, so let’s make sure that students find you easily- and immediately- on Google.

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Get More Students
Sure, increased visibility on the web is great but it’s the relationships that really matter. We count success in terms of conversions and loyal, long term students who look to you to get the education they need to succeed in life.

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Boost Your Profits
Just like building up your learning establishment with great instructors and curriculum, building up your web presence and student base takes work. We admit that it takes time and money to invest in successful SEO tactics but give it 6 months and you’ll be like most of our Cardinal clients who stay with us for years.

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Your Thought Partner
Cardinal does more than just boost your ROI through implementing SEO; we’re a partner that’s committed to your personal growth because we consider your achievements our achievements. We want to hear from you often and take your ideas/dreams/goals seriously. Because we know open communication is the key to innovation and success.

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Analytics at Your Fingertips
We take pride in providing you thoughtful monthly reports with relevant KPI’s right at your fingertips, but you will also have access to our proprietary software interface with details about your campaigns. Cardinal’s SEO experts are also just a phone call away anytime for updates.

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Right in Your Backyard
If your main target demographic is right in your immediate area, then it makes sense to go with an SEO company that knows the culture, problems, and solutions available to help relate to your audience. Fortunately, Cardinal is a locally based SEO company run by experts who understand the region.

A Complete Digital Solution to Meet Your Goals

Digital marketing, in general, can be complicated; but marketing on behalf of your university is even more challenging. While increasing enrollment rates is one of your top priorities, you also want to ensure you stay loyal to your school messaging and not overspend your budget.

That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive approach to marketing for universities and colleges. While each of our partnerships is unique, we develop our strategies around four key tenets:

Rather than approach these areas separately, our team weaves them together to create a story,
and strategy, designed to deliver results.

Increase Enrollments

For all the benefits the digital age has had for your institution, it’s certainly introduced new challenges. Today, prospective students can research hundreds of schools in the matter of minutes, making it more difficult for your school to stand out.

We make our clients’ schools stand out from the crowd through our aggressive campaigns that increase brand exposure in the areas of the web where we know prospective students congregate. From Google to Facebook, directories and more, our goal is to make your school easy to find and impossible to ignore.

We implement state-of-the-art strategies, including remarketing, to continuously reach out to prospects we know are most likely to convert.

But increasing enrollment rates requires more than just being found online. Our goal is to create an incredible digital experience for your prospects to help them realize that your school is the right fit for them. This includes carefully researching your marketing audiences and developing campaigns targeted toward each of these audience types.

The end result is clear – more qualified leads and applications for our clients.

Increase Enrollments

Looking to increase your enrollment rates and attract higher quality candidates?
Want to improve the credibility of your brand?

We have a history of helping our clients meet and exceed their goals
while improving the efficiency of their marketing efforts.

Contact the Cardinal team today to learn more about our digital marketing efforts
specifically designed for higher education institutions.

Our Clients Love Us

“Cardinal’s competitors constantly try to get us to switch to them. We are not interested in switching.”

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Cardinal’s Proprietary Marketing Technology Student Stream’s Benefits:

Double Your Student Volume for the Same Spend

Dump the campaigns that don’t generate returns. Our AI based marketing platform automatically optimizes towards the campaigns that are driving high value students.

Modernize Marketing

Executive Level Reporting

Give your bosses the type of analytical reporting that they didn’t even know was possible. No longer do you have to report on cost per lead. With Student Stream, you will now be able to report on the Cost Per Student marketing…and show the ROI.

Leadstream Benefits
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Higher Education Marketing Agency

In higher education marketing, tough competition is pretty much a given. Students have to compete with their peers to get into the top colleges and universities. In the same way, higher education institutions have to compete with colleges and universities for the attention of prospective students.

If you’re a higher education professional who’s tasked with marketing your institution, you know how hard and frustrating it can be. You wear way too many hats, attend too many meetings, and at the same time, expected to stay updated with the latest digital marketing trends. Do these following scenarios describe your situation?

1) You’re worried that your higher ed institution is not getting enough attention online.

2) You don’t know which channels to use to market your institution.

3) You’re not sure if your department has the internal expertise to market its programs.

If these sound familiar, you’ve come to the right place. At Cardinal Digital Marketing, we can help you recruit more high-value students using specialized higher education strategies and best practices that best fit your needs. Stick around to find out how Cardinal can help you market and grow your institution’s enrollment.

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What is Higher Education Marketing?

Higher education marketing is marketing that specifically targets the higher education market. The world of higher education marketing is morphing towards a completely new direction. Many high school graduates are not looking at college as a necessity and enrollment numbers are also dropping. This is hardly a surprise especially when the very idea of college conjures up images of burdensome student loans. Due to this, the higher education market is more competitive than ever. To grab the attention of potential students and increase enrollments, higher ed institutions need to put themselves out there. Higher education marketing is not just for bolstering enrollment numbers but also for brand creation and making the brand more visible and credible. Higher education marketing is about developing strategies that will generate more leads and applications for your institution.

Higher Education Marketing
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Why Marketing is Important in Higher Education?

Digital marketing has had a significant impact not just on higher ed marketing but higher education as a whole.
Here are the most important benefits of marketing in higher education.

