The COVID-19 pandemic rattled every industry, but Higher Ed feels particularly pinched—especially as the world waits to see what life will be like come this fall. As a result of stay-at-home mandates across the globe, Higher-Ed instruction moved entirely online this past spring, creating separation from the faculty and experiences that make each institution unique.
Who knows what will happen this fall? Some campuses may have to close permanently. Others will likely host a combination of in-person and online classrooms. Colleges are also concerned applicant numbers will dwindle, and many students may decide to take a year off. Institutions that rely heavily on out-of-state and international students may find some who want to attend classes on campus but are not allowed to travel.
As a result, major decreases in revenue will likely occur across all Higher Ed sectors. To take on this challenge, marketing strategies will need to go through dramatic changes. Gone are the days where reputations and basic marketing plans can generate a steady flow of applicants.
Expand Communication Channels to Reach a Wider Audience
Research of online search behaviors shows how interest in college programs may be on the back-burner as students focus on staying healthy. After a strong start to 2020, Google found that graduate-school search volumes declined 18% in March compared to 2019 before seeing a severe drop-off of 91% in April.
What’s needed in response to these trends is the expansion of the mix of communication channels so colleges and universities can reach a wider audience. To achieve this, Higher Ed institutions will need to update their tech stacks to support long-term virtual instruction and major school events.
Marketing teams will also need to refresh their brands to stand out among the competition and analyze market forecasts to strategize how the “new normal” will require innovative approaches to messaging that aligns with the times. As an example, it is now imperative to communicate COVID-19 updates and protocols to support students, parents, faculty and staff in their personal efforts to deal with the pandemic.
Looking Beyond 2020
In addition to managing what will happen this fall, the nature of how life has changed will force Higher Ed to keep predicting what will occur next year and beyond. More than likely, a strong digital presence and a sophisticated tech stack will play vital roles in supporting revenue goals.
To help you take on this challenge, R2i invites you to attend our next presentation of the R2insights Series: Higher Education & COVID-19. In this webinar, our speakers will examine the different scenarios Higher Ed will face this fall depending on how effectively the U.S. as a whole and regions within the country contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
We will also discuss the current state of COVID-19 on Higher Ed campuses and the implications this has on marketing teams. Here are some of the other insights you can gain:
What’s ahead in technology innovations that drive education processes
The new partnerships colleges and universities need to form with tech companies
What it takes to make education accessible to students without the latest technology
Finding the answers to these questions is key. Student journeys will likely split into more online enrollments, and student profiles will broaden. That means colleges and universities will need to look across the globe to increase their student populations.
Visit Higher Education: Accelerating the Virtual Learning Cycle to register for our webinar today. And if your college or university could use help in digitally connecting with students, contact us at www.r2integrated.com/contact.