More than a thousand engineering institutions and about 200 B-Schools had to shut down their operations last year due to shortage of students.
Many colleges across India lack the minimum number of students for functioning despite providing the best infrastructure and amenities. Even if they manage to somehow run the classes, on campus placements seem a far fetched hope. Ironically, companies are looking for more students but can't find more. An interesting dichotomy prevails in the Indian higher education space.
Let us come back to the topic - Enrolment. The institutions with resources have followed conventional marketing methods - large newspaper ads, radio jingles and even TV. How have they fared? I do not know. Mostly they may have worked.
My previous job was with an online assessments firm, which helped educational institutions find campus placements with top companies. I got an opportunity to look at the enrolment problem closely. Given my recent association with Inbound Marketing - it looks like there is an answer to the problem. Here are some of the reasons, I think, why?
1) Show Target Audience what they want
Inbound Marketing helps you project your brand in the right way and in front of the right people, unlike traditional media which is 'spray and pray'. Targeted audience increases the chances of conversion, thereby generating return on investment.
2) Diligence of Students and Opportunity to Counsel
Choosing a college is a process and may take some time. Students these days go through the website, check for the professors, social media presence and much more. Inbound Marketing can help you reach out to the students at each of these stages in a personal way. Additionally, students choosing colleges require support and counsel. The Inbound process can ensure that the students are regularly given the right information that helps them progress towards their objectives.
3) Digital is natural to Students
Have you ever seen a youngster without a digital device? Inbound marketing predominantly uses digital media and online channels to unleash campaigns. Thus, there is an opportunity to engage prospective students in their natural habitat. Almost every youngster is on at least one of the social media channels. This makes it even more essential to utilize the channels and reach out to the students.
This is all I have learned in my brief association with Inbound Marketing and would love to add more with time.
If you are a college owner and are confronting similar problems, I request you to mention them in the comments below.