Marketing for universities: 8 great ways to attract more students

As a senior member of the staff at an educational institute, you appreciate the fact that it's never too late to learn. This is especially true when handling the business aspects of running the university or college. While there are many different factors to consider, you must not ignore the importance of student numbers. Without them, success in other areas is virtually redundant.

Admission fees are an integral feature in the formula for stable revenue generation. Sadly, without the right level of demand from students, your uni cannot provide the quality education that they deserve. Consequently, this could result in financial losses that force you to close the doors forever. So, marketing your venture in an effective manner is crucial.

Here are eight great ways to do it in style without breaking the budget or losing sight of what truly matters in the quest to support the workforce of tomorrow.

1| Master Branding

It can feel a little alien to think of your university as a business, but it is one. As such, branding needs to be consistent, appropriate, and attention-grabbing. As an educational institute, a professional brand image is essential. This could mean celebrating heritage and history or focusing on the contemporary vibe that you bring to the table.

Images and color schemes can set the tone for your entire marketing strategy. Meanwhile, you need to ensure that all marketing materials are closely linked. From business cards and posters to prospect booklets and magazine ads, consistency is key. Otherwise, it can be difficult for staff members to promote the uni with any cohesion.

As well as creating a great first impression, it satisfies students that interact with their uni via omnichannel links. In turn, your institution and courses will stand out from the crowd.

2| Know Your Place

In today's Higher Education climate, students can choose from hundreds of degrees across dozens of sectors. Some will select a college due to proximity, status, or personal preferences. However, many students actively seek universities that specialize in their industry. If yours is focused primarily on supporting the next generations of workers in a certain field, you should celebrate it.

Universities focused on media courses, for example, can create a community for creatives. Uniting realms of acting, TV production, publishing, creative writing, and music tech can work wonders. Students can leverage success from the network of creative people. In turn, it can inspire improvements across the board.

On a similar note, Ivy League schools will use different tactics compared to community colleges. Above all else, reaching the right audience can boost interest from potential future students.

3| Utilize Digital Strategies

Your university will primarily target members of a youthful demographic. In fact, even mature students are most likely to come from the millennial era. Your prospective leads are people that have grown up with digital communications and continue to use it on a daily basis. Therefore, it would be very naive to ignore the need for online marketing.

The support of a dedicated digital marketing agency that specializes in the educational sector is key. Building attractive websites that secure leads and contacts is crucial. However, it's a task that should be supported by SEO, social media, and a range of other online marketing tools. Visibility, credibility, and the ability to resonate with the audience are all essential features.

If nothing else, digital marketing and the subsequent communication funnels offer cost-effective solutions. For the sake of your budget as well as conversions, you must be online to shine.

4| Embrace Your Location

To attract more students, you need to think like a student. The content and quality of the degree on offer should be the priority for all students. For most young adults, though, the location of the university can add a great deal of appeal. If you are based in Ontario or another attractive destination, you should use this to your advantage. After all, it's an aspect that affects their daily lives.

A section dedicated to life in the region, with a particular focus on the entertainment and student-friendly rewards is key. You can also team up with the local authorities and tourist board to conjure up ideas of how to successfully promote your town as a hotspot. After all, more students in the local area can work wonders for the economy.

If a person is going to spend the next few years living in a new location, they need to know that their personal life will be enjoyable. Do not forget to highlight the benefits your location can offer.

5| Adapt To Modern Learning

In addition to modifying your approach to marketing, you must consider upgrading the teaching strategy. A growing number of students are interested in distance learning and part-time courses for a wide range of reasons. Therefore, adapting your university to the modern way of teaching and learning could be the key to winning more students. Moreover, the extra admissions are potentially unlimited.

There is no limit to how many people can receive the course teachings. Likewise, an extra tutor can be hired to complete marking and feedback assignments. Interactive learning module creators can enable your tutors to deliver engaging work that can be completed at a pace to suit the student. The flexibility it creates for students could make all the difference to their final choices.

Other benefits are the ability to translate the content or use modules that are graded via automated multiple-choice exams.

It opens the door for professionals to brush up their skills too.

6| Host Promotional Events

The significance of selecting the right degree at the right university is huge. All students appreciate this fact as it could help map out their entire future. Most students compile their shortlists following extensive online research. Still, the majority will be eager to visit a handful of universities. Holding open days for prospective students to see the campus and learn about the course structure is highly advised.

Promo events are a chance to prove why your uni is better than others. Meet and greet sessions with professors and lecturers offer extra insight. Likewise, students can ask questions about courses, modules, and more. It's also a chance to establish the idea of offering value to their lives, with promo gifts such as branded stationery. It borrows an idea from conventional business, but it works.

7| Seek Graduate Testimonials

Prospective students aren't foolish. Your marketing campaigns can have a telling influence on their decisions. But they will seek further vindication from impartial sources. The opinions of former students will subsequently form a key feature of student research. In turn, your alumni can become one of your greatest marketing assets. However, this is only true when they are utilized well.

Sending surveys to former graduates is a common practice, especially as this can now be achieved via email submissions. However, you can take this to another level by asking recent graduates to film video testimonials that provide value and insight. When prospective students gain a clearer vision of what to expect, amazing results can follow. Alumni can appear at promo days too.

For the best results, you must try to gain testimonials from students across multiple courses. A range of ages will be useful, while any uni offering distance learning should include online students.

8| Be Personal

Autonomous learning and self-discovery play key roles in the life of any Higher Education student. However, that shouldn't mean that they feel lost, alienated, or overawed by the work. Your uni needs to show that it'll be there to support students across every step of the journey. In addition to showing good accessibility, you must provide a personal touch. Students do not want to be “a number”.

Simple ideas like including their name in all emails and marketing campaigns can work wonders. When a genuine interest is shown, it can be useful to have the same member of staff handle all interactions. Alternatively, online interactions can be tracked, allowing the university to provide consistency. Even when the queries and application processes are conducted by multiple advisors or professors.

Besides, understanding what an individual wants from their degree allows you to focus on promoting the USPs that matter to them. Likewise, you can point them towards a more suitable course if required.


The growing number of universities on the market has created a fiercely competitive battle for students. Yet, with the right plans in place, there's nothing to stop your establishment from filling all available placements. Better still, when you acquire a large volume of applicants, you can reduce the risk of college dropouts after the first term.

It's never too early to think about revamping your branding, marketing, and operational elements. When you reach the right demographics and use the most appropriate platforms and tactics, success is assured. Most importantly, you need to build a solid and consistent strategy ASAP. Bring your internal and outsourced teams together at the earliest stage, it will make everything a lot simpler.

The rewards of getting it right will last for many years to come.