The Importance of Social Media in Education Marketing – Part Two

e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

With over 3.6 billion people using social media globally, the significance of this marketing channel is profound.

However, with limited organic targeting capabilities, reaching specific target markets can be difficult. This is where paid social media comes in.

To keep up with rising maintenance bills and company growth, social media platforms began to introduce advertisements in 2006, starting with Facebook and quickly followed by YouTube in 2007. Now, nearly all major social media players offer some form of advertising to brands, offering unprecedented access to niche, highly-engaged audiences.

With so many advertising options available to brands and the degree of technical knowledge required to successfully leverage paid ads on social media, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Understanding the intricacies of paid social media, such as the many technical terms and how to develop a paid marketing campaign from scratch can help to access this large audience of 3.6 billion social media users quickly and effectively.

This is part two; of our two-part blog series to arm education providers with the knowledge required to ensure they don’t miss out on this potentially lucrative marketing channel.

In this blog post, we’ll unpack:

What is paid social media?

Paid social media refers to a form of advertising in which brands pay social media networks to share their content with specific audiences.

With each social media platform operating its own unique advertising capabilities, there are many different advertisement and campaign types available to brands.

The paid social media landscape in 2021

The paid social media landscape experienced some turbulence over the 2020/21 period, primarily due to the economic effects of the global pandemic.

Many brands reduced their advertising spend or dropped their campaigns all together, causing ad prices to fluctuate dramatically. Now that the dust has settled, here’s what the industry looks like currently.

  • In Q2 of 2020, Facebook was home to nine million active advertisers and claimed mobile advertisements accounted for 92% of its total revenue.
  • 90 percent of US marketers name Instagram as their primary platform for influencer marketing.
  • In Q2 of 2020, the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for social media advertisements was 1.3 percent.
  • In Q2 of 2020, the average Cost Per Mile (CPM) cost on social media advertisements was $4.33.
  • For B2B advertising, social media marketing was used by 83 percent of marketiers and ranked second in success just behind search engine marketing.

Source: SproutSocial

What are the advantages and disadvantages of paid social media?

Like any form of advertising, paid social media has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.


  • Reach a specific target audience

    Powerful custom audience tools on platforms such as Facebook allow brands to make highly targeted advertising. Unlike organic social media, where control over who sees your brand’s content is lacking, paid social media allows marketers to target audiences based on their location, demographics and interests.

  • Experience increased follower growth and engagement

    Marketers can use specific campaign types for different purposes, including follower growth and engagement. Getting your brand off the ground with organic content can be difficult and time consuming. Paid social media can push your brand into the algorithm and ensure your content is visible to your target audience.

  • Drive more traffic to your website

    Similarly, marketers can create specific advertisement campaigns to increase traffic to your brand’s website. This can be a great way to boost traffic during sales or busy holiday periods.


  • It costs money

    Unlike organic content, paid social media comes at a price. Brands need to set budget aside to run social media advertising campaigns and may encounter ballooning costs if campaigns are left to their own devices or the market changes suddenly.

  • Advertising platforms can be difficult to use

    There is a steep learning curve when it comes to paid social media advertising. Different platforms vary in terms of complexity and advertisement set-up. While social media traditionally has a DIY approach, brands will often hire specialists in paid marketing to manage that aspect of the business.

  • Trial and error process required

    Throwing money at an advertising campaign does not necessarily generate great results. Market and algorithm fluctuations can throw even the best campaigns off course. Testing of different creatives, audiences, campaign styles and budgets are required to make the most of a campaign.

Key terms providers need to know

There are many unique terms within the social media landscape. Here are the definitions of the most important terms for brands:

120721 Paid Social Media Platform Infographic V.4 01

How to create an paid social media marketing strategy

1. Define your budget

Paid social media marketing can be costly, so it’s critical to lock in a budget for your campaign duration. In theory, the higher your spend on an advertisement, the better its performance will be but due to market fluctuations and algorithm changes, this may not always be the case.

It’s worth conducting market research initially to understand how much your competitors may be paying for their own campaigns and what the market standard is. From there, you can run test campaigns with limited budgets and gradually increase ad spend based on what works.

2. Define your objectives and select your platform

The advertising functionalities of social media platforms have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, allowing you to build campaigns for specific objectives such as landing page views, engagement, sales and more.

Determine what you aim to achieve with a paid social campaign and select your campaign type and platform accordingly. For a comprehensive guide on which platforms are used by certain audiences, check out our infographic here.

3. Determine your target audience

Once a platform has been selected, it’s time to build your ad sets or audiences. This will be the group of people your ads will be shown to, based on the distinct demographic and interest traits determined. The platform you select determines the complexity of the targeting tools available.

For example, Facebook’s ad management system allows brands to target audiences based on basic demographics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

It is also possible to include highly specific traits such as:

  • Mobile or computer type
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Internet browser

Detailed ad targeting can allow for more cost-effective campaigns, however, it’s important to avoid making your target audience too specific – as it can increase ad spend.

4. Decide your campaign dates and bid level

While many campaigns are designed to be ‘set and forget’, it’s useful to set specific campaign dates in mind to avoid going over budget. Adding a daily cost cap can also prevent unintentional over-bidding.

5. Create and upload ad creatives

One of the most critical elements of an effective paid social media campaign is creative and copy. Conduct research into the types of creatives that best suit the platform you’ve selected. For example, YouTube ads are primarily in video format, while Instagram ads are usually static images.

Also, keep in mind the limitations and restrictions that advertising platforms have in place to protect its audience. Facebook in particular has very strict rules, such as removing ads with ‘non-existent functionality’ such as a button on an image that isn’t actually clickable. Additionally, the screening process for advertisements is usually done by AI. This means that a real person won’t be the first to review your creatives and copy — so it’s important to get it right the first time.

6. Launch campaign and monitor results

Once your campaign has launched, keep a close eye on key metrics such as your CTR and CPM to indicate your campaign’s success. Keep in mind that it may take several days for your ad to ‘get off the ground’ due to in-built learning processes that help advertising platforms know who to show your ad to.

If performance is low after several days, consider what options you have to optimise your campaign performance. This could include changing the creative, altering your target audience or increasing your budget. However, keep in mind that excess optimisation efforts may only hinder progress as once an ad is updated, it will revert back to the review and learning process each time.

7. End campaign and assess results

Once your campaign has drawn to a close, it’s time to review its performance. Key performance metrics of an effective campaign include a high CTR, low CPM and strong results regarding your campaign objective which may have been leads, sales, engagement etc. Consider what worked well, what may have hindered the campaign’s success and what can be done to optimise your campaign management next time.

How education providers can leverage paid social media to their marketing advantage?

As we’ve learned, paid social media can be an incredibly effective marketing tool for brands. But how can paid social media work for education providers specifically?

We spoke to our Chief Marketing Officer Kelvin Chan to learn more.

Are there any social media advertising campaign types that work especially well for education providers?

Ultimately, it does boil down to the objective of the campaign. However, utilising Facebook Messenger campaigns can be an effective way to nurture and answer prospective student questions at a rapid pace. Similar to sending prospective learner traffic to a course page, Facebook Messenger campaigns also allow education marketers to obtain information and share downloadable content such as course guides.

What should education providers include in their social media advertisements to stand out from the crowd?

UGC or user-generated content is a high-value type of content that many education providers and businesses can benefit from. It showcases real student perspectives and can act as a trustworthy review that users can resonate with.

Examples of UGC for education marketers include reviews from alumni or current students, showcasing campus life or walkthroughs of how to use the website and find their perfect course.

Student lead journeys are often longer than the average customer journey — why does this occur and how can education providers design advertising campaigns to cater for this?

There are a multiple of factors that students often consider when deciding to pursue a course. There are financial considerations, course duration, location and lifestyle fit. Ensure you create campaigns to nurture students at each stage of their course search — especially with so many different course options readily available.

At the awareness stage, education marketers must develop supporting campaign creatives that showcase key course USPs and hone in on student pain points to help them better identify why they’re looking to pursue a course and how you’re the best option for them.

After students visit your course pages, segmenting your retargeting according to student pain points could also offer a great way to ensure that your social campaigns remain relevant and in the back of any student’s mind, nurturing them through to the final conversion stage.

With the right tools and expertise, paid social media can be a highly effective and lucrative marketing strategy for education providers.

