The principle ambition in profitable education marketing is rather singular: understand your students. If you get that key point, then what you’re supposed to do for your marketing plan, messaging, and branding is clear thereafter. But if you do NOT understand the culture and post-graduation desires of your prospective students, then you’ll have very low conversion rates and usually struggle to meet your goals every enrollment cycle.
The education institution that best understands its students’ incentive and personality will always get superior performance from its marketing labors. You must understand the students in order to achieve enrollments. No search optimization or re-targeting algorithm can substitute the gut intuition of a genuine person who understands what is necessary to make a personal relationship with prospective students. Alas, here are a handful of general ideas for promotion that are expressly targeted towards vocational and career education schools as I’ve encountered them through the years.
Maintain equilibrium between “dream” and “reality” in your messaging and branding.
Far too many schools (particularly some with which I was in competition that concentrate in the arts and media fields) focus wholly on selling the dream: the ambition, the light at the end of the tunnel after they graduate. That’s fine, and it often works, however student retention rate (if you’re reading this, you’re most likely in education and shutter at that term in relation to accreditation) becomes a difficult task when students start dropping out or you can place them in jobs because you over sold the dream.
If all you do is sell the dream, the overall commitment of your student body goes down, and accordingly, your drop out rate will increase. Don’t turn away explaining how difficult your program is, how hard the work after graduation will be – brag about a test or project that students fear because of its difficulty. You don’t do this in the very beginning with your ads, of course, but in phone calls, school tours, open houses, etc. thereafter: push reality and dream. Make sure they are 100% aware of what they want to start. They’ll respect the school more for it.