Higher education marketing is most successful when it’s connected with every part of the student journey. Video can play an important part in making that connection. Today’s teens spend a huge amount of their media time with online video, making it a natural medium for higher education recruitment.
The student journey would look something like this:
awareness > inquiries > application > enrolled > retention > alumni
Here’s an example of how video could play into a student’s journey: Let’s look at Steve, in his final year of high school. He begins his student journey by doing Google searches online. He pulls up a few universities that he’s been thinking about. He might check his social media to see where his friends are going, but he is still unsure of where he wants to go. Then, he sees an “About Us” video in his feed by a popular university in his area. It has a lot of views, so he watches it too.
The story resonates with his lifestyle and work ethic so Steve feels motivated by the attitude portrayed by the school. He clicks on the link and is brought to a very impressive landing page with a full video. This grabs Steve’s attention right away. He watches a short story that follows a guy through his first semester at the university. This gives Steve a firsthand account of what going to this school will be like. Steve now feels more connected and is starting to think that this might be the right university for him.
He digs a little deeper to see what kinds of programs they offer. He discovers interesting videos about each department, guest lecturers and special projects, campus events, dorm room tours, sports and more. The students seem motivated and genuinely excited to be there, and Steve starts to see himself there too. Then he scrolls down and watches another video about the orientation process. He watches a video by an admissions counselor who is supportive and goes above and beyond to help make students a success. Finally, Steve is convinced that this is the right place for him and he is excited to sign up on the admissions page. He might even create his own video to help future students decide which college is right for them.
Videos help to create connections and humanize the whole recruitment experience. Every day thousands of people watch over an hour of video online to learn something or to be entertained. They help people shop confidently and make better decisions. University-based documentaries are becoming a higher education marketing trend because they showcase real students and their everyday college experience. In a digital world, universities are fighting for a sliver of attention and videos are an effective way to attract and engage prospective students.
Video is a captivating way to tell prospective students about campus life. Recruitment material doesn’t have to be boring. It can, and should, be inspiring. Video is one of the best ways to stay relevant and engaging online. Video gets more re-tweets, re-blogs, and shares than any other type of content, giving them viral potential. More importantly, videos have become a vital part of the decision-making process.
Take advantage of the power of video when you’re thinking about your university’s online strategy. Videos have the power to change public perceptions and make a school cool. Studies have shown that when a video is playing on a web page, a person is more likely to be engaged and stay on that page longer. Video in email increases open rates, click-through rates and is favored by search engine optimization algorithms. This can help your university be in the top search results when students Google university keywords. The higher your website scores in the search engine results, the more clicks it will get.
Once you’ve directed traffic to your college’s landing page, it’s time to show off content that will engage and resonate with your target audience. Your videos can take many forms, a few examples being testimonials, reviews, virtual tours, interviews, documentaries, animations or tutorials. Prospective students are looking to see verifiable facts as well as the opinions of current students attending the school. Video blogs can be a useful tool for showing students a bird’s eye view of what campus life will be like. Student videos are especially compelling because they’re more authentic than stock imagery and are more valuable than perfectly scripted recruiting material. Whichever form it takes, having a video on the landing page boosts engagement and can actually increase conversion rates up to 80%. That means your audience is 80% more likely to explore deeper into the website and discover what the university has to offer.
Online video is a perfect solution for aligning university motivations with prospective students and the greater community. It is an especially important asset when looking to gain support for millage proposals and other university endeavors. 86% of universities already have a presence on YouTube and have realized how essential video is in the student journey and the university decision-making process.
Students live in a world where pop culture, breaking news, new technologies and fashions are constantly evolving and readily available at their fingertips. Video creates buzz and allows students to stay on trend with rapidly-changing cultural norms while simultaneously allowing universities to stay relevant in an ever-evolving digital world.
Here is a quick list of all of the best education marketing solutions using video that we covered and a few extras:
- Branded experiences
- Six-second re-enforcement ads during enrollment periods
- Recruitment videos
- “About Us” university videos
- Explainer and tutorial videos
- Guest speakers and special lectures
- Live streaming, on demand
- Video blogs
- Event videos
- Virtual tours
- Short, shareable social media videos and gifs
Video has become crucial to connecting to potential students and keeping them connected throughout the student journey. Make sure it’s a tool you have in your education marketing toolbox.
Mike McClure, watching the video trend grow