Attracting students to your institution, qualification or training program is a constant battle for credibility and visibility. Your online presence is increasingly important in shaping your perceived value to prospective students and adult learners.

Creating targeted microsites to showcase courses and combining these microsites with a unique Top-Level Domain (TLD) like .courses is a clever way to cut through a competitive higher education market.

 

How do students choose education and training?

Education and training helps people achieve a multitude of personal and career goals. The kind of courses they are drawn to varies.

While it is a purchasing decision, choosing a course doesn’t come down to cost alone. Investing in education, training and professional development also involves people’s emotions, perceptions of value and risk, and social capital.

The decision-making process will likely include trusted friends, family and colleagues—as well as independent research in the form of online searching and browsing.

According to the Pew Research Center, 88 percent of American adults used the internet in 2016. This is an increase of almost 40 percent since 2000.

The question is, how effectively is your organization’s website tapping into the motivations of different learners? How well does it convey all the benefits and nuances of the specific courses your online visitor is looking for?

 

Is your website sending the right message?

Success in the higher education, vocational training and the learning and development market means having a polished and integrated approach to marketing.

A well-structured, mobile-responsive website that is on-brand and integrated with other channels—like social media—is a must-have. It creates trust and brand recognition, but you need to do more to engage the audience.

Writing about how innovation can help brands grow in a crowded category, Martin Moore from research firm, Nielsen says targeting smaller audiences can be an effective tactic.

“The challenge of media fragmentation matched with the opportunity provided by big data have come together to give brand managers the ability to target specific “micro” audiences with more tailored messaging, resulting in more efficient growth,” Moore said.

Survey responses from students have shown that many feel higher education websites are hard to navigate in order to find the information needed.

Different people need different types of information, depending on what they want to study,how a course is structured and how it is delivered. Despite these specific requirements, many institutional websites present information in a one-size-fits-all format.

Increasing the number of quality, digital touch points in your marketing mix could give you a competitive edge.

 

Attract more learners to targeted courses

One way to target a smaller pocket of potential students is to create a branded content site that lives outside of your company or institutional homepage. This is usually described as a microsite.

A microsite is a fantastic way to gain additional eyeballs and deliver more content for people doing online research. You could use a microsite to launch new courses or to boost the level of detail available on your most popular study options.

A separate website enables you to present selected courses more creatively than your main site might allow—giving you scope to address unanswered questions or showcase content like videos, quizzes or photo galleries that don’t easily work within the constraints on your main site.

Consider using a unique Top-Level Domain (TLD) like .courses to help your microsite campaign truly stand out, especially if you want to push prospective students to your course through traditional marketing methods. Think along the lines of; history.courses, phd.courses or even minimalism.courses.

Combined with unique, engaging content, a microsite can bring new life to your efforts, allowing you to promote a specific range of courses.