INDUSTRIES

Higher Education Digital Marketing

Increase enrollment and build your school’s brand with proven strategies that generate more inquiries, more qualified applications, and more accepted offers.

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higher education digital marketing

Schools we’ve helped

Higher Education Marketing Services We Offer

Our unique, holistic approach to higher education digital marketing applies cross-disciplinary expertise to meet your enrollment and other marketing goals — so no matter your school’s specific tactical needs, you get a strategic framework that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Digital Marketing Strategy

Communicate your school’s unique value and reach more potential students across every digital touchpoint, with a comprehensive approach to digital marketing that applies proven strategies from today’s fastest-growing higher education brands.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services

Get found online by the prospective students who are most likely to apply to and enroll in your college. Our higher education SEO specialists help you stay on top of the ever-changing best practices of on-page, off-page, and technical search engine optimization to drive high-value traffic to your website and other online content.

Pay-per-click (PPC) Management Services

Pay-per-click (PPC) for higher education is expensive and tough to get right. We help schools turn the challenges of PPC into a competitive advantage through an innovative approach that harnesses cross-platform data to drive ad engagement and conversions while lowering costs.

Website Design & Development

Your college or university’s website should be the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. We design and build websites that attract, engage, and convert prospective students, influencers, donors, alumni, and other important online audiences, to ensure that your school thrives during challenging times.

Content Marketing

Tomorrow’s students consume more content online than any previous generation. Our content marketing for higher education services are based on a strategic framework that lets you identify, create, and capitalize on high-impact content opportunities that deliver real, measurable return on investment.

Email Marketing

Turn leads into enrollments with email lead- and yield-nurture campaigns that offer real value to your prospective students at every point in their buyer’s journey. Our email marketing strategy for higher education delivers targeted content to increase engagement, build trust, and pave the way to more accepted offers.

Video Production Services

Not only is video the medium of choice for many of tomorrow’s students, it is also proven to increase website engagement and maximize SEO. Our video production services for colleges and universities range from animation and documentary styles, to lifestyle, drone, and b-roll footage, so you can deliver more of the content your audience craves.

Social Media Services

Social media can be a gold mine for connecting with prospective students — or it can be a black hole for your marketing budget. We help schools understand where, when, how, and why to use social media to boost enrollment without wasting time or money on outdated efforts that won’t pay off with the next generation of students.

35
+
higher education institution clients
100
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programs in top 3 ranking on Google organic results
300
%
increase in PPC ‘apply now’ conversions
850
%
increase in leads for higher ed clients

Who We Serve

What works for the Ivy League may not work for a regional liberal arts school. We specialize in customized growth and brand-building strategies to meet the unique challenges and goals of a wide range of colleges and universities.

  • Private and public institutions
  • For-profit and nonprofit colleges
  • Online, in person, and hybrid academic models
  • Regional, national, and international student bodies
  • Big names and lesser-known schools
  • Highly selective universities and more widely accessible schools
  • Four- and two-year colleges
  • Specialized and technical schools and programs
  • Graduate and professional development programs
  • Adult and non-traditional student bodies
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Hear it from our clients

Vital provided my team with the guidance and expertise we needed in order to maximize synergies across our omnichannel network of digital transformative initiatives.
Andy Kauffman
Digital Marketing Strategist, University of San Diego Online
Before Vital, we struggled to have the discipline to measure results and quantify our paid strategies. Now we know exactly what's working. Better yet, Vital pushes us to continually improve, so we're able stay competitive in a really tough enrollment market.
Kim Downey
Digital Marketing Strategist, UMass

Recognition for Our Work 
in Higher Education

Essential Reading

Top 10 Digital Marketing Strategies to Boost Enrollment for Higher Education

What’s in the eBook? This 30-page guide is your digital marketing playbook for attracting more qualified applicants, building your academic brand, and bridging the gap between acceptance and enrollment to fill more seats and grow your school’s programs.

Get the Ebook

Higher Education Marketing Challenges We Solve

Ensure that your school thrives in the increasingly competitive higher education marketing landscape, with a proven, holistic approach to attracting the student body of the future.

