Breaking Through the Oldschool Media Barrier

We talk to a lot of college marketers. And when we’re getting to know them, we hear a lot of stories. We hear about what’s working for them, what’s not working, and what they wish they could try. What’s interesting is that many of them wish they could do more in the digital space but are met with skepticism from colleagues or higher-ups. If you’re in a similar position, we want to help you break through that red tape by helping you show the value of digital advertising.

Let us start out by saying that we also believe in traditional media. It definitely has a place in a well-rounded, full-scale marketing campaign. But for schools with limited budgets or who have waning enrollment numbers, we encourage putting every dollar toward highly measurable digital efforts.

To help you make a case for allocating a portion of the marketing budget toward ads in the digital space, we recommend:

  • Pointing to the numbers. At the end of the day, you, your supervisors, and leadership are all hoping for one thing: to maintain a steady stream of enrollments. Explain to your supervisors or leadership team that digital ads can be measured and tracked from the moment a prospective student engages with a piece of content all the way to the point where they apply for school.
  • Touting the flexibility. With print pieces, billboards, and other types of traditional media, you have one shot at getting it right. If you try a new angle and it doesn’t resonate with your audience, that’s it. You may have to go back to the drawing board and reprint/rerecord that costly marketing piece. With digital ads, the sky’s the limit for what you can try! Create a variety of types of ads and see what drives the most engagement. Have a set of ads that turned out to be a total flop? Edit them or shut them down entirely.
  • Reiterating the cost-effectiveness. People are skeptical of that with which they are unfamiliar—and we completely understand and appreciate this fact. While your counterparts or supervisors may be nervous about the potential cost of digital advertising, assure them that there are ways to set fixed ad spends that work within your team’s budget. Once you begin getting results and enrollments, you may want to spend a bit more to generate even more leads.
  • Building a potential funnel. To ensure your teammate or leadership has a full understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve with digital marketing, come up with a marketing funnel to walk them through your ideas. Explain how you plan to really speak to prospective students in each step. (Need help building a funnel? Let’s workshop it. Click here for more info.)
  • Asking about their reservations (and really listening to how they respond). In so many scenarios in life, people just want to be heard. Give any digital marketing naysayers a chance to speak their piece. Acknowledge those concerns, and explain that you know they are just aiming to make the best decisions for your school and its future students—which is a very admirable goal.

We love to workshop marketing funnels—so much so that we offer a funnel-building workshop as a low-cost option to get to know you better. If you’re interested in working together to develop a plan for a new or struggling program, give us a shout. You’ll walk away with a detailed plan that you can implement yourself or let us help. No obligation. Our promise.

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