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Content Management, Marketing & Recruitment

The Best College and University Digital Marketing Campaigns

See what you can learn from these best university and college and marketing campaigns.Ever wonder what other colleges and universities are doing to attract prospective students and keep faculty, staff, and existing students informed? The 6th Annual Education Digital Marketing Awards, sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report, recognizes higher education institutions’ websites, digital marketing, and ad campaigns for their creativity, marketing execution, message impact, technology application, and innovative content.

Out of 132 winning institutions, 25 OmniUpdate customers were chosen as the nation’s best, winning a total of 79 awards in 20 out of 26 categories. Highlighted below are 13 of the award-winning higher ed digital marketing campaigns so you can see what’s working for them—and what you can implement to make your school’s digital marketing campaign one of the best.

OmniUpdate’s OU Campus content management system (CMS) is the power behind these award-winning websites. Contact an OmniUpdate expert to learn how your school can put higher ed’s top commercial CMS to work for you.

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Alverno College: Best Online Display Ads


“Follow Your Path. Not the Crowd.” Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is one of the nation’s largest Catholic women’s colleges. Their online display ads highlight this distinction, winning them both bronze and silver awards.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, Alverno College’s includes online display ads that illustrate the college’s focus on nurturing the individual.
Alverno College’s digital marketing campaign includes online display ads that illustrate the college’s focus on nurturing the individual.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

Alverno College uses the ads to promote three key aspects about their school:

  1. Their unique approach to education
  2. The emphasis on nurturing the individual through both personal and professional development
  3. The school’s ability to cater to nontraditional students

The ads purposefully target specific audiences who are not simply looking for a college, but a partner in their educational journey.

 

Augusta University: Best Total Marketing Program           


Augusta University
scooped up two golds, a silver, and a bronze award for their total marketing program, blog, and social media digital marketing campaigns.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, Augusta University’s is colorful, direct, and student-focused.
Augusta University’s digital marketing campaign is colorful, direct, and student-focused.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

The school felt their website and digital presence should reflect their audience, so they concentrated marketing efforts where their students are: on social media. Their informative, target-specific blogs and media posts are part of their “Be Boundless” campaign, covering topics such as:

  • Ways to land a job after graduating
  • Where to find information about how to thrive on campus
  • Ways to get involved outside the classroom

The campaign launched just before the 2018-19 school year, giving the marketing team a couple weeks to work out quirks in the campaign before students arrived on campus.

 

Middlesex Community College: Best Video


Middlesex Community College
in Massachusetts is another multi-category winner, with awards for their course content/schedule, online publications, digital videos, online display ads, social media, and intranet site.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, Middlesex Community College’s highlights the best of their unique program offerings through ads, videos, and social media.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

The Precisions Machining Certificate Program is one of the workforce training programs Middlesex highlights in their campaign. The video portrays what is exciting about learning a skill and features the benefits of the program by discussing:

  • Technical and academic skills gained that will support students throughout their career
  • Practical, hands-on experience that students get in the program
  • State-of-the-art machinery that students learn on—the same machinery used in the industry today
  • Financial aid available to all work force students

The Middlesex video excels in showing how students can learn a skill and land a good job in less than a year.

 

Montgomery County Community College: Best Video


The year’s best digital marketing campaigns include a campaign from Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania. Their hype video, “You in Motion,” inspires students to apply and make their “own momentum.”

The best higher education marketing campaigns awards include a video from Montgomery County Community College that inspires students to greatness through education.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

Montgomery County Community College highlights what makes the school attractive to students:

  • A topnotch education at an affordable price
  • Resources available on campus to ensure students are on track academically
  • The variety of degrees, certificates, and workforce training available

In 30 seconds, students get a feel for what makes Montgomery County unique.

 

Saint Louis University: Best Admissions Website


Employing the latest trend in admissions, Saint Louis University created a pathways survey page so that students can customize an educational path based on their interests.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, St. Louis University’s admissions page allows students to customize their educational journey.
Saint Louis University’s admissions page allows students to customize their educational journey, a feature that earned the school a spot in this year’s best higher education marketing campaigns.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

By integrating Salesforce tools into their admissions page, Saint Louis University captures student data while allowing students to design their own education pathway. Among the featured questions:

  • What’s most important to you?
  • Where do you see yourself living?
  • Where do you see yourself studying?

Rather than present everything the college offers, which can be overwhelming, the results present students with information based on individual preferences.

 

Saint Xavier University: Best Student Blogs


Saint Xavier University
’s award-winning marketing campaign earned multiple awards, including new media, online publication, blog sites, electronic advertising, and online display ads.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, St. Xavier University’s student blogs are written for students by students to shed light on the first-year experience.
Saint Xavier University’s student blogs are written for students by students to shed light on the first-year experience.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

The SXU Cougar Diaries are compiled on Facebook, with students blogging about life on campus. Topics cover a variety of first-year concerns while also reaffirming the student’s choice to attend college. Examples include:

  • Reflections on being undecided on a major
  • Exploring different groups on campus and how to get involved
  • Advice on working on group projects
  • Finding a campus job

Saint Xavier’s college marketing campaign proves that not all marketing efforts need to be expensive and professionally produced. Using students to convey messaging has a grassroots feel that appeals to the majority of students in a way that a slick marketing campaign cannot.

 

Skidmore College: Best Website Refresh


It’s inevitable: at some point in the next couple of years, your school will have to redesign or refresh its website. You can either update what you have currently or use the opportunity to strengthen your message and brand, as Skidmore College did in its award-winning website refresh.

