For schools of all sizes, rethinking a marketing strategy to include a greater online presence is a big but essential first step in reaching new customers. But choosing the right partner to guide you through the process, clarify and implement online strategies successfully, and offer insights on how to maintain that success over time and in changing markets is just as important.
Finding a good fit with a skilled marketing team can be a daunting exercise. It seems like every agency touts its expertise in nearly every discipline and filtering the truth from the buzz can be challenging. If you’re looking for help with your online marketing efforts and need a partner who can hit the ground running, there are a few essential qualities that consistently separate the great from the good.
Industry experience. Every industry has its own particular nuances. Choosing a partner without specific and demonstrable experience in higher education marketing can be an expensive proposition. Avoid paying for someone else’s learning curve and go with an experienced team who speaks the same language, can leverage industry insights, and deliver immediate results.
A collaborative spirit. There’s a big difference between a vendor and a partner. Select an agency that’s engaged, collaborative, honest, and direct. Remember, you’re searching for a professional partner who can provide smart recommendations, strategies, and online marketing tools you may not have considered yourself. Choose a team that can offer a dynamic exchange of ideas, give some push-back when it’s appropriate, but one that will always respect your wishes in the end.
Customized solutions. The best marketers realize that no two clients are the same and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. As you vet potential partners, give weight to those who listen to your unique needs, understand your school’s vision and values, will respect your budget constraints, and offer creative solutions. If you think you’re being offered a cookie-cutter approach, ask your team to support its strategy with objective data, facts, and case-studies.
Data-driven results. The wonderful thing about online marketing is that it’s a highly data-driven business. Marketing partners should be able to offer key performance metrics regularly that support their strategies and prove success. No jaw-dropping technology or brilliant creative can replace quantifiable and trackable results. Don’t settle for anything less.
Robust technology. There’s no getting around it — online marketing is a complex business. Constant SEM bid changes, customized campaigns, targeted advertisements, and ongoing analytics require advanced software tools and the right people to manage them. Take a critical look at the supportive technology your potential marketing partners use and how they prioritize technology in relation to their other services.
A full suite of online services. Though you may not need a wide range of services immediately, it helps to build relationships with teams you can grow with over time. If you have to scout out a new partner each time your needs change, you’ll end up with a patchwork of professionals in different time zones who don’t talk to each another and don’t understand the broader strategy. Whenever possible, keep essential online services at a single shop and focus on firms that offer these nine key services:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing, Privacy, and Compliance
- Lead Generation
- Lead Management
Remember, the very best professional partners should make your life easier. Successful firms and smart consultants support your goals by solving problems allowing you to focus on your core responsibilities. As online media and marketing become even faster, more mobile, and more ubiquitous, you’ll need a partner who can understand where your organization is now, help you anticipate where it needs to be, and work collaboratively on solutions that produce real results. If you’d like to find out more about how Enrollment Builders’ team of professionals can turn your school’s online marketing ideas into action, call us at 513-518-7824, or request information here.