Quick marketing wins for universities

Marketing can be a time-intense and slow process. While we definitely think that you should have a long-term marketing strategy in place, there are some fairly quick things you can do to improve your digital marketing in a few small steps. Focus in this post: marketing for universities, their courses and research centres.

Optimise your page for mobile use: when designing or updating a website, we often forget to check how it looks on mobile devices. That can be a problem, especially when you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience who are more likely to find you through their smartphone (aka prospective students) or when people find you through social media which is mostly accessed via mobile phones. Whether you want to reach new students or spread your research findings far and wide, a mobile-friendly website is a must.

Introduce your team: universities are often big organisations and can feel quite anonymous (especially in times of Covid). Why not show your friendly faces to the world and introduce who you are? A picture and some text are enough (and if you have a little bit more time and colleagues who are willing why not let them introduce themselves via a short video?). Whether it’s admin staff, lecturers or researchers, people want to get to know you.

Showcase successes of staff AND students: do you know a student who has just celebrated a personal success? Or has one of your staff members just published that book/article/report that they’ve been working on for the past year? Let the world know. (Don’t forget to ask for permission, though.) Not only will your staff and students feel appreciated and valued, you’re also showing the outside world that you are pursuing a culture of community and mutual support.

Answer the most important questions: surely, there are questions that you get asked again and again…by students, staff, people interested in your research centre. Make a list and answer each in a blog post. You’ve likely answered these questions in emails before, so no need to start from scratch! Find your well-written emails and modify them to suit a blog post. There is a wealth of content and blog posts here for you to put out and promote. Benefit: the next time someone asks you these questions, simply refer them to the blog post and safe yourself a lot of time. (There is a whole approach centred around this – read about TAYA.)

Student and staff testimonials: being reviewed online and potential students/colleagues checking out your university before they even start is normal – dare I say it common sense – nowadays. Marketing for universities should make use of that and work with it. Why not create testimonials and make sure you present them in the best light? Ask around among your students and staff to get a short quote on what they enjoy about being at your institution/course. Post it, ideally with a picture of the person.

Have conversations: feeling disengaged and disconnected from your students/staff/the world in general? Try to run a quick poll on your social media channels inquiring what you can help people with today. Instagram has a handy poll function in its story feature, but it can also be done easily on Facebook or Twitter as a normal post.

Behind the scenes: why not share a picture or short video of everyday life in your department? Authenticity and transparency are key values in marketing. Show how research is made, who is involved and why you are doing it. Humanise it. If your visuals don’t look top of the class – good. You don’t want to seem too polished.


Do you have a bit more time?

“A typical day at xyz” Get your staff and/or students involved in making a video about everyday life at your institution. What does a typical day as a student look like? Or what does the research assistant do on an average workday? All you need is a camera/smartphone and someone willing to put themselves out there.

Graphical abstracts When you’re a researcher, you get asked constantly what your research is about which can quickly get annoying (especially if your topic requires some explanation). Have you ever thought about a graphical abstract? Is there a way to create an infographic style visual that can explain your research? These are great for sharing your project online and helping people understand what you do. Top tip: if you want to go all the way, try a short and snappy video abstract – it’ll definitely make you stand out from the crowd.

Need help with anything or have questions about marketing for universities? Let us know, we can help.