#1. Communicate Your School’s 
Brand Value
Academic reputation is a top factor for 74% of students deciding where to go to college. We work with higher education marketers to make sure their digital presence authentically communicates their school’s brand value as an academic leader.
#2. Increase Brand Awareness
There are over 1,500 accredited, four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and most students start their college search with schools they’ve already heard of. We leverage digital marketing strategies to increase awareness of your school amongst the students who are most likely to be a good fit for your student body.
#3. Generate More Online Leads
Hard truth: The most common lead-generation tools used by higher education marketers fail to capture the vast majority of potential students who aren’t yet ready to apply or even fill out a form for more information. We work with schools to boost enrollment by capturing and nurturing more top- and middle-of-funnel leads.
#4. Develop Lead- and Yield-Nurture Campaigns
More applicants are good. Acceptances are even better. Enrollments are best of all. Our higher education lead-nurture and yield-nurture campaigns are strategically designed to connect with prospective students at every stage of investigation and consideration to maximize applications and fill more seats.
#5. Boost Enrollment Numbers, Not Just Applications
In today’s rapidly changing digital world, it’s all too easy for your school’s formerly tried-and-true enrollment marketing strategies and tactics to lose their effectiveness. Our higher education enrollment marketing specialists do more than just stay on top of trends — they constantly innovate new approaches that your competition hasn’t thought of yet.
#6. Improve Website Engagement
Tomorrow’s students are spending more time online than ever before — but they may not be spending it on traditional college or university websites. We help schools solve the website engagement dilemma with enriched features and binge-worthy content that gives students a reason to linger longer, learn more, and envision themselves enrolled in your school.
#7. Understand Your Prospective Students’ Customer Journey
Choosing a college is a complicated process, involving multiple factors from academic reputation to location and price. Most higher education marketers know a lot about why students choose to enroll in a given school; we conduct interviews and build buyer personas to help you understand how they make their decisions, so you can reach them in the right place, with the right content, at the right time.
#8. Pivot to Virtual Experiences
The shift from in-person to online experiences is about more than health and safety — it is rapidly becoming the norm. We help colleges and universities capitalize on this sea change, with virtual experiences that increase your reach and bridge the gaps between interest, application, and enrollment.
#9. Retain and Strengthen Alumni Relationships
Alumni relationships are key to the health of your school, and the strength of your alumni network is a direct decision-making factor for many prospective students. Our digital marketing strategies for higher education help you stay connected to this important audience for fundraising, brand-building, and enriching the value of your offering.

Why choose Vital as your higher education digital marketing partner?

A deep understanding of your audience. Expertise in digital marketing for colleges and universities. A comprehensive approach that gets results.

  • Expand your pool of qualified applicants
  • Increase enrollment rate
  • Reduce rates of “summer melt”
  • Improve website engagement
  • Strengthen brand awareness and reputation
  • Leverage alumni relationships
  • Grow high-value academic programs
Meet the Team

Our Process

We combine higher education expertise with a foundation in digital marketing for some of today’s most innovative B2B brands to create an unconventional approach to increasing your school’s enrollment rates.

Step one: Intake and assessment
Our higher education specialists take stock of your digital marketing performance with a baseline assessment of your current online presence and marketing activities.
Step two: Discovery and research
We conduct a thorough discovery into your school’s brand, your digital marketing goals, your audience, and your major competitors.
Step three: Plan the work
Based on your goals and your budget, we create a plan for building your digital marketing foundation and a monthly calendar for tactical deployment, with key performance indicators (KPIs) to define and measure success.
Step four: Work the plan
Our team of strategists, designers, developers, and writers partners with your internal marketing team to create digital assets, build your content library, and execute your plan.
Step five: Measure, improve, repeat
We measure and report on your customized KPIs weekly and use the data to adjust tactics and improve performance. Our expertise allows us to balance the patience necessary for long-term improvements with the agility to respond immediately to fast-moving metrics.
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Our Work

Why is Digital Marketing Important for Higher Education?

If you work in higher education marketing, you already know what you’re up against. Declining enrollment numbers make competition for new students fiercer than ever. But overall enrollment statistics only tell part of the story. The way tomorrow’s students are going online now is so different from the way they did a decade ago, if you’re not ahead of the curve, your brand risks becoming invisible to exactly the people you need to reach most.

Add that to:

  • Rising costs
  • Disruptive competition
  • Shifting perceptions about the value of higher education

And those are just a few of the reasons the need for effective digital marketing is more urgent than ever. Good digital marketing can work for any higher education brand, from selective liberal arts schools to regional universities to hybrid and online-only colleges. Done right, it will reinforce your school’s reputation as an academic leader, while growing your enrollment numbers.

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The higher education marketing agency that combines fanatical discipline with inspired creativity.

The Vital offices are filled with marketing nerds who can fill you in on the latest search engine algorithm updates, or wax poetic about the virtues of open source content management systems (CMS). We’re also home to some of the most innovative creative minds in the business. More often than not, the nerds and the creatives are one and the same. We get a kick out of solving problems your competitors don’t even realize they have. And we love to talk shop.

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Let’s Talk

Ready to start your school’s digital marketing or website redesign project? So are we! Let’s get the ball rolling. Our team will be in touch within 48 hours.

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