Think Outside the Search Box ©

By now the importance of your school’s rank in search should be as obvious as the need for you to embrace technology in the classroom. It’s a no-brainer. But 90 percent of the time that your prospects spend online, they are not searching.

The 2016 initiative for Effective Student Marketing is all about all that time your prospects spend outside the search box. How are you going to find them?

If they’re not searching what are they doing?

They’re living their lives. They’re playing games, streaming shows, checking out DIY YouTube videos, catching up on celebrity gossip. What they are not doing is searching for your school. And if you think they’re just going to wake up one morning and say, wow –I really want to go to that school, then you don’t fully understand how long the student decision-making process can take or how varied and individualized the journey can be.

Nine in ten education researchers begin their journey without knowing where they want to attend school. They can spend weeks, months or even longer coming to the conclusion that they even want to attend school at all. But this can actually be good news for you. Your prospects are open-minded and willing to hear what you have to say. They’ll listen to you as you engage, entertain and educate them. But you need to appeal to them with really good content that is useful and interesting and finds them wherever they happen to be along their decision-making journey.

In the very first phases of their journey, your prospects are not searching for you because they don’t know about you. They may be just beginning to explore the industries and careers that your school supports, but not your individual school or its brand. That is why you need to create quality content and advertising messages that appeal to your prospects wherever they happen to be on their journey and online.

It’s time to think outside the search box© and follow students from interest to enrollment. As prospects progress closer to becoming students, they will search. When they do, you want your school name and all you have to offer to be a familiar presence. Your prospects’ queries will begin to shift towards your brand as their journeys progress. That’s why you need to build that brand right now.

Let the #HigherEdGeeks at Effective Student Marketing show you how. We’ll teach you how to think outside the search box.

~Andy Kelley