To promote or not to promote online? Universities in times of COVID.

Quarantine caused by COVID-19 affected the lives of billions of people in the world. The businesses which could -  switched to remote collaboration, schools and universities had to quickly adopt distance learning tools. Many ed-tech and entertainment companies opened a free access to their courses, podcasts, and video broadcasts, allowing people to obtain new skills, deepen into their specialization and in general learn something new.
Shrinking pool of applicants, overreliance on one region for student recruitment as well as suspension of travel is forcing many educational institutions to reconsider their student recruitment strategies and mechanics. The question is in the speed and the flexibility to adopt changes. How can universities quickly adapt to the new environment?

To promote or not to promote online? Universities in times of COVID.

Stand out and build trust

At times of high uncertainty when other universities are hesitant to act, stand out, communicate with prospective applicants, redirect your offline marketing budget to online operations. Applicants are still there, they are as uncertain as you are and you can reach out to them, while other institutions are observing and waiting. Holding their hand through these tough times will make them trust you much more and help in building that relationship. So when the time comes and applicants are ready to make their decision, the chance is higher that they will choose someone they trust, someone they know, someone, who has been around in difficult times and will support them in their learning process. Not doing anything now will not only jeopardize the 2020 recruitment cycle, but dim the 2021 autumn intake prospects. And in 2021 your institution will compete with much ‘hungrier for applicants’ universities and colleges.  

Bring peers on board

We just can’t overestimate the power of peer to peer advice and influence these days. And in terms of visual and having that peer to peer connection  there is nothing more powerful at the moment than Instagram. There are millions of micro influencers with 10-30K very loyal followers. They share their daily routines, their dreams, difficulties, their life stories. Their followers trust them. Collaborating with influencers can help institutions show prospective students how they are learning online, the way the teaching process works, amount of support the institution provides and later on: what it is to live in that city, how it’s like to walk on campus, that it is safe and international students are welcome there. It is not about telling, it is about showing and communicating the institutional values through student peers in their language. 

At StudyQA we are always happy to brainstorm on the suitable digital campaign to reach your marketing and enrollment targets. Please reach out to our Head of Partnerships - Victoria @ v.umnova@studyqa.com to discuss the options.