Colleges and universities are educational institutions—but they’re also businesses. And like any brand selling a product or service, a school needs a solid marketing strategy.

The current state of the world has called on post-secondary schools to evolve and, subsequently, modernize their promotional efforts. Keep scrolling for predictions and insight on higher education marketing trends.

Look Out for These Higher Ed Marketing Trends

The coronavirus pandemic has made an immense impact on how colleges operate and it’s safe to assume some of the shifts will stick around long after the crisis ends. Beyond that, society is continually changing and the world is becoming more reliant on tech every day. 

With enrollment numbers dropping nationwide, institutions need to keep up with societal changes in order to recruit students. We predict the following higher education marketing strategies will be all but ubiquitous within the next few years.

Online learning incentives

List of five higher education marketing trends.

Online classes have been a thing for at least two decades, but the coronavirus crisis made them nearly universal. Many universities and community colleges plan to continue offering robust virtual learning options through 2021 and beyond.

Unfortunately, not all students have the resources or a suitable environment to study remotely. With this in mind, some institutions are offering stipends for laptops, tablets, WiFi access, and other essentials for taking online classes.

Mobile-friendly landing pages

When considering which schools to apply to, prospective students are most likely to browse options on a smartphone or tablet. For this reason, colleges and universities have to prioritize mobile-friendly landing pages to connect with hopeful students.

And for those already enrolled, many institutions are developing mobile apps to help students connect, engage, collaborate, and find the resources they need. With these digital upgrades, schools can market themselves as tech-savvy, innovative, and modern.

Innovative student networking

With a shift to online learning and fewer students living on campus and attending in-person classes, colleges are having to find creative ways to foster a sense of community.

A mobile app is a step in the right direction. However, many universities are also using social media to unify their existing student bodies. Some even have internal social networks for students and staff. As digital natives, members of Generation Z are used to connecting with their peers virtually and thus appreciate schools with innovative digital networks.

Diversity initiatives

With a storied past surrounding Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Act, higher education is no stranger to diversity. While some laws prevent colleges from discriminating against potential students or hires based on race or sex, the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements have pushed schools to hone in on inclusion.

In their marketing strategies, institutions are acknowledging the importance of equal representation. Many are taking it further by showcasing how they’re working toward a diverse, inclusive staff and student body that accurately represents society.


Like businesses throughout the world, colleges are honing in on green construction, energy-efficient buildings, and waste-reduction efforts. Some are even offering career paths in sustainability. Implementing eco-friendly practices doesn’t just benefit the planet. With the right promotional messaging, it also helps universities attract and retain students. 

Digital Marketing for Higher Education

In today’s world, digital marketing is basically non-negotiable for colleges and universities. If you’re looking for support with branding and promotions, we’re here to help. Contact Mad Fish Digital to chat with a team member about what we can do for your marketing strategy.