Start a PPC Ad Campaign for Higher Education Marketing in 4 Steps

A common question we get asked is what channels and tactics universities should be including in their higher education marketing plans. If you haven’already, it may be time to consider adding Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to your marketing arsenal. PPC can help capture prospective students interested in programs similar to yours, but what goes into launching a successful campaign? We’re here to give you a quick checklist of what you need to set your university up for success.

4 Steps to Start a PPC Advertising Campaign for Higher Education Marketing

1. Design Conversion-Focused Landing Page 

The key to any successful PPC campaign is a conversionfocused landing page. Not sure what a landing page is? Our recent article outlines the importance of landing pages and the positive impact they can have on your admissions marketing campaigns.   

In constructing a landing page, the content should reflect the stage of the decision cycle that your prospective students are in. The content, design, and layout of the page should complement each other to inform and guide the prospective student toward your desired conversion action. Follow these higher education landing page best practices to help boost conversions.    

2. Determine Your Value Offer 

A strong value offer is necessary to entice prospective students to complete the contact form on your landing page. When deciding on a value offer, its important to ensure you are providing them something that is not only worth their time, but is also valuable enough for them to hand over their email address and phone number.  

In admissions and enrollment campaigns, we have seen great success with utilizing class profiles as a value offer. These allow prospective students to learn more about your current class and gauge whether or not they would be a good fit for your program. 

Here are some important rules to keep in mind for value offers: 
  • Keep it relevant: If a student is looking for more information on a particular academic program, don’t overwhelm them by giving them a brochure on every program your school offers.  
  • Make it easy to consume: eBooks, brochures, and infographics are all great value offers to utilize in digital campaigns.  
  • Match the ask: If you are asking more of a user, for example to schedule an in-person meeting, it’s important to make sure that the value of your offer reflects that.  

3. Perform Keyword Research 

Keyword research is a method that allows you to predict how much traffic your PPC campaigns will receive. As an added bonus, this projection correlates directly to your budgetary needs, too. There are many useful keyword research tools that can help determine the demand for your phrases and anticipated cost-per-click. They will even break down how that cost can vary depending on geographic location.  

In addition to providing you with budget insights, keyword research will help you start the process of determining keyword themes. This is a crucial component for setting up campaign ad groups and crafting strong ad messaging.  

4. Determine Your Campaign Budget 

Since the PPC model only charges advertisers when a user clicks on their ad, your budget is directly determined by the volume of clicks your campaign receives.

When setting your budget, it is important to take into consideration the following: 
  • Seasonality: There is no need to keep your spend consistent each month. Instead, we recommend aligning your budget with your admissions cycle: increase spend during peak times and decrease spend during slower times.  
  • Campaign Goals: If your goal is to receive a specific number of clicks or leads each month, you will need to ensure your budget is set to accommodate that.  
  • CompetitionPPC for higher education is a highly competitive market. You need an adequate budget to show your ads alongside your competitors and even beat them in the ad auction. 

PPC advertising has the potential to play a key role in your higher education marketing plan. If you are interested in learning more about PPC best practices and how to ensure your ads will out rank the competition, let’s chat. Our team of PPC experts can help get you up and running, and work with you to make your campaigns successful! 

Ready to take your enrollment campaigns to the next level?

About the author

Megan is a Senior Marketing Manager who specializes in education marketing. She develops integrated digital student enrollment and admissions campaigns focusing in areas of: brand awareness, content strategy, student acquisition, and lead nurturing campaigns.