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Marketing Trends 2024: Reach More Students In the New Year

Nic Lyons

December 5, 2023

The New Year is just around the corner. Have you considered your marketing strategy for 2024? A lot of the marketing trends shared by experts are geared toward big companies with large marketing teams and even larger budgets. The business pundits are all talking about AI-driven strategies and big data. It can seem like smaller, nonprofit arts and community education programs are on their own. 

That doesn’t seem right. You need to know how to enhance customer satisfaction and engage with potential students. That’s why we’re highlighting the consumer trends and marketing strategies that actually matter for programs like yours. 

This is about so much more than what to post on social media. It’s about what your learners value and how they’re willing to spend their time and money. Connecting the dots between your offerings and student desires can help you keep registrations high through 2024 and beyond. 

Consumer Ideals Influencing Marketing Trends in 2024

Current marketing trends center around consumer values and needs. People want to do business with brands, including education providers, who value sustainability and community. Lean in to what your organization does best. 

Local Focus

Most education providers focus on providing educational opportunities to people in a specific city, region, or state. Yes, you may get the occasional online learner from somewhere else, and yes, you may want specific marketing campaigns for remote audiences, but remember that the core of your mission is to serve your local community. Good ways to help people find your classes is by partnering with a local business and by optimizing your website for “near me” searches

Sustainability

Environmental impact has become a serious concern for many consumers over the last few years. You can see it in the trends toward electric cars and minimal product packaging. 

The youngest generations are most concerned, with 75% of Gen Z shoppers (those born between 1997 and 2010) saying sustainability is more important than brand names. If you have made an effort to make your office as paperless as possible, offer classes in upcycled art, or install solar panels on your roof, make sure you tell your students about it. 

Quality of Life

In general, Americans are anxious about the future, overly stressed, and feeling disconnected. Your classes may not directly solve these problems, but you can highlight the proven benefits of art, community, and lifelong learning

Education programs are uniquely situated to deliver what many learners crave, connection with a group of like-minded people. Highlight the community aspect of your courses. Share stories of students who made friends or strengthened relationships by taking your classes. This can be especially helpful if you offer creative aging programs. Many seniors are isolated and seeking connection and opportunities to build skills. 

Speaking of Relationships

The 2024 Consumer Experience Trends Report from experience management company Qualtrics reveals that people are putting a higher value on human connection. Local education providers are uniquely qualified to give students a personalized experience. 

It starts with approaching course marketing as building an ongoing relationship with students you hope will come back again and again and make referrals to your program. When you build real relationships with students, they’re also more likely to share their feedback, which you can use to improve and market your program to others. 

Content Marketing Trends 2024

It’s not enough to just tell potential students about your classes. You need to build a relationship through brand experiences. Make no mistake, you do have a brand, whether or not you regularly use that term. Your brand includes what you do, what you talk about, and how you talk about it.

Key marketing trends for 2024 list

In 2023, the average American was exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day. There’s no indication that number will decrease in the coming year. So it’s important to make your marketing messages count. 

We sometimes fall into the trap of writing really bland course descriptions or social media posts. This happens when you’re not comfortable with content creation or when you’re over-relying on generative AI like chatGPT. 

People want to get to know your brand and understand your course offerings. Inject some personality into your messaging. Think about how you’d describe any given course to a friend and aim for that tone.

Advertising Trends to Reach Students in 2024

Between online and traditional media there are dozens of ways potential students can learn about your programs. Try to spread your marketing messages across multiple platforms to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible. 

The rise of AI and the ubiquity of the internet has led most consumers to expect near-instant access to information. If you don’t already offer a streamlined online registration and payment platform, you absolutely can’t delay any longer. Learners expect to be able to register and manage their registrations and payments at any time of the day or night. 

Build a strong website and make sure students can find it with a search engine. Then branch out to print flyers, social media, partnership marketing and other efforts. Make sure your website and social media platforms answer all of learners’ most commonly asked questions. 

Also, if you don’t already use video, it’s time to start. Short (30 seconds or less) videos are an advertising trend across pretty much every social media platform. These don’t have to be high-production-value masterpieces. Authenticity goes a long way in video content creation.

What to Offer to Attract Students

Which classes to offer depends on your program, population served, and local competition. However, all programs can benefit from offerings that add value to the student experience.

  • Course Bundles – Offering a set of courses for a lower price is an easy way to give students more value for their money. Bundling courses does more than save students a few dollars. It also helps them understand how your courses fit together and find the ones they care about.

  • Payment Plans – Lower the barrier to entry for your biggest ticket courses with payment plans. This shows students you care and are willing to accommodate their needs.

  • Loyal Student Subscription Plans – Subscriptions can give dedicated students access to all the courses that interest them. 

It’s easy to envision how subscription plans would work for digital courses. A student pays a one-time fee and gets access to your full library. But what about in-person courses? It turns out you can use subscription plans there as well. 

Offer students early-bird registration for courses in the topic they’re subscribed to. For example, aspiring artists might purchase your “Masterworks” subscription to get discounted registration and early registration everytime you release a painting-related class. 

Pricing Classes and Programs for 2024

Most in-person course providers can’t beat the prices of the big course aggregator websites. The good news is that you don’t need to. The reality is that modern customers value quality above all else. In fact, the list of what convinces people to purchase looks like this. 

  1. Product/service quality
  2. Customer service support
  3. Low price

If you can deliver on quality and customer service, price is less of a factor. So investigate the market and charge what your classes are worth. Lean in to the value of community, relationship building, and individual feedback your courses can provide.

Stay Informed of the Latest Marketing Trends

Here at CourseStorm, simplicity is part of our mission. We don’t want you to waste time scouring the internet for current marketing trends. You have more important things to do, like build student relationships and deliver quality courses. 

That’s why we keep an eye on what’s working for arts education and other community ed programs, so we can share what you need to know. Subscribe to our blog to get the latest marketing trends and advice delivered right to your inbox. 

Nic Lyons

Nic is skilled in scaling start-up edtech and education organizations to growth-stage success through innovative marketing. A former journalist and copywriter, Nic holds a postgraduate certificate in digital and print publishing from Columbia University School of Journalism's publishing course.

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