GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | November 21st, 2019

Mobile first is not an option, it’s an imperative

Mobile firstThe mobile first website design strategy suggests a paradigm shift from traditional website development – to design for users that are viewing your content on a phone or tablet vs. people that are sitting at a computer digging into the details.

First some data*:

  • There are 2.7 billion smartphone users around the world.
  • 77% of Americans have smart phones.
  • 47% of US smartphone users say they couldn’t live without their devices.
  • 72% of people will use only mobile for internet by 2025.

While these numbers may be surprising, they are not to be ignored. They suggest that making your website and campaign landing pages mobile friendly is no longer an option. This is going to change the way websites are developed in many ways.

Here are some guidelines for developing a mobile-first destination:

  • Content needs to be concise: When consumers have to scroll for too long to find what they need, you have a much higher chance of losing them.
  • Your navigation needs to be clear: When providing a menu of choices, make it intuitive with the least amount of sub-menus possible.
  • Use simple and visible CTAs: Direct your prospects to the action you want them to take. Always make sure your email/phone/primary CTA is easily accessible in the footer.
  • Utilize a responsive framework/template: Although many templates now are already mobile-friendly, be sure to test out your options on your phone, tablet and laptop before committing.
  • Prioritize the user: Although this is true in all marketing, optimizing the web experience is even more important. Use a simple font, right-sized imagery and test your load times.

Optimizing for a mobile-first experience also applies to social media. When your prospects are engaging with your social media channels, they are looking for personal ways to connect with your school.

Here are some ways to “stop the thumb scroll” in social:

  • Keep your images small and digestable within a 5 second timeframe.
  • Use infographics that expand out to the full version within the platform.
  • Use intriguing headlines and short sentences.
  • Include embedded in-app video that auto plays so users don’t have the click a link.
  • Link to blogs, but include an interesting lead-in that draws the viewer in. Always include a photo.

If you need more ideas on how to design your mobile first web destinations and social experiences, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop the right strategy that delivers engagement.

(*Sources: TechJury, CNBC)

Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | November 14th, 2019

Creating and curating content

Creating and curating contentThree of the top types of content in higher ed right now are infographics, videos and blogs. This may not come as a surprise considering prospects are seeking quick, bite-sized pieces of information they can consume while on the go. But how do you create and curate this type of content that is meaningful to your audience while on a budget and with limited time?

What’s the difference between creating and curating content?

Content creation is just that – creating your own original content and marketing it to your prospects. Content curation is utilizing existing information that is relevant to a certain topic and sharing it across multiple platforms.

So, you want to create content. Where do you start?

Anyone can be a content creator. You do not have to be a skilled writer or a seasoned designer. Although it may be easier to hire these resources, your budget may not always allow it. Here are some ways to develop DIY content for your school.

  • Create infographics: If you Google “create free infographics” there are several online tools providing pre-designed infographic templates. If you can come up with a main message and 3-4 supporting points, plug your information in and let the program do the rest. Most platforms allow you to upload your brand colors and logos and even create sizes appropriate for social media.
  • Create videos: Although a professionally recorded video is a good place to start, there are also other ways for you to create video content without spending a fortune or sacrificing quality. Many social media platforms allow you to “go live” at an event or stream events that can be recorded and posted after completion. You can also hire a student to take videos and then include those in your communications.
  • Blogs: Schools are filled with experts. Try tapping your peers in admissions, faculty members, current students and alumni. You can provide a list of topics that you’re seeking, or you can let them brainstorm on their own. Blogs are the most interesting when they have a personal angle. Let people use their voice and perspective to make your content even richer. Just be sure to edit for the brand and consistency.

How do you curate content?

For many traditional marketers, this may be a new concept, or at least something you were advised against in your training when you were told to always be creating something new. It turns out, however, that existing content can actually have more impact when presented in the right way.

Here are a few innovative ways to curate content within your organization:

  • Take findings from faculty whitepapers or research and distill the main points into an infographic.
  • Create a wrap-up article, email or blog post using syndicated content or recent news about a particular topic. Let an experienced staff member weigh in using a quote and you’ve got gold. Just be sure to cite your sources.
  • Comb through your organization’s social media channels to find popular threads and topics and create a simple animated slide show that you can re-share on multiple platforms.
  • Interview students about their experiences on a podcast, post it to your website and create a social media blast.

