Traditionally, institutions of higher education institutions have been physical offering face-to-face classroom education and physical homework done, but the emergence of the internet has made these institutions rethink of their marketing skills. They the internet as powerful research tools early enough, but they slow to adapt it as a means of expanding their presence. However, the world is changing and there is a need for higher education institutions to use the availability of the internet to make their presence felt and utilize marketing strategies. Education is one of the largest industries in any country and it is very essential for any country’s population. Though the traditional higher education institutions have been slow in integrating eCommerce as part of their institution the online community is a lucrative business opportunity. People find it easier to acquire knowledge online because it is convenient and affordable for them. There are a few things higher education can learn from the eCommerce industry, which could make a difference in their revenues.
- Create a strategy
For institutions to succeed in eCommerce they need to come up with effective marketing, sales channels by marketing their skills and expertise. They should invest in a marketing team which will focus on eCommerce and keenly identify opportunities online for marketing, write viable business plans, and keeps track of emerging technologies and how they affect their sales and are they compatible with their software. Institutions need to track sites that have been successful in offering online courses. This whole process needs strategizing because you can’t just put out an online course, and, expect traffic and making money immediately.
- Build a brand
Branding plays a major role in marketing. There are several marketing strategies such as Search Engine Optimization and embracing them. These strategies will lead to the successful branding of the institutions online. Institutions are reaching out to learners at every part of the globe as long as they are online. Online learners need to have faith in the institution they have visited virtually. They will mostly spend time looking for reviews from students and instructors alike. To build a trusted brand the marketing department will seriously need to focus on internal digital marketing with a lot of expertise.
- Create a great user experience online
A few years back higher education institutions prided in thorough selective criteria. It seemed more difficult to be admitted in these institutions because of the screening process set during application and admission. What was worse was even after getting through this process, there was a period of waiting before knowing if you will be admitted into the institution or not. This is something eCommerce has changed and higher education institutions should definitely adapt to these changes.
Selectivity is being replaced with good online customer service skills. For a long time these institutions have overlooked customer service within their institutions, but with the emergence of online courses, there is a need for them to reconsider to maintain their revenues. People online spend their money, but they can use the same channel to destroy your reputation when they have been mishandled. User experience should be made easy from advertising and selling of online courses. Due to the ability of people to the access internet, while they are at different locations, the application process should be simple. Potential students should be able to learn about the courses at a glance and there should be an online assistant to answer queries in a timely manner.
- Expand globally
Elearning is not limited to, any geographical boundaries. There are a lot of people who would love to study but the geographical barrier causes them never to be able to set foot in the physical learning institution. Online learners need a course with from well-known institutions and should be flexible to be included in their daily routines. The ability to offer courses anytime, anywhere should be considered by all institutions. Elearning is a multi-million business which, when well-utilized institutions will be earning more from virtual students.
- Intensify competition
A negative comment online about an institution can greatly affect potential students who were considering enrolling. Online learners are keen to put their money where they are sure they will in return get a recognized certificate. Some of these learners are professionals seeking to get an academic certificate which will lead to a promotion or getting a better job. ECommerce will largely influence competition among institutions and among the courses offered which will be a plus for them. Healthy competition means retaining students and attracting new ones by maintaining a great virtual presence.
Elearning and eCommerce skills should be adapted and added to higher education institutions, for them to remain relevant in this era and in the future. Paper written courses should be done in soft copies which can be sent via the internet. Nothing is holding institutions back from implementing online courses which will be available for distant learning for students and professionals alike.