The world going digital is old news now, but the nature of your business can dictate how quick or slow this transition should be. However, what does it really mean to “go digital” for a business like yours? When we say “digital”, we are referring to the interactions that take place in the online realm – all the way from websites to social media, including the platforms used to access them.
Though various definitions exist due to its sheer vastness, digital media comprises of anything that can be created, viewed, distributed, modified, and preserved on electronic devices. Some examples are computer programs and software, digital imagery, digital video, web pages and websites, including social media; data and databases; audio, and e-books. Digital media is distributed online via social, mobile, analytics and cloud platforms.
Education consultants around the world are using some form of digital media or another. The most common platform among them is usually a website, which means they are already using one of the best forms of digital media available. Unknowingly, many of them are unaware of the marketing possibilities of a website. It should be the number one tool of your online promotion and the ultimate brand statement of your services. The same is applicable to social media.
Evolving digital media
The digital landscape is vast and changing all the time, making it even more important to keep track of such trends and use it smartly. Before getting into more details, visualize this landscape as thoroughly as you can.
A digital media strategy does not necessarily need to have all the elements that make up “digital” but just the right ones that will propel your business further.
With the use of desktop gradually fading, mobile users are growing more rapidly. Social media is also evolving. There was a time when written content was king, but now video content is taking over. Due to faster internet connectivity, videos can be downloaded quicker than before and allow more freedom to express. In videos, you can literally display how your product or service works, besides giving clients a more comprehensive insight of your business, and thereby winning their trust.
These days, most people prefer to view short videos on the internet that are creative, engaging and informative. If you have a website, make sure it’s mobile-friendly and able to stream videos easily. Act now to save later!
Search Trends by students for Study Abroad information online and how being found with these information can boost business presence. (If possible search volume and data)
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A recent survey conducted by ICEF monitor included responses from more than 5,400 prospective students in 33 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and Latin America. While, there is still demand for print communications, online medium use is increasing by greater numbers.
Even though emails remain one of the more popular mediums for online communication, many students are using social networks to research and compare information about their education needs. The survey shows that the United States remains the most searched study destination, followed by the United Kingdom and Australia at 33.5 %, 27.2 % and 17.2 % percent respectively.
Google’s research finds that 9 out of 10 prospective students do not know which school they want to attend at the beginning of their search.
Here is an opportunity for you to guide clients in this endeavor by becoming an active member of social networking sites. Registering or opening a page is the easy part. Therefore, before jumping onto the bandwagon, do some research to find out which social media will match your business outreach.
If you are looking to give a visual representation of your services, networks like Instagram and Pinterest may work for you. Otherwise, you can use big names like Facebook to build a story around your brand or Twitter for short messaging and linkages.
Google’s research also found that courses on engineering, health & medicine, business and management are top online searches, but it must be borne in mind that these can change over time. Students from different countries and regions will undoubtedly have varying preferences when it comes to education.
For education counselors, it is important to know the trends as well as the reasons behind it. By regularly subscribing to such data, you can make changes to your digital strategy with real time information. Staying relevant is the key to a good digital strategy!
Website as a gateway to your services
Nearly all businesses have a website these days. However, just having a site is not enough. It requires a thorough business plan to make it perform optimally. It is the first thing your clients will see and learn about your services as well as the sort of education providers you know. Being online, it is able to connect your business with the rest of the digital savvy world. Good design, development, and content are equally important.
As much as it is important to have a good website, it is even more so to study its statistics. In the beginning, your website may not be so active, but as the traffic gradually grows, it becomes crucial to keep track of how and where people are engaging with the site. The statistics will indicate what you should do or avoid in your overall digital strategy. Tools like Google Analytics provide you the statistical insights required to improve your business. It tells you how visitors find and use your site, and how to keep them coming back.
Content & Copy writing
If you want to engage with clients, build trust, or simply grow your business, generating excellent content based on research and insight will do the trick. Like anything that requires serious attention to detail, the effort that you put in building your website content, both text and visual, will determine the strength of your services.
When the internet was introduced, developers and business owners paid less attention to content. However, time has proven otherwise! You may be communicating to your clients in a different way but it has not changed the fact that people want to read quality content and not just any effortless mumbo-jumbo.
Live Chat Services
Use this option in your website so that your clients can get a more personalized response from you. Most people find one-one-one communication more trustworthy. If you do not yet have a live chat service on your website, ask your web developer to make one for you. Subscription-based live chat softwares can also be integrated using plug-ins some websites. Talk to your web developer for more details. However, be prepared to answer client queries on a daily basis.
