Integrated Marketing Campaigns for Education Companies: A Planning Guide
Marketing campaigns for education companies are the heart of marketing and what people usually refer to when referencing marketing. Marketing campaigns are a series of marketing activities connected with a marketing strategy. They are the ads, emails, social media, and events that run at the same time to promote a product or brand.
The most successful campaigns are planned ahead of time and integrated, so there is time to create content and assets for the campaign that are consistent. Read on for a guide to planning integrated marketing campaigns for education companies, along with some education campaign examples.
Why is an Integrated Marketing Campaign for Your Education Company Important?
Integrated marketing campaigns are important because they reach your target audiences in many ways over a set period of time with a consistent look and message. People will need to see your marketing multiple times before they notice you, so consistency and relevancy are critical in marketing. Running integrated marketing campaigns gives you the opportunity to reach more people than one-off marketing, like sending scattered emails or Google PPC ads for a few weeks. An integrated marketing campaign allows you to be consistent in how people see your product or brand, which will help you get noticed and drive people to take action.
You can run multiple marketing campaigns at a time. Marketing campaigns should center around a target audience and related buyer personas. If your target audiences are different enough, you can run more than one marketing campaign at one time. For example, a marketing campaign to early education teachers would be different than a marketing campaign to university professors. Specific messages would appeal to each of them, and you would reach them in separate places and platforms.
Integrated Marketing Campaign Planning Process
Developing a marketing campaign doesn't happen overnight or even in a couple of weeks. It takes months to properly plan integrated marketing campaigns for education companies. So if you're creating a marketing campaign for your education company, keep in mind your sales cycles so that your marketing is ready at key buying times.
For example, if you're marketing to schools or higher ed institutions, you should start planning marketing campaigns in the spring, so your marketing will be in-market by the fall when schools start planning their budgets for the next school year.
Why do you need all of this time to create your marketing plans? Let's go over the steps to developing an integrated marketing campaign:
Step 1: Decide on your target audience.
This should be easy if you developed a marketing plan. Your marketing campaigns need to be created with your customer in mind, so it's vital that you identify your target audience and understand where you will be able to reach them with your marketing. For example, if you're targeting high school students, you need to be on TikTok. If you're targeting superintendents, you should attend conferences they attend.
Step 2: Determine your goals.
Your goals should also be referenced from your marketing plan. What marketing activities you run within your marketing campaigns will vary depending on your marketing goals. For example, if you're goal is to build awareness, you can create blog posts or videos about a topic related to your product or exhibit at conferences. If your goal is to generate leads or enrollment, you will want to run advertising online and optimize your product pages for SEO.
Step 3: Identify your marketing strategies.
Connecting your marketing activities with a marketing strategy will help ensure you're focused. For example, you might develop a marketing strategy to optimize your website for conversions if your goal is to generate leads. By identifying that marketing strategy, you can then focus and brainstorm how to improve your website when developing your marketing campaign.
Step 4: Create content.
Your marketing campaign will entail content in some form, whether it's videos, social media posts, emails, or landing pages. Map out all of the content you will need in your marketing campaign and then produce them, making sure that they are connected through a consistent message and visuals.
Step 5: Set up measurement tracking.
This part is often overlooked when developing a marketing campaign, but it's crucial to help you understand if your marketing campaign was successful. While you're creating your content and getting ready to launch your marketing campaign, determine how you will track its performance. If you're running offline ads, like radio, you might need to include short URLs that are unique to the ads. If you're running online ads, you might need to create custom landing pages and track URLs with UTMs. These may take technical coordination to implement.
How long are marketing campaigns?
Marketing is a long-term play. It takes people multiple times to see a brand or product before they realize it and take action. One of the biggest mistakes people make with their marketing campaigns is giving up too early. A marketing campaign needs to run for at least three months before you start to see results, sometimes six to eight months.
Your budget and your goals may determine the length of your marketing campaign. If you spend a lot in a short period of time, you'll be able to reach people quicker. If your budget is small, you can still be effective by efficiently reaching your target audience where they are over a period of time.
If you're running monthly events, try them four times. If you're posting on social media, post every day for a month. If you're running online ads, be prepared to spend money for three months. After you've run your marketing campaign for three to six months, look back at your measurement tracking. See what's working well or not and adjust.
Example Marketing Campaigns for Education Companies
There are many ways you can organize your campaigns beyond your marketing strategies. Here are three to explore:
Audience-Based Marketing Campaigns
Audience-based marketing campaigns are focused on reaching a particular group of people. For example, you might have a discount for veterans that you want to promote. Your campaign will center around those personas creating content and finding outlets that they are at during a time that makes sense for them.
For example, NexGenT is an IT training edtech company founded by Air Force veterans, and training fellow veterans to get jobs is one of their goals. Their marketing campaign targeting veterans includes a landing page on their website specific to veterans, PR about how they help veterans, and testimonial videos from veterans.
Event-Based Marketing Campaigns
Event-based marketing campaigns are organized around an event. The event can be something you host, like a conference or an information session. Or the event can be something happening within your business, like a new product launch. For these events, marketing campaigns are organized to reach people before, during, and after the events.
Training company, Linkage, hosts a women's leadership conference each year, and they run an integrated marketing campaign surrounding the event to promote the conference and the company. On their website, they promote the event on a landing page about their women's leadership services. They also share updates leading up to the conference through email and social media, like announcements about speakers, sponsors, and award winners.
Time-Based Marketing Campaigns
Time-based marketing campaigns are organized around a time of year or relevant cultural event. For example, a back-to-school campaign or enrollment cycles for private schools or colleges need marketing campaigns that are in-market at specific times.
Over the summer, UMass Lowell ran an integrated marketing campaign to build awareness leading toward fall enrollment, highlighting their low tuition. They ran billboards on highways near the university, display ads online, and social media posts.
How much time and planning are you putting into your marketing campaigns? If you're coming up with marketing ideas today and launching them a couple of weeks later, you are not planning your marketing properly into integrated marketing campaigns. Follow the steps outlined here to improve the success of your marketing campaigns for education companies.