What Do One Billion Smartphones Mean for Your Marketing?

More than a billion smartphones were sold in 2014 alone. If you don’t think your marketing approach needs to be mobile, think again! Particularly if you’re trying to attract students in the 18-29 demographic, your marketing and social media strategies need to be as mobile as they are. More than 90 percent of smartphone owners in that age range use social networking.

But it isn’t enough just to get in front of potential students while they scroll apps or check email on their phones. According to a recent study by University of Richmond professors James L. Narduzzi, Ph.D., and James D. Campbell, Ph.D., marketing in higher education might be more mobile than ever before, but it also remains essentially what it has always been: the creation of relationships.

Focusing on general marketing trends and those used at their own University, the authors note that “there is perhaps no other facet of continuing higher education that has undergone a more dramatic transformation than marketing.” They point to an array of strategies that can help you find future students such as dynamic content, inbound marketing, and visually driven content. But they maintain that while the next generation of marketing will look different than the last, they are “certain that the focus will remain on building and maintaining relationships.”

How to build relationships with your students via their smartphones:

Use responsive design: Whatever your message, on whatever devices your students and prospects use, it needs to seamlessly fit to the page. Content that cuts off and text that’s too small to read wastes your students’ time and your valuable marketing dollar. Responsive design means that your great website or digital ad looks great whether users view them on a laptop, tablet, Android, or iPhone.

Be visually appealing: When the screen is only the size of your palm, you have a great opportunity to make your images pop. Don’t blow it! Use crisp, clean design, and choose images of people, places and actions to which your students can relate. And don’t forget video. Your students aren’t static so your messages to them shouldn’t be either.

Be on the right apps: Find out where your current, former and future students spend their time online and be there. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat,  or any of the two million Google Display Network sites, if your students are there, you can be too.

Be interactive, not interruptive: If you want to engage and not alienate your students, you need to create content that users will want to read, view, listen to and share. Don’t know how? Contact the HigherEd Geeks at Effective Student Marketing and we’ll show you the way.

~Linda Emma