Gary Peeling, Managing Director, Where The Trade Buys

Marketing is a vital, but difficult, process for any sector. While it may be more heavily attributed to sales-based sectors, marketing has become increasingly important in the education sector over the last decade.

As young people look to the future of their education, they have so many options to choose from. How do you make your establishment stand out as the wisest choice?

A good marketing campaign will do just that, but it’s important not to fall into any of these common marketing pitfalls:

Uninspiring language

Many students seek to take courses and degrees in language and marketing, so it’s crucial that you don’t make a bad impression on this front! Opting for dull, boring language in an advert or marketing piece is a sure-fire way to turn prospective students away. Who wants to learn in a boring, same-old environment?

It’s the ever-present teacher’s dilemma, but you need to make education exciting! Words like “succeed”, “achieve”, and “support” are all fantastic when talking about education, but don’t be afraid to show off your facilities to get students excited to attend. “State-of-the-art”, and “unparalleled” are great ways to describe the services and equipment you have on site to bolster the learning experience.

Aside from this, don’t fall into the trap of being tempted to use “trendy” language. On-trend language is on-trend because it is used as part of a generation’s identity. Hearing it used by another generation, or an outside establishment, can seem like a cringey attempt to be “down with the kids”. At best, people will laugh at it; at worst, people will feel patronised by the obvious sales-style ploy.

Bad quality photos and images

Prospective students will be spending a lot of time at your college or training centre. The last thing they want is to spend the majority of their time in a run-down, cramped, or otherwise unpleasant building. Your building might be none of these things, but it will look like that if you publish low-quality, badly-taken photographs of the site! People equate a poor-quality image as a reflection of what it is showing.

In fact, digital agency Bright North revealed in a study that a poor quality image will reduce the chance of someone picking you over a competitor or different establishment. Students want to be proud to attend your college or training centre, so show them that you are proud of it too. Invest in some good-quality images.

If you are a university or other education centre where students may be moving to live close by or boarding, it would be wise to show some pictures of the area too. Landmarks, impressive buildings, sights to see — let them see where they will be spending their time!

Being aloof to social media

Social media platforms are a fantastic marketing opportunity for all sectors, and particularly for the education sector. After all, your main audience are heavy social media users — SUMO Heavy Industries revealed that 72% of people use social media every single day.

Make sure your college or training school has a social media presence via the top platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here you can post updates to current students, share success stories and achievements, as well as field questions quickly from prospective students.

Plus, with live-stream features, you could even hold a Q&A session that would allow prospective students from further afield learn more about the school without having to make a long trip to visit.

Ignoring older techniques

It can be tempting to embrace all the new technology when it comes to marketing. You want to look up-to-date and cutting-edge, right? Yes, and using technology is a great way to do this, but don’t neglect the power of traditional techniques. They certainly have their place in marketing campaigns, particularly at physical events like open days.

According to one university study into print adverts and digital adverts, print adverts had the most advertising effectiveness. The study took into account how long someone looked at the advert, how much information they absorbed, and how likely they were to respond to the advert.

Another survey into the differences of print and digital adverts showed that 82% of people trust print adverts, compared to only 25% trusting online pop-up adverts.

It’s certainly worth investing in printed material for open days, as visitors are more likely to recall information from them.

Make your marketing campaign not only stand out from the crowd, but streamlined and effective with these top tips!

Gary Peeling, Managing Director, Where The Trade Buys

About Where The Trade Buys: Offering a speedy printing service for large and small businesses. The company provides has a range of printed products, such as the entertaining and event-popular selfie frame, banners and much more.

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

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We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

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If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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