Most websites these days have a form they expect potential clients to fill, in the hope of capturing email addresses and other relevant information. However, is this enough to grow your business?
The way it normally works is someone visits your website and interacts in a way that you are able to capture his/her name and contact details. They are either signing up to receive more information from you or partaking in a giveaway or competition prize you may be offering. This is an integral part of your overall digital strategy, so be as creative as you can be.
As an education counselor, you are mostly catering to young people who are planning to go to college. You also know that they are visiting your website looking not just for the information they need, but are more likely to stick around and give their contact details, in return for something that makes sense to them or will aid them in their endeavor.
Why Social Media Presence is Important and just Facebooking is not enough?
Social media is a global networking platform to share ideas, exchange information, and interact online. When a business decides to have a social media presence, it helps cut the cost of offline promotions and build a genuine story around your brand. It has also given the impetus to many startup businesses. Social media platforms are many and you must decide which ones may work best for you. Facebook may be a good platform to communicate, but it may not be the complete solution to your business needs.
LinkedIn Profile as a proof of Credibility
For professionals, having a LinkedIn profile certainly helps. Unlike other social networking sites, LinkedIn connects professionals with each other –from job candidates and industry experts to business partners. It is almost like having an online CV that is always on display.
This is a way to bolster your business by letting people, including peers, know about the sort of work you have done in the past and are currently doing. It gives credibility to you personally as well as to your business. Most people in your network will be peers, business partners or those you have worked with in the past.
LinkedIn is also a good way to learn what others are doing, even if they happen to be your competitors. Its basic idea is to make professionals more productive by connecting them to people, jobs, industry news, updates and insights, so use it wisely.
Google Business Presence
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses that helps manage your online presence via Google. You can manage information, interact with clients, and eventually understand and expand your digital presence.
When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, make sure they get access to information like opening hours, website, and street address. You can read and respond to reviews from your customers, and post photos that show what you do.
You can view insights on how customers search for your business and where they are coming from. You can even see information like how many people called you directly from the phone number displayed.
Facebook events for seminar invitation
Unlike earlier perceptions, social media is more than just “social” now, which is why it is being taken more seriously by businesses lately. Avoid the mistake of thinking that social media is just a passing trend. If you have a business or even a personal page on Facebook, it allows you to create events and share among your network.
Besides promotion for your event, it is also a good way of figuring how many people are interested, planning to attend, and so on. A step further and you can even advertise your event for a reasonable amount, thus exposing your expertise and services to a wider audience. Facebook provides statistical insights as well, giving you a clear idea of what is working and what is not. Use these stats to target your audience accordingly.
Simply creating an event and expecting people to attend is not enough. It is more beneficial to create your events based on page insights and client behavior. For instance, if you are hosting an education seminar, do research on the kind of people who attend such seminars and what they expect from it.
Other Digital Mediums to expand business presence
If you have been using the internet regularly, you must be familiar with the rectangular ads that appear on websites, videos and other mediums. These are banner ads! If it is creative and placed properly, it can do wonders for your business by prompting a call to action immediately.
Since the nature of the banner ad is that it normally disturbs what you are already doing online, it needs to be very creative and discreet at the same time. Moreover, the call to action must be strong enough for the viewer to pause over it, albeit briefly, and eventually click it.
For maximum impact and lead generation, banner ads need to target viewers with a relative message to what they may already be doing online – social networking, researching or simply enjoying a video. YouTube is a good medium to display your banner ads since it is a video channel and you can precisely target viewers based on their video preferences.
As mentioned earlier, video content is gradually taking over written content on the internet. Any digital strategy that does not include videos is doomed to fail, perhaps not entirely, but it will leave a big gap in your overall business outreach.
There is hardly anything more impactful than highlighting your business with the help of a video. A video about your business, not just in terms of what you do, but a creatively crafted message that can establish an emotional connect with your viewer is a must-have.
With more people around the world opting to use their mobile phones to access the internet and even more so to watch videos, having powerful video content makes sense. Once your video is ready, the next logical step is to think of the mediums you will use to distribute it online. Again, Youtube comes to mind. It is a part of Google and the keywords you use in the video will help tremendously during online searches, making it more convenient to reach your audience.
A web-based-seminar can be a lecture, presentation, workshop or even a seminar that you can transmit live over the internet by using video conferencing software. Since it is a live telecast, you can give, receive and discuss information in real-time, same as a physical meeting in your office. You can even send and receive documents, audio, and applications.
If your clients are in another city or country, using a webinar to explain your service in real time can be a very productive way to gain trust. In return, they get their queries answered in time and clear any doubts they might have.
Time to go digital for all the right reasons!