Education related search volumes have continued to rise. As 9 in 10 students have not formed an intention of where they want to study at the outset of their research (Google with Ipsos OTX 2012) it is vitaly important to create a strong online presence for marketing success. Recent study by Godigital underlines how absolutely critical it is to optimise study programmes for search.
The major findings from the research conducted in January&February 2016 confirm that:
- 53% prospective students went to search engines to research colleges and career schools. Having a strong search presence based in quality content is key for schools to appear in those crucial searches. 43% were most influenced to click on search results that included information that was most relevant to them. 24% of students actually used Youtube or other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and followed schools that they were interested in, mainly on Facebook.
- A school’s website and online ratings mean a lot to prospective students – 42% of students found that school’s website influenced their decision when picking a college or career.
- Although a lot of great marketing can be pinned down to excellent timing it does not appear to as crucial in the educations sector. 21% of students took more than 12 months to make a decision.
- The quality of the programme often seals the deal for a student to select a school (colleges and career schools should make programme information prominent and easily navigable (ease of website use is critical! 32% students say poor navigation on a college or career schools website turned them away from that school). The second most important item prospective students look for on a school website is tuition and financial aid.
- The most effective way to reach out to prospective students after initial contact is an email. According to 75% of students – they preferred to receive communication via email over any other medium (including social media or direct phone and text messages)
- Interestingly, on campus visits are often the deciding factor for prospective students. Students can do all the online research in the world but actually visiting the school makes all the difference.