If you need more ideas on how to create new content or re-purpose existing content to develop meaningful interaction experiences with your #businessschools prospects, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop or curate intriguing content that fits within your strategy and budget.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | October 30th, 2019

Data-driven marketing: It’s not as complex as you think

Data-driven marketing: It’s not as complex as you thinkData can be your most powerful marketing resource. But using it can also become one of your biggest challenges if you’re not used to working with statistics, crunching numbers or harnessing large amounts of information to make informed marketing decisions. Here are some simple ways to start using data to strengthen your marketing campaigns, regardless of your comfort with data visualization tools.

Segment your communications

Even with a wealth of available market research and your own analytics, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to use data if you look at it in simple groupings. If you know 2-3 things about your audience – for example age, gender and zip code— you’re on your way to a segmented email campaign that can match programs to certain age ranges, discuss career benefits for men or women and promote on-campus or remote classes based on geography.

Diversify your channels

You can use data to expand your marketing campaign beyond emails. If you know from an industry whitepaper that video ads are trending or that millennials are using Snapchat more than Facebook, you can use this to develop a multi-channel strategy. For example, you may be surprised to find out that 60% of your prospects are on LinkedIn daily but that they don’t check their personal email more than 2 times a week.

Enhance the experience for your prospects

Using small, digestible pieces of data (from your own analytics) can make a huge difference in optimizing your school’s website and marketing campaigns. For example, if you notice that the area of your site with the largest viewership is student testimonials, you may think about curating ad content using personal student stories. Or, if your ROI page has high viewership, but not a lot of time spent on the page, consider beefing up that content since ROI is a huge decision factor for many prospective students. Starting small and expanding as you gain confidence with your data can have far-reaching effects.

If you’re looking for ways to use industry data or need advice on how to use your own analytics to improve your marketing, contact GPRS today.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | October 23rd, 2019

Investing in landing pages that are user-friendly, informative and optimized

Investing in landing pages that are user-friendly, informative and optimizedSay you’re aimlessly scrolling through social media or you’re on your favorite news site and all of a sudden, you see it – the thing you’ve been waiting for. It’s going to change your life. It’s the price you want. So really, it’s perfect. You must buy it right away. You click on the link while anxiously reaching for your credit card. The link takes you to the company’s homepage and you scroll and scroll. You may even click over to another page looking for the very product you wanted. It’s not there. At this point, you’re frustrated and less likely to buy.

Don’t let this happen to your prospective students. While this may be an over-exaggerated scenario, and it’s not likely that your prospects would be applying and ready to pay for tuition in one simple click, you certainly don’t want to lose them at this stage, or extinguish their enthusiasm for your brand. If it’s the first time they are engaging with you, you’ve done the hardest job which is to grab their attention. But the next step is to make sure the experience is consistent. When they click on your link, you want to secure their interest and action.

Ways to optimize your prospects’ experience with customized landing pages

  • Address directly what they have seen in your ad so the messaging is cohesive.
  • Keep your branding front and center, use imagery and make the landing page visually intriguing
  • Give them enough (less is more) details about your school to be intrigued and request more information. Think 3-5 bullets.
  • Provide a simple call to action, i.e. request more info, download a brochure, see a list of admissions events.
  • Keep the form simple with 4 fields – first name, last name, email and phone number.
  • Ensure the transfer of data (to your organization) is clean. Route it directly into your CRM to avoid manual labor and minimize mistakes.
  • Employ “thank you” pages (after an inquiry is completed) to redirect to your website.

Why invest in a landing page?

While you have spent a lot of time building and optimizing your school’s website and it may be seen as the primary source of information for your prospects, it’s not always the right place for them to land after they’ve seen one of your ads. Custom landing pages can offer your future students a simple solution for the specific information they seek. If they’ve clicked on an ad, they’re willing to go a step further than just browsing your website. And if they’ve never seen your website or they’re not aware of your program, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information. Using a gateway landing page can make all the difference for that first connection, and give your prospects confidence to keep exploring further through the information request phase.

