GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

This website uses cookies
We use cookies to analyze website traffic and optimize your web experience. By accepting our use of cookies, your data will be aggregated with all other user data.

Ready to talk? We’re ready to listen. Get started.

Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Alicia Lyons | March 6th, 2019

SEM and SEO – Working Together to Boost Recruitment ROI

SEO and SEM are two very different animals, but they can be finessed into working harmoniously together. In order to create a complete and comprehensive graduate program marketing strategy, it’s best to apply them both holistically.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s how high your program appears in search results.  It uses free, algorithm-driven methods to achieve a high placement in search engine results.

The Keys to SEO:

  • Strong keywords in your titles and content
  • Keyword rich and fresh original content
  • Building backlinks
  • Faster page loading times

The good thing about organic SEO is that it’s free. However, unless you have an extremely niche market, which an MBA program does not, then it’s difficult to compete on SEO alone. Organic SEO is always something to consider when developing a website. And you want to harness it when looking to raise awareness of your programs, but it is further up the sales funnel and it will take longer to convert leads. However, don’t dismiss it, as you are likely to have a stronger paid marketing campaign if leads also see your organic SEO results. Now, let’s look at SEM.

What is SEM?

SEM or Search Engine Marketing is the process of using paid methods to garner search engine conversions.

Some examples of SEM are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Google Ads
  • Google Display Ads

SEM is also conversion focused. Most of the paid advertising is targeted at landing pages or contact pages. This pushes students through the enrollment funnel faster than SEO. It urges them to take an action and convert.

SEO: earning traffic through unpaid means

SEM: acquiring traffic through paid means

How can SEO and SEM work together?


Your paid ads could also increase backlinks. Backlinks are links on external websites that lead back to your website and as a result give your website more credibility and a higher SEO score.  The more visibility that your website has then the more options for backlinks. So, although your backlinks don’t affect your SEM they do affect your SEO score. Your paid efforts will increase your visibility and therefore increase your organic results.

Promoting Your Content

A website is a great way to share fresh content, but it can be hard to find an audience.  Best practice is to write quality content that serves as an answer to the questions posed by users. Then you should promote the content using PPC ads and display ads.  The paid ad will take the user directly to the content, but it will also improve your search results and your position on the page. This makes it more likely for a user to click on your organic link.


When creating your PPC campaigns you will be asked to choose your relevant keywords. Keywords could be things like EMBA, EMBA program, best MBA degrees, and high ranking MBA degrees. These keywords are how a search engine will know what searches to serve your ads to. You can also use the same keywords on your website. This way search engines will pull your website for the same searches for free. Sprinkle a few keywords in the content of your website for the best results.

Using SEM and SEO together not only increases your search engine ranking, but in the long term it will also save you precious budget!


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Alicia Lyons | December 15th, 2018

3 Ways Consistent Marketing Can Save Your Graduate Program

Do you feel like you are constantly paying for digital marketing and garnering little results? Most programs are unsatisfied with their Return On Investment (ROI), but when they try to fix it, they don’t know where to start. What most programs don’t know is that it’s likely your marketing plan that’s to blame. But it isn’t the plan itself that’s the problem, it’s that you’re not following it consistently. The majority of marketing plans fail due to inconsistent posting, overextending platform use, and reactionary responses.

Stick to a Consistent Marketing Plan

At the beginning of each academic year (before the start of the semester) your team should create a marketing plan. The plan should be consistent and utilize a marketing and social media calendar. You should know what and when to post no later than a month in advance. Try to stay consistent.  This is key. Marketing efforts consisting of events, networking, newsletters, speaking engagements, and deadlines are considered targeted marketing and create a sense of immediacy that attracts leads and creates conversions. This doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to market them. As soon as an event is scheduled you should include it in your marketing plan.

Don’t Overextend Your Platform Use

Another trap most graduate programs fall into is overextending their platform use. Efforts pay-off when you use a level of constraint. It’s easy to want to post on all of the social media platforms. This heightens awareness, right? More platforms, more leads! If your marketing department cannot handle this workload or if you don’t have the content to support the plan this may end up hurting your program. Try to stick to one platform at a time and work your way up. Consider your audience personas and choose the platforms that best suit your prospective students. Also, remember these widely accepted rules:

Facebook = Awareness

LinkedIn = Connections

Twitter = Spreads the Word

Instagram = Is Hardly Ever For Over 25-Year-Olds

Don’t Fall into the Trap of Knee-Jerk Posting

The three pitfalls that can lead to reactionary posting are:

  • There are so many new inquiries, you no longer feel the need to market. A few weeks or months later, there is not a single prospective student in sight.
  • You are not receiving the ROI that you expected, so you utilize a knee-jerk response by randomly posting everywhere. Here, you lose the consistency that we spoke about before, and this leaves your audience confused or bombarded.
  • You didn’t plan accordingly for an upcoming event or deadline. At the last minute you post anywhere and everywhere to increase exposure.

Reactionary posting leads to marketing plans that are never executed. At the beginning of the year, you spent a great deal of time and effort formulating the perfect marketing plan. Why abandon it now?

Inconsistent marketing can confuse and frustrate your audience. It may leave them feeling unsettled and as a result they may find your program untrustworthy. A thoroughly planned and consistently executed marketing plan will result in more leads, more conversions, and more students.



121 N. Main St., Suite 109
Souderton, PA 18964



For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

© Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy