The world of digital marketing is constantly changing. New advancements, updates, and platforms are always emerging. For the casual observer, it may be hard to keep track of everything, but we created a list of the top digital marketing trends you should pay close attention to in 2015.
Optimizing for mobile devices will be VERY important.
How important is your mobile site really? Well, Cisco predicts that by the year 2018, nearly 78% of all internet access will be from a mobile device. That is huge considering that in 2013 only 28% of total internet traffic was from a mobile device. Even Google has begun emphasizing “how mobile-friendly” your website is in their search rankings. So it appears that 2015 will finally be the year that many universities’ digital strategies will move beyond just a website. Higher learning institutions will now begin optimizing content specifically for mobile devices. That being said, be sure to test the functionality of your content on mobile devices to be sure it’s working correctly. Testing your site’s mobile-friendliness takes very little time, and in an industry where a single lead can be extremely valuable, you don’t want to miss any opportunities to reach a potential student.
Content marketing is king.
One way universities can establish authority and gain trust is by publishing valuable content through their online channels such as a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter. Typically publishing content provides more relevant information that entertains, informs, and engages potential students. By publishing useful content, you are building a positive reputation within your target audience and advertising your expertise on a particular subject. Instead of advertising a specific degree program through traditional channels, creating informational and engaging content can help establish your school as a reputable institution. This can then encourage potential students to choose your program based on your perceived authority on the subject matter.
Rise of SEO (with content marketing)
With the increase in online ads, SEO will become an even more important long term strategy for marketers. Being conscious of the keywords, proper HTML coding, and links from other sites to yours will allow you to influence your organic search position thus increasing visits to your site from people searching for programs like yours. Optimizing your content for search marketing is a free way to gain extra exposure. With many universities now competing in paid search and with the steadily increasing cost of paid search, you should be allocating a portion of your budget to SEO.
Content is king in 2015, but the success of your content hinges on the visuals that are attached to it. A good visual (video, infographic, etc.) is the perfect way to break through all the internet clutter. A picture is worth 1000 words, and a video is worth 1000 pictures. Potential customers are more likely to watch a short video than to read an article even if it conveys the same message. In addition, video can establish legitimacy for your programs and can evoke positive feelings towards your brand. Infographics – another strong visual tool — will be huge in 2015! They are social media ready and can convey a large amount of information very efficiently through stats and pictures. Consider creating infographics that highlight the advantages of the degrees or certificates you are marketing. You can also develop infographics to explain the knowledge a prospective student would gain in your program.
2014 saw several changes and improvements to online marketing. We believe this pace will continue into 2015. These are just a handful of what we think is most important on the horizon.
Be sure to follow JMH Consulting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jmhconsulting) & Twitter for more tips on higher education marketing. As part of our New Year’s Resolution, we’ll be posting new content for you on a regular basis. Also, check back with us towards the end of January. We’ll be starting our new monthly video series that will include tips & tricks to make your digital marketing strategy take off!