On the surface, education and marketing appear to be worlds apart. One is concerned with using words to impart knowledge; the other is preoccupied with spinning copy to satisfy a need for sales. But therein lies the point: even educational institutes need to make money.
Actually, the fact that academic language and copywriting live in different worlds is all the more reason for an education institute to actually embrace marketing content. An opportunity is present. Training and scholarly materials might be first-rate, but the only way for a facility to continue to grow is by using advertising with lively, engaging, absorbing copy.
Here, we take a look at four ways copywriting and creative content can form a part of education marketing and generate sales for colleges, schools, training centers and education institutes of all kinds.
1. A Site That Tells A Story
Anyone pursuing education is hungry to learn and the first thing an education institution should teach them is what the facility has to offer. The best way to do this is by telling a story. Creative copy doesn’t just push products under someone’s nose – it tells a tale that involves the reader and shows the prospective rewards that can come out of making a purchase. Take a look at Khan Academy’s homepage:
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Basically, emotions sell. So embracing the art of storytelling in education marketing comes highly recommended.” [/perfectpullquote]
The need for a captivating “About Us” section is an obvious example of where a story can sit well. Smartly written copy in this area of the website can delve deep into the heart of the institution and inform prospective students what the facility is all about. There’s no brazen salesmanship going on here, just good storytelling. A creatively written “About Us” page takes readers inside the institution and provides them with the background they need to form a mental picture of what their experience at this facility will be like.
A great example is the about page on gummisig.com.
The site owner is an Icelandic freelance creative who does a brilliant and entertaining job of talking about himself:
Innovative copywriting can also make readers feel as though they’ve met their tutors and fellow students before they’ve even registered for a course. Expansive staff profiles allow prospective students to develop an instant relationship with their teachers, whilst first-hand accounts from pupils/graduates can alleviate any concerns they might have and answer some of their questions.
You can’t just shove a product in someone’s face and tell them to buy it. First, you need to set the scene. Storytelling in education marketing lays the solid foundations from which high admissions can be generated.
Also, it must be said that a great website design plays a huge part here. Whilst having a story is vital, the reader must be met with a good user experience.
Bonus: Take a look at 10 examples of great education websites.
2. Creative Course Descriptions
Meaty course descriptions make a key part of education marketing when it comes to attracting potential students. Whilst listing all the features of a degree or training program is essential, an institution must get creative with their content in order to differentiate their facility from others.
Copywriting can sell courses by promoting them in a whole different kind of way. Instead of simply informing readers about the units/details of a course, an education institution’s website can utilise creatively written content to give added meaning to a program. Separate pages can be created giving advice to readers on how to tailor applications and provide information on open days.
Additional content can show off graduate work, case studies and describe the careers that can come the reader’s way when they complete the course.
An enlightening course timeline can even be included to inform students about what they’ll be doing at each individual point during the program.
Creative content can give course descriptions the bite they need to generate sales and provide institutions with a unique appearance that separates them from the herd.
Copyblogger’s content marketing training is well regarded in the industry, but their sales page is a thing of beauty.
All of the copy on the page is top notch, but notice how the headline isn’t the name of the course. From the very start, we’re hit with the value of the course.
In other words, the name of the educational course isn’t important. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”People don’t buy the ‘what’; they buy the ‘why’.”[/perfectpullquote]
3. A Blog That Offers Building Blocks
A blog is perhaps the most powerful marketing tool at the disposal of any business, educational or otherwise.
It can be the home of a clever content marketing strategy and guess what? It won’t cost a thing.
Blogs can be a fine reflection of what an institution stands for and represents, but they can also help to attract traffic to a webpage and encourage users to stick around a little longer. Perhaps just long enough to make purchase.
By linking up a blog to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, an education institution can continue to post regular research-based content that keeps its presence alive and kicking across social media.
Blogs can contain all kinds of insightful pieces about the institution itself, reflections on current events in the education sector and news articles that inform the reader what they can expect to see from the facility in the coming days, weeks or months.
Bucknell University do a great job of keeping their audience involved with their latest news:
A creatively written blog packed with a diverse range of content can convince readers of an institution’s awareness and intent. Those wanting to learn new skills need to feel confident about a facility’s enthusiasm before they’ll sign on the dotted line to purchase a course or learning materials. Blog writing can demonstrate how serious an educational institution is about its work.
If a blog is written in the right way, prospective students can start to learn something about their course and be given their first building blocks for success before they even sign up. This way, readers will get a little taste of the standard of teaching available to them, which will only whet their appetite for further knowledge and increase the chance of sales.
4. Emails & Newsletters
Whilst putting effort into creating an engaging website splattered with creative content ought to be top of the priority list for education institutes, sales won’t creep up unless people are actually visiting the website in the first place.
Having social media channels connected to the site is one method of increasing consumer traffic, but another way education facilities can attract attention is by conducting email marketing campaigns and distributing a well-written digital newsletter.
Email campaigns can keep prospective students informed about what’s going on at a university, vocational training institute or professional teaching facility. This content gives educational organisations a voice in the digital world – a means of expressing their objectives and a different way to promote their products.
Creative emails and newsletters can contain exciting information and news about educational facilities – including on-site guest speakers, open days and endorsements from famous former pupils. They can also update readers on new training materials and courses. This event schedule from MarketingProfs is an example every kind of educational institute can emulate.
For education institutes, a big part of increasing sales comes down to bringing people to their website where all the products are sat ready and waiting. A creatively compiled email or newsletter has the ability to do just that.
A mailing list is, generally, full of active and engaged prospects that have shown an interest in being kept informed and entertained.
And that’s basically like gold dust when it comes to marketing and sales. So it would be a crime not to leverage that.
The University of Wisconsin River Falls actually have a daily newsletter.
That’s quite a commitment, but they clearly recognize the power of keeping in close contact with their audience…
… and that’s the right thing to do.
In summary, then, it’s vital that education institutes embrace modern life and digital technology.
They’re businesses in every sense of the word.
Content and content marketing is extremely powerful. And by leveraging both technology and our evolving consumption habits, it makes attracting and retaining target audiences all the more easier.