Connect With Prospective Students

Connecting with prospective students is the main reason why digital marketing is important in higher education. Let’s face it, students are constantly hooked online through channels like social media. Students are brought up in an era where digital familiarity is a given. A marketing campaign that’s targeted towards prospective applicants must focus on these digital channels.

Again, one of the best ways to do this is to do social media advertising. This strategy involves gathering followers and promoting engagement. Social engagement (likes, follows, and shares) is key because it builds credibility and trust between the institution and students.

In this era of digital marketing, it’s a good idea to connect with individuals before they even become eligible for higher education. Marketing campaigns should be designed to engage prospects right from their school days. Early engagement promotes adequate brand awareness among your prospective students.

Brand Awareness

Similar to schools and universities having some type of reputation and prestige, it’s also important for higher ed institutions to create and grow a brand. Whether you’re looking to increase enrollment or expand your audience reach, digital marketing will help spread your higher education branding more extensively.

Digital marketing affords you a more far-reaching method of putting your brand out there. With the right marketing strategy, you can target both the potential students and parents with ease.

Digital marketing also provides an even playing field because it allows smaller educational institutions to compete. For instance, with a solid SEO marketing strategy, a less popular website from a higher ed institution can appear on the first page of Google, gaining more in terms of conversions and long-term students.

Personalized Marketing Approach

When it comes to marketing higher education, traditional methods just won’t cut it. Traditional marketing doesn’t offer a personalized approach to communicating with the target audience. The marketing requirements of higher ed institutions varies from one school to the next. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all marketing approach is not an optimal solution for higher education institutions.

On the other hand, digital marketing is a data-driven strategy that caters to your institution’s specific requirements. For example, higher education systems such as law schools and business schools have different goals which also applies to their students. A data-driven marketing campaign will take into account the data about the activities, engagements, and interactions of the students.

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like Cardinal, you’ll have a higher education marketing campaign with a personalized touch. This means optimized strategies that will help you reach your target audience and increase the change of getting enrollments.

Higher Enrollment Rates

The primary benefit of digital marketing is ultimately to convert leads into sales. In higher education, institutions are vying for the attention of potential students hoping for enrollments. Without putting your institution out there through marketing, you’ll need incredible luck to attract the attention of potential enrollees – even if you already have some level of prestige, word of mouth can only do so much.

For example, a higher ed campaign that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO) can attract students that are looking for a particular major, sports, or type of degree. With a top-notch SEO strategy, if someone types “Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design”, there’s a chance that you’ll appear on the first page of search engines. Of course, there’s still room for improvement by using long-tail keywords with less competition.

Also, you can use digital marketing to advertise locally which is a great solution for smaller institutions. Local
marketing allows smaller establishments to target high-value students without blowing their budget.

Measurable Form of Marketing

How do you know if your marketing efforts are working? The only way to know for sure is to track and measure your campaign’s progress. Traditional marketing methods like radio or print can be difficult to measure. The opposite is true with digital marketing where every method that you use is measurable.

Digital marketing removes the guesswork from determining whether your higher ed marketing is actually working. There’s no shortage of marketing tools that you can use to achieve this objective. Many of these tools allow you to monitor your campaign in real-time so you can see which strategies are working and which ones are not. Then, you have the essential information to dedicate more resources to strategies that work or make adjustments to the underperforming ones.

Digital marketing allows you to stay on top of your higher education campaign and focus on strategies that will most likely lead to conversions.

6 Reasons to Partner With a Higher Education Marketing Agency

When you’re not sure if you have an in-house team with marketing expertise, your best bet is to partner with a
higher education marketing agency. Here are the top reasons why you should consider working with an agency
to market your higher ed institution.

Stay Updated With Marketing Trends

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving and constantly changing industry. One moment, you’re getting a good grasp of the current trends and best practices, and on the next, Google throws a curveball and releases an algorithm update. Unless you’re already an expert, staying on top of these trends and updates is very difficult. Plus, there are so many facets to digital marketing such as SEO, social media, paid search, content, and the list goes on.

If you can’t keep up with the news, trends, and updates, then who can?
Part of a digital marketing agency’s job is to keep up with all the marketing trends and technologies. Partnering with an agency will enable your higher ed institution to stay current on algorithm updates and explore emerging trends. Having internal teams is an option but it can be challenging to learn the newest trends and develop strategies that are worth testing. An agency with an extensive portfolio and comprehensive experience will enable your institution to leverage its relationships with top marketing platforms such as Google and
Facebook.

Marketing Trends
Higher Ed Marketing Plans

Develop the Ideal Higher Ed Marketing Plan

With extensive industry expertise and up-to-date information, a digital marketing agency like Cardinal can provide suggestions that involve a wide breadth of strategies – all in the name of achieving your institution’s marketing objectives. The depth of experience and knowledge are keys to maximizing the ROI from the school’s marketing budget.

As mentioned earlier, a digital marketing agency aims to create a personalized plan that works best for your institution. It’s a partnership so your knowledge of your institution, students, programs, and courses will greatly contribute to strategy formulation. Then, the agency will develop and implement an optimized plan using the best combination of methods to drive more qualified leads.

