Not-​for-​Profit Universities Boost Marketing of Online Programs

With the cost of college tuition rising steadily and the importance of training in the right field growing, more institutions are expanding their online offerings. New research shows these programs are popular with young adults. To attract students, not-​for-​profit educational institutions are employing a variety of digital and traditional marketing programs.

As colleges promote their online offerings, they should know that career advancement  (46%) and career changes (29%) drive most students to begin thinking about enrolling. In addition, the key trigger point for actually enrolling is all about money. 33% of potential students hope to qualify for a higher salary once they finish their programs. What makes the online courses most attractive is flexibility. Students like the ability to balance all commitments (68%) and ability to study anytime and anywhere (64%).

To promote their online programs colleges and universities should think digital and traditional. On a scale of 1–5, here is the effectiveness of several marketing channels ranked by current online students:

  •  TV ads 3.2
  • Direct mail 3.1
  • Radio ads 2.9

When it comes to online directories, dedicated sites like GradSchools​.com rate a 3.4 while posts and links on social media sites get a grade of 2.8. Online education marketers should also know that 69% of their students read a digital newspaper weekly and 62% tune to local radio stations.

Not-​for-​profit schools are also targeting a slightly different population than their for-​profit competitors. For the most part, not-​for-​profit schools serve white students under age 29.

The traditional delivery model of higher education is under threat because of rising costs and the types of curriculum being offered. Schools that market effective and convenient training and that can deliver graduates who meet the needs of today’s employers will be rewarded with higher enrollment.

[Source: Online College Students 2012. LearningHouse​.com. 2012. Web. 9 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.