As one of the best college marketing campaigns, Skidmore College refreshed its website with modern design elements and informative content.
As part of its award-winning marketing campaign, Skidmore College refreshed its website with modern design elements and informative content.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

Located in Saratoga Springs, New York, Skidmore College refreshed the look of its website with colorful, oversized images and engaging content. Several other features make this an effective redesign:

  • Each button is a clear call to action, directing students to engage.
  • Different aspects of university life are divided into clearly delineated sections, making it easier to find and read content.
  • Student stories and college costs are included on the home page, putting the information that students want most front and center.

The result is an attractive source of information that will aid students in making one of the most important decisions of their life.

 

Skyline College: Best Digital Video


“We’ve got your back. And your books. And it’s free.” It’s that “free” part that requires the most explanation, so Skyline College in San Bruno, California, created a video touting their Promise Scholars Program.

As part of its award-winning marketing campaign, Skyline College created a video featuring its 2-year, full scholarship promise.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

The Promise Scholars Program video does more than explain the college’s program. It makes college seem accessible, showing prospective students how they, too, can become a student at Skyline. The video speaks directly to Skyline’s audience by:

  • Highlighting the diversity on campus
  • Introducing the many programs available
  • Answering questions that arise from the 2-year, full scholarship guarantee

The chronological presentation of information starting with day one on campus and continuing through the first year takes the “fear” out of college and makes it seem doable.

 

Tarrant County College: Best Online Publication


Tarrant County College
figured out that an online magazine is a great way to deliver in-depth stories about the school to a variety of audiences.

Tarrant County College’s REACH Magazine is one of the award winning marketing campaigns.
REACH Magazine is part of Tarrant County College’s award-winning marketing campaign.

 

What makes this one of the best college marketing campaigns?

The Tarrant County College website is easy to navigate for all things admissions and academics. However, for people who visit the site to learn more, the school put together an online school magazine that can dive deeper into issues and information. That move earned the school a spot on this year’s list of best higher ed digital marketing campaigns. The magazine includes stories such as:

  • Faculty and staff brags
  • Foundation and grant awards
  • Community partnerships
  • Student profiles
  • Data-driven decisions affecting campus

The magazine illustrates the college’s motto, “Success within Reach.”

 

Troy University: Best Instagram Stories


As one of the South’s fastest growing universities, Troy University needed a social presence to keep pace. The school won two golds and a silver for their online display ads and Instagram stories.

Strong student engagement makes Troy University’s digital presence one of this year’s best higher ed marketing campaigns.
Strong student engagement makes Troy University’s digital presence one of this year’s best higher ed marketing campaigns.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

Troy University mixes up their social media presence with interesting diverse stories about all things Trojan:

  • Athletic posts include calendars and spotlights on Trojan athletics.
  • Student stories cover all aspects of life on campus.
  • Informative posts highlight new classes, campus events, and important deadlines.

By scrolling through their social feeds, students can stay up to date on the latest news and happenings on campus.

 

University of North Dakota: Best Website Refresh


Your digital marketing campaign doesn’t have to be complicated. The University of North Dakota refreshed its existing website with a modern design vibe.

University of North Dakota’s website refresh provides immediate communication with students – something that the best digital marketing campaigns will include.
University of North Dakota’s website refresh provides immediate communication with students—something that the best digital marketing campaigns will include.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

Form follows function, but the University of North Dakota incorporated both in their website refresh. Among the new site’s useful features:

  • Emergency alerts and other ways to communicate immediately with students
  • Pathways to find a specific academic program, or to learn how to turn your passion into a career
  • Home page organized with the school’s various audiences in mind

Throughout, the web team took care to craft student stories, news, and other campus information in a way that celebrates the lifestyles and values of North Dakota.

 

University of South Carolina: Best Total Marketing Program


The University of South Carolina is one of the few schools that can boast a gold for their total marketing program.

University of South Carolina boasts one of the year’s best digital marketing campaigns for its total marketing program.
University of South Carolina boasts one of the year’s best digital marketing campaigns for its total marketing program.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

Go big or go home—that’s how the University of South Carolina approached the complete overhaul of its marketing program. In addition to the usual navigation buttons at the top of the home page, the @UofSC tab is unique, compiling interesting information from all departments across campus, including:

  • Internship announcements both at home and abroad
  • The latest research on campus
  • Summer camp calendars

The University of South Carolina’s award-winning higher ed marketing campaign is proof that a diverse mix of news and features creates engagement with and interest in a school’s brand.

 

Utah State University: Best in Multiple Categories


Utah State University
snagged a record of five awards for its higher ed digital marketing campaign, including three golds. Rather than focus on one digital presence avenue, Utah State decided to hit it hard across several online mediums, including its blog, website, online magazine, and social media platforms.

As one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns, Utah State University hit it hard across several online mediums, including its website.

 

What makes this one of the best higher ed marketing campaigns?

Utah State capitalized on digital video to explain its new differential tuition proposal. When used for this purpose, this medium is ideal because it: 

  • Integrates different ways of learning into one cohesive piece of media
  • Enhances images with supporting content
  • Provides a quick and easy way to educate your audience

The use of video simplifies the already complex differential tuition proposal, making it understandable to all viewers.

 

Conclusion

While each college and university featured has a unique personality and strengths, they all have one thing in common: Their award-winning higher education marketing campaigns focus on student wants and needs. When considering the next steps in your school’s marketing journey, take their approach and think like a student.

Need advice from an expert on how to create your own award-winning website as the core for your marketing campaigns? These resources may help:

Or, if you need to reinforce the foundation of your website before embarking on a major website redesign or marketing project, investigate how a content management system can help. Call 805-484-9400 to speak with an expert or schedule a demo now.

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