Having a well-developed and well-run Continuing Education program is essential to the long-term success of that program. Of course the longevity of your CE program also depends on your marketing efforts. Remember, if prospective students can’t find you, your program won’t be able to sustain itself.
If you want to drive traffic to your CE program and continue to engage existing students, developing an effective marketing plan is a necessity. Unfortunately, there is no one plan that is right for everyone, but if you focus on the tactics that fit your marketing goals, you will see the results you desire. No matter which tactics you choose, remember to keep your message consistent and don’t engage in too many varied marketing efforts. Over engagement and inconsistent messages not only results in confusion and frustration, it is also a waste of your marketing dollars.
When determining what should drive your CE program’s marketing plan, there are several elements you should consider including:
- Who is your target market and where is the best place to engage them, either through traditional platforms, like print collateral, or through digital platforms, such as social media and web banners?
- What are your marketing goals for the short-term and for the long-term?
- What are the most important messages you want prospective students to receive? What messages do you want current students to receive so they continue to use your CE program?
- What is the most effective way to drive traffic to your site and/or program and how can you continue to keep them coming back?
Once you have devised a marketing plan, and outlined the elements that should be part of that plan, determine how much of your marketing budget should go to each element. Do you want to spend all of you money on online marketing? Or should you spend 75% on online and 15% on traditional? In doing so, you can better ensure your budget is being spent in the most effective manner.
Of course driving traffic to your CE program is vital to its success, but what happens once they arrive at your site? The marketing can’t just stop there. Your site needs to be designed with the user’s experience in mind. Otherwise, you run the risk of having prospective students drop off as soon as they arrive.
If you keep the tips listed below in mind when building your site, your program will have a better chance of bringing in and keeping traffic for years to come.
- Design a homepage that is clean and modern. You don’t have to fill the entire page with content, instead feature the most important items on the homepage and make sure the navigation is easy to find and utilize.
- Don’t make someone have to scroll excessively down a page to find the information they are looking for, especially on the homepage. If more in-depth detailing needs to be provided, be sure to present it on a separate page and use bullet points for an easier read.
- Studies show that if someone has to click more than twice to find what they are looking for, they are more likely to drop off the page. Make information easily accessible and easy to find
- Ensure that your enrollment page is clear and concise. Not only should it capture all the information you need, but it should also be easy for students to use. The same goes for your class pages. Try to keep the learning curve of utilizing the site to a minimum.
By putting work in upfront on your site, program and marketing plan, before rolling it out, your CE program will have a greater chance of being part of the education landscape for the long haul. Ask yourself, what is driving my CE program?