Not to mention, a landing page that routes to your CRM that is properly coded can help you determine how well your advertising is working, response rates and ROI. And with a sophisticated Prospective Student Data Platform, you may even be able to track your ads and landing page activity back to seated students.
If you’re looking for ways to build your next campaign and structure your landing pages to collect information that can also integrate into your CRM, contact GPRS today.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | October 9th, 2019

Embracing the digital video advertising trend for your school

Embracing digital video advertisingYou don’t have to be a marketing pro to notice that video ads are taking the digital advertising world by storm. It is likely that 50% of your social media feed is populated with videos or that a friend or colleague has recently shared a video with you on their phone or computer screen. Although video advertising can work for any company in any industry, it’s becoming imperative in the higher ed world because of the personal scale connection required for large buying decisions like a degree.

Here are 4 reasons to embrace the video advertising trend:

  1. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter
  2. Connecting visually can form stronger relationships
  3. Social media is dominated by video, especially Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook
  4. Customers expect it and your competition is doing it

What are video ads and how do they differ from the videos you have on your YouTube channel?

Video ads are shorter and more succinct than the traditional 3-5 minute video you have on your website or YouTube channel that tell about your program, the benefits of your school or highlight a professor or student testimonial. Don’t misinterpret – those videos still have a place and purpose. But for marketing strategies, advertisers are starting to opt for 30 second video ads (like a traditional commercial) or 10-15 second micro-videos that can be produced in a series. Although you may have many points to make, you can do this over time with varied versions of video ads pieced together to form a journey for your prospective students.

Secrets to successful digital video advertising

Although you may be ready to jump on the video ad bandwagon, you can’t just do it haphazardly. Consumers are smarter than you think and they can recognize quality in an instant. Additionally, they can make snap decisions on your brand so you want each interaction to be a quality experience. Here are some keys to creating good video advertising:

  • Mix and match lengths; vary with 10-30 second videos
  • Keep the message simple – you don’t have to say everything, just say something that spurs their interest
  • Make sure it can make an emotional connection without using sound since many people browse on silent mode

How to integrate video into your marketing strategy

When you’re developing your marketing strategy, it’s critical to examine your target market, pick the right channels and develop messaging that supports your programs key features and benefits. Make sure that your messaging is conducive to video, distill your information into key points and even use existing video footage pieced together to showcase your school in a way that maintains your brand.

If you’re looking for ways to integrate video advertising into your school’s marketing strategy, contact GPRS today.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | September 26th, 2019

Industry Benchmark Data: How do you compare to the competition?

Benchmark Data: How do you compare to the competition?In higher ed marketing, a competitive analysis can help you gain insight into program trends, offerings and innovations. You can even determine how your competitors are creating their messaging to prospects and channels they are using. But if you’re not in their market it may be harder to gather intel. If you’re like many schools, you may have missing pieces of the puzzle like how peer schools are marketing and on what channels. You may even be wondering what they’re spending, how many leads they’re getting and where their students are coming from (hopefully it’s not your backyard). Wouldn’t it be great to have a marketing partner that has all of these answers, and more?

Filling in the gaps with industry benchmark data

When you’re developing your marketing strategy, it’s critical to examine your target market, pick the right channels and develop messaging that supports your programs key features and benefits. But if you’re going to compete in a national (or global) market, being armed with additional information on how your competition thinks can only serve to enhance your strategy.

In addition to the standard competitive analysis areas, when comparing your marketing with your peers, here are the main categories that are important to benchmark:

  • Leads – how many leads were obtained and how may turned into prospects and seated students
  • Cost per click – what is the typical cost per click and cost per seated student by channel, area of the country, program
  • Seasonality – what seasons are key recruiting periods? You may know your school’s seasonality based on recruiting events or past data, but there could be times of the year you are missing.
  • Geographic Interaction – where are prospects coming from that are attracted to your type of program, where is your competition pulling from, and what radius should you target for the highest possible interactions?
  • ROI – how much is your competition spending and where, what channels are working the best and how many seated students are they obtaining directly from their marketing spend?
  • Messaging – what types of messages resonate the best in your geographic location and for your specific type of program?

