How ed-tech companies are taking the digital marketing route

As digital marketing redraws the rules of the game for companies and businesses, traditional and new-age businesses alike, ed-tech companies have not remained untouched by this trend. With technology being the common denominator between how ed-tech companies operate and how digital marketing works, the former would find natural affinity and familiarity with the latter. Even as Covid-induced lockdowns, closure of educational institutions and home stays had given an impetus to the ed-tech sector and indeed the entire ecosystem, ed-tech companies and online platforms haven’t stayed dependent merely on the ebb and flow of the pandemic. Even as the cost of customer acquisition – which had dipped by nearly 30-40% during the peak of the pandemic – would be on an upward path again, ed-tech companies are taking to digital marketing in a big way with a view to grow themselves and to expand their business and acquire new learner customers and patrons.

Of course ed-tech companies are striving very hard to meet the precondition of getting to know and understand their student/learner-customer demographics very well. And age is not the only demographic which determines the inclination and choice of a learner for a particular course or platform. Here are some of the ways in which ed-tech companies are taking the digital marketing route.

Content marketing a natural fit for learning content

That content remains the core of any learning process and curriculum cannot be disputed. As such, putting out snatches of relevant content in forms of blog posts, podcasts, case studies, infographics, videos etc on different online mediums including the website of the ed-tech company is a direct way to attract customers and patrons. At the same time, companies are also employing thorough keyword research so that suitable keywords related with the course content can be plugged into the promotional content.

SEO marketing enables content discovery

And inevitably, complementing content marketing, SEO has been a low-cost tool in the digital marketing toolkit of edtech players. While content marketing is contingent on the substance of the content per se, SEO employing proper keyword research determines the path of content discovery enabling the ed-tech company’s content and material to rank higher on Google and other search engines in an organic manner. At the same time, SEO also ensures that the website of the ed-tech company is designed and structured in a way that is not only easy to navigate and search by prospective students and learners but also has backlink profiles linked with websites of high authority and credibility.

Specific programs, not keywords driving PPC marketing

At the same time, ed-tech firms are not shying away from paid search modes such as PPC marketing. However, instead of using general terms as keywords as used in consumer products, ed-tech firms are employing campaigns structured around specific programs to rank higher on search engines and drive traffic to their websites. Since taking up an online course eventually is a bottom-of-funnel stage of a learner’s engagement journey with an ed-tech company, companies while bidding for high competition keywords – an expensive proposition – are also focusing on specific geographies and other related demographics.

Social media marketing popular and interactive medium

Given the nearly 24/7 social media culture which has become par for the course today, ed-tech players are leaving no stone unturned in leveraging this powerful digital marketing medium. For instance, a leading ed-etch platform launched a new learning challenge for people responding to which common people as well as celebrities and influencers posted videos of themselves displaying the acquisition of a new learning. Similarly, companies are also releasing sneak previews, teaser videos of their learning content on social media in order to excite the curiosity and interest of students and learners. The interactive nature of the medium with free flow of questions and answers, and comments apart from private messages have made social media a popular medium for online education platforms to catch the attention of learners.

Adopting influencer marketing – when teachers turn influencers

While celebrity endorsements have shown the way forward for some big names, ed-tech companies are also tapping into the power of teachers, former teachers, mentors, education enthusiasts and thought leaders to motivate and influence the decision of students and learners. By participating in frequently conducted Q&A sessions, online discussions, webinars and conferences, these teachers and experts – who command their own following – effectively serve as influencers for the company, directly or indirectly. As such, they help the company build credibility while also cementing the company as a brand in the hearts and minds of learners.

Video marketing as the omnipresent tool

Whether it is snippets of some actual course content, or an advertisement or campaign content for an ed-tech company, video marketing has been a part of nearly all the other forms of digital marketing channels used by ed-tech companies.

Email marketing starts off personal conversation with learners

With links to a virtual library of e-books and online content, some free and some paid along with a platform for discussion with a community of experts, the e-mail generates awareness, piques the interest of a prospective learner and prompts him to sign up for a course. Offers and discounts also help in getting onboard new learners. Online testimonials in the form of text, audio and videos have also been used by companies in this regard.

Affiliate marketing a concrete performance-based strategy

The more advanced and digitally-savvy ed-tech companies have even taken to affiliate marketing, a strategy involving multiple advertisers and publishers in which a payment is made only when a certain pre-negotiated end result such as installations, registrations and orders is achieved. While this cuts down on the unnecessary marketing expenses and helps bring focused and high quality traffic, it also gives the company a clearer view of which publishing channels are working and which are not for a given campaign.

So, riding on the need for upskilling and mid career-advancement courses in the larger context of a more digitizing work culture in addition to regular courses, these ed-tech firms are leaving nothing to chance. Digital marketing is turning out to be their gateway to growth, and indeed future.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Udit Verma
Udit Verma is CMO and Co-founder of Trackier

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