The 4 “Whos” of Digital Marketing

Carnegie Higher Ed Mar 03, 2016 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Digital marketing technologies and strategies seem to be advancing significantly every day. For enrollment marketers, staying tuned in and up to date can be a full-time job in itself. However, one way to simplify and think about strategies no matter where we are in that path is to break it down to the audience level. Here are four ways to do that and some of the current tactics and technologies that apply.

1. Who you know

Think of this as the audiences and prospective students you already have information about: list purchase, prospect pool, applicants, accepted students, alumni, etc. You can reach these audiences through IP Targeting or list-based social media matching on properties like Facebook and Instagram. Take the home or e-mail addresses from this list, match them up with the available IP addresses or social media handles, and deliver relevant and timely digital advertising right to them.

2. Who you don’t know

If you’re relying solely on the lists you purchase or the names in your system, you’re missing a huge portion of the audiences that could be great fits for your institution. Create awareness and interest with new audiences you don’t even know yet through the latest Online Display strategies. Targeting opportunities exist now to enable you to reach virtually any audience profile based on how they behave or spend their time online. You can now essentially define your audience right down to the household demographics, academic achievement levels, age, interests, etc.

3. Who knows you

Your website is one of the most powerful tools you have for enrollment marketing. Audiences that are visiting your site and not identifying themselves represent an enormous opportunity based on the interest and intent they’re demonstrating just by being there. Today, you can capitalize on the visitor behavior to your site and reach them in new and customized ways that weren’t available even a year ago. Even tried-and-true digital tactics like Retargeting have advanced so much that you can customize the ads your site visitors see based on the level of intent they’ve shown by where they were on your site. But perhaps more significant is you can construct profiles of your website audiences based on what pages they went to and their demographic characteristics. This allows you to put together specific strategies for the different types of audiences spending time on your site that already know you to some extent but have not told you who they are.

4. Who doesn’t know you

They’re out there, and they’re searching. Those students who are seeking information about the higher education opportunities and institutions that may be the right fit for them. But in many cases, they don’t know who you are at this point. This is where your presence in search results is not only critical—it’s the difference of whether you even exist or not (in their eyes). A paid search strategy is key for ensuring you’re appearing in the search results for your prospective students. At this point, they may know what they want or want to know more about, but they just don’t know that your institution offers or is the answer to that. Optimizing your presence in search results means you are now answering the questions of these online searchers and you’re making them aware of who you are.

From a strategy and tactic standpoint, there are all sorts of other digital opportunities that would fall into these four categories (mobile geofencing, other social media, YouTube, etc.). However, the point is, when considering a marketing plan and the options to accomplish it, it’s sometimes helpful to start with thinking about things from these directions versus the strategy or tactic first.

Follow Mark on Twitter @Cunningham527

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