The Wine and Cheese of Higher Education Marketing

Carnegie Higher Ed May 30, 2013 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Wine—full-bodied, aromatic, smooth—can be fully appreciated, consumed, and enjoyed all on its own. Cheese­—sharp, tangy, flavorful—also delicious and satisfying alone on a plate. But what about when the two are paired together? The flavors are heightened, the experience is enhanced, and together they are just better.

What does wine and cheese have to do with your higher education marketing plan? Everything. It’s about your marketing channel mix—what are you pairing to create better results?

You start with online marketing: PPC, SEO, Retargeting, display advertising, social media. The combined reach, engagement, and measurability of online marketing is unquestionably powerful and should be a cornerstone of your student acquisition efforts. But just like wine, the right pairing can make it even better.

Enter direct marketing: mailings, e-mail, text. Also a formidable force on its own, direct marketing, when done right, will certainly drive some student prospects to your admission office. But it’s time to think outside the mailbox to improve your campaign results by integrating your online and offline efforts.

For your top of the funnel prospecting, individually paid search marketing, online display or student search direct mail, and e-mail are all excellent ways to pique the interest of college-bound students. But, you can amplify your outcomes by developing your campaign holistically, employing all of these methods with consistent branding, harmonious creative, and well-targeted and timed execution. This is exactly why our clients are asking us more and more for complete end-to-end higher education integrated marketing solutions!

The goal is always the same: be everywhere students are searching. For example, why not send a direct mail piece that serves as an onramp for students to go to your website or drives them to a campaign-specific landing page. Simultaneously, run online display advertising along with a paid search marketing campaign. Through this multi-channel implementation, you will reinforce your school’s brand and uniformly lead prospects to the appropriate landing page or personalized URL (PURL). Once you’ve sent students to your website, deploy a Retargeting campaign to capture any bounced visitors and drive them back to your site later. But don’t stop there—use an integrated, cross-channel approach to nurture those new leads. Push prospects to a PURL where you can capture their data details, and deploy a multi-touch drip campaign comprised of e-mail, text, and possibly more direct mail. We know this integrated strategy works because we are doing it for our clients with success.

So, are you optimizing your campaign from beginning to end, leveraging digital and traditional marketing? If not, it’s time to get started, and we’d be happy to steer you in the right direction. You will see, when online and direct marketing are paired, they do nothing but complement one another. You will increase brand awareness, enhance response, and improve your results. Like fresh chèvre and Sauvignon Blanc, it’s a perfect match.

You can follow me on Twitter @adpoulin or on Google Plus as Alexa Poulin.

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