How do you obtain this industry benchmark data?

Although we’d like to tell you that “there’s an app for that,” that’s unfortunately not the case. But partnering with GPRS will give you access to our proprietary platform, GP InsightsTM, that we’ve developed after years of collecting aggregate industry data. We are tracking real-time market data and can give you the type of insights you’re seeking to deepen your marketing strategy. With a subscription to the GP Insights platform, predictive analytics in the higher ed space is no longer the future, it’s available today.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can fill in the gaps of your competitive analysis, contact GPRS today.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | September 12th, 2019

The Power of Personas: Why do personas matter for higher ed?

The Power of Personas: Why do personas matter for higher ed?If you’ve ever advertised or sold a product or program, you’re familiar with how important your target audience is to your marketing strategy. Personas are target audiences on steroids, a kind of hyper-targeting to help you dig even deeper and uncover the key motivations behind buying behavior. If you’ve heard the buzz about personas and are interested in how to create and use them to enrich your marketing, and communicate more clearly with your prospects, find out more below.

What is a persona?

A marketing persona is a partially fictional sketch of a key “type” of ideal customer. After creating it and re-reading it back, it will sound like you are talking about a friend or family member because it will include very personal and specific details on the person’s background, mindset and motivations. It will be based on market research and real industry data, but goes deeper than a traditional target market assessment that only includes demographic information. It might visually look like a resume, or a social media profile page with a name—and many times a photo or quote from the person.

Example Student Persona

Sarah Johnson, age 38, married with 2 children, lives in Chicago


Full-time HR director at a retail company, on the path to become CHRO in 5 years, mom with demanding dance and soccer schedules, has undergrad in political science and secretly wonders if an MBA would help her advance in her career.


Leading and mentoring a team, being at all of her kids sporting events, traveling to her weekend lake home more often.


Balancing time with her family and a blossoming career that could land her in the c-suite in her early 40s.


That her non-traditional degree is limiting her earning power but that she will miss her family’s important events if she decides to pursue a degree.

Online habits

Sarah is busy. She can typically be found browsing Facebook or Instagram at 10pm after her family has gone to bed and she’s replied to a few pressing work emails. She uses the Gmail platform and shops on Amazon because she doesn’t have time to run her errands during the day.


I’d love to get an MBA so I can gain a seat at the executive table, but it’s also important for me to balance my time so I can be there for my family.

How do you build one?

Although you can see samples of fields in the included example, it’s important to tailor your persona to what you want to know. Since there can be many different types of people even within the same market segment, you’ll want to cover your bases with 2-3 per demographic group with male/female counterparts, and areas to address all of the decision points for someone considering your brand. Using general market research, past data from your organization, google analytics, personal interviews and industry benchmark data can all help you build the type of persona you’ll need to enrich your content strategy.

How can personas enrich your marketing strategy?

When you do a deep dive into what your audience is thinking, it helps you address the barriers to their decision making process. For example, if they’re worried about balancing time you can present the benefits of your flexible online and weekend programs. If ROI is the question, make sure you provide factoids on how long it might take to recoup the investment. Developing personas can also help your internal marketing and admissions teams collaborate to prioritize your messaging, media strategy and tactics.

Why do personas matter more in higher ed?

In marketing, anytime you are asking someone to spend money the connection to values, motivations and mindset are critical. But for your prospective students, investing in a degree and educational experience carries a larger price tag and much higher emotional commitment than a cup of coffee, a couch or a lawnmower. Digging deep into goals, fears, frustrations and media habits will not only help you develop your messaging more clearly but also prioritize your channels and strategy for connecting.

For schools looking to build personas to enhance your targeted marketing strategy, GPRS offers custom solutions. With deep insight into the mindset of degree-seeking students at all levels, we can help you pinpoint your audiences and reap the benefits of hyper-targeted communications. Contact GPRS today to learn more.



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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.

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