For example, let’s say your institution has great success with recruiting students that are interested in politics and environmentalism. The agency will create a personalized campaign that will help find those potential students.

Have a Fresh Set of Eyes

Whether you’re in-charge of your institution’s marketing for a year or ten years, you likely view it as your own. As a result, you might be hesitant to change anything because “that’s how it always worked.” If you feel like your marketing approach has peaked with little to no result, a fresh set of eyes might just be what you need.

Partnering with a digital marketing agency means that you’re bringing an additional point of view to your institution. The team will audit your website, current strategies, and more, to provide the much-needed insight and guidance. This enables your institution to make cost-effective and smart decisions for reaching your marketing goals.

With a digital marketing agency at your side, you also have a partner to bounce off your ideas and solve problems that may occur. For instance, the agency can recommend optimal marketing budgets to achieve enrollment goals with a positive ROI.

Higher Education Marketing Team
Skills and Experience in Universities Marketing

Access to Skills Your Institution Needs

For some institutions, especially smaller ones, building an in-house marketing team is a practical impossibility. Unless some of your members are already marketing experts, you’ll spend a lot of time and resources to train and educate them. Moreover, the expertise that you require can be either hard to come by or expensive. It’s not encouraged to hire someone for a full or even part-time capacity if you don’t consistently need their service.

As mentioned, there are so many facets to digital marketing. One moment, your campaign will focus on SEO and brand-building and around the peak of enrollment season, the focus may shift to social media and PPC. Using the right mix of skills and experience, digital marketing agencies specialize in many different marketing channels. They have many different experts in different roles to cater to your institution’s immediate needs.

For your institution, this happens seamlessly but your team will always let you know if there will be a shift in strategy.

Focus on What Matters

Running a higher education institution is already a massive challenge. Colleges and universities have to focus on growth in several ways such as increasing enrollment targets, improving student retention, training employees, developing new programs, increasing alumni donations, and more. So ask yourself this: Do you have the time and energy to add digital marketing to your plate?

Even if you’re a person who wears many hats, you’ll be spreading yourself thin if you take on the responsibility of marketing the institution. Higher education marketing is different and a good agency knows that. Agencies like Cardinal understands how your funnel should work. They also know the difference between applications, deposits, accepted apps, enrollments, leads, and more. They have a track record of converting prospective students through digital marketing methods such as SEO and social media. Therefore, you can focus on core activities that matter the most.

Focus on the most important things
Successful Higher Education Marketing Campaigns

Accountability Drives Success

One area that’s often underappreciated by higher ed institutions about marketing agencies is the ability to track and measure results within their own systems. Digital marketing is the nirvana of quantifiable marketing. Agencies will not only monitor how well your institution’s website is performing, but they can also help you track leads and where they’re coming from.

1) Where are the enrollments coming from?
2) How are they able to connect with your brand?
3) What compelled prospective students to become a lead?

This provides the much-needed agency accountability and enables you to measure the ROI. Ultimately, you can look at the conversion rate and see which leads turned into actual revenue for the institution. That’s powerful! From the agency reports, you can measure your success and pinpoint exactly which channels work best. When compared to traditional marketing, you don’t have to make static investments with no guaranteed results. Every dollar you spent on digital marketing can be easily measured and quantified – every dollar is accounted for.

Why Choose Cardinal as Your Higher Education Agency Partner?

With higher education, Cardinal knows that the goals are to increase student enrollment, attract high-quality
candidates, and maintain current student retention. Here are some ways that we can help you achieve these goals:

Executive Level Reporting

Cardinal’s brand of digital marketing is founded on accountability. Using our marketing tools and technologies, we’ll track how your marketing budget is spent and also monitor prospective students from initial contact to enrollment. Marketing solutions such as Student Stream, you can give reports on the Cost Per Student marketing and ROI.

Reputation Management

Improving a college or university’s reputation is a little tricky to quantify. However, there’s no doubt that establishing your higher education institution as a valuable student resource and increasing overall prestige can provide long-term benefits. Cardinal will help you highlight your institution’s strengths and establish you as an industry leader. Instead of waiting for students to come to you, they’ll come to you instead.

Increase Social Media Presence

Most of your prospective students are on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn – thanks to widespread Internet access and digital media. Cardinal has a team of social media experts that will help you target potential students and gain positive exposure on social media platforms.

Search Engine Optimization

About 67% of students use search engines as their first source of information for researching higher ed institutions. Also, 9 out of 10 students are still unsure which school they wish to attend. Cardinal Digital Marketing will not only help get your website on the top search results through optimal SEO, but we’ll also make sure that your website operates to a high standard.

Content Marketing

Earlier, we emphasized the importance of projecting your institution as a reliable student resource and an industry leader – high-quality content will help you get there. Our content specialists will provide whatever you need, from research and writing to publishing to your website.

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Paid Search Campaigns

Pay per click or PPC will be one of the main components of your higher education marketing campaign. These paid ads are designed to retarget students who are looking for programs that are also offered in your school. Cardinal will ensure you’ll have a well-oiled paid search campaign on your hands.

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