To learn more about Candlefox’s other products and services, including custom social advertising campaigns for education providers, visit our information page here .

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

The Importance of Social Media in Education Marketing – Part One

e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

Social media is an incredibly useful, yet often overlooked marketing channel. With so many platforms, strategies and highly specialised knowledge, it can be challenging for brands to know where to start.

Social media marketing can be split into two main channels — organic and paid. Organic content is the publication of content uploaded for free on social media, such as posts, tweets and stories. Paid content refers to marketing or advertising campaigns run within a social media platform, such as in-feed ads, sponsored posts or promoted content.

Understanding the intricacies of both channels and how to use them simultaneously is crucial for any brand seeking to attract new customers and build brand awareness.

In this guide, we unpack the organic social media landscape:

What is organic social media?

Organic social media can be defined as content uploaded to social platforms without ad spend. This could include photos, videos, graphics or stories posted freely across all social media platforms.

Brands use organic social media to:

  • Share their brand personality and voice.

    Social media can be a great way to connect with customers on a personal level. To establish these connections, it’s important to display a consistent brand voice and personality across all your social content. Especially when customers are first introduced to a brand, they will instinctively recognise the way in which they are addressed, which will then significantly impact their perception of the brand itself.

  • Nurture relationships with their audience to build a community.

    Most social media platforms have the pre-existing community-building infrastructure, making it easy for brands to build and interact with an online community of loyal customers.

  • Conduct customer service and research.

    In the digital age, expectations for fast customer service have never been higher. Social media allows brands to address customer needs quickly and efficiently.

  • Promote their products and services for free.

    Social media is a powerful communication tool used to update customers on their latest products and services.

Organic social media functions as a free promotional and community-building tool for brands.

The Organic Social Media Landscape in 2021

Globally, over 3.6 billion people use social media and the number is only projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025. The top social media networks ranked by the number of active users in 2021 are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Social media has established itself as a crucial marketing tool for brands and has significant potential to help keep customers engaged. The Sprout Social Index states that 57% of customers will follow a brand on social media to learn about new products or services and 47% will follow a brand to stay up to date on company news.

Organic social media can also function as a communication channel, as well as a marketing tool. Research has found that answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25%.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of organic social media?

Like any marketing channel, organic social media has its pros and cons for education providers:


  • Free to upload and share creative content.
  • Allows providers to build strong and ongoing relationships with their current and prospective students.
  • Builds provider credibility through a strong social media presence.
  • An active target audience active on social media can allow for User Generated Content (UGC) campaigns.
  • Caters to the longer purchase journey of prospective students and allows them to follow the social media platforms of their chosen education provider better understanding of what studying there is like.
  • One study conducted in 2020 found that 58% of teenagers use social media to research education providers. In that same study, 77% of teenagers surveyed said their social media research was either somewhat or extremely influential in their choice to enrol.


  • Difficult to reach specific target audiences — An in-depth target audience and hashtag research can help mitigate this and ensure your organic content is seen by the right audience.
  • Input does not always equate to output — the effort that goes into creating organic social content might not always translate into better performance. Organic social media is a trial and error process. Try experimenting with different post types and times to tap into the algorithm.
  • Organic creative content production and customer engagement can be time consuming and expensive. Determining how to make the most of your organic social media budget ensures no time or funds are wasted.

How to choose the right social media platforms for your brand

Selecting the right social media platform for your brand is critical. While it might be tempting to cast a wide net and sign up to as many social media platforms as possible, it’s far more efficient to carefully select a smaller number of key channels that are best suited to your brand and your audience.

Here are the five key questions to ask when choosing the right social media platforms for your brand:

1. Where is my audience?

Different social media platforms have different audience demographics. Make the most of this by ensuring your brand has a presence on the platforms most relevant to your target audience. If you’re curious about the difference between the major players in the social media landscape, here’s a breakdown of the key demographics. Please note that these statistics are often in a state of flux, meaning it’s important for brands to do their own research as well.

110921 Organic Social Media Platform Infographic V.3 01

Source: Sprout Social

2. Which platform best suits my content?

While many social media platforms are starting to share similar functionalities, some are still inherently suited to certain types of content. For example, if your content marketing strategy is primarily focused on video, YouTube would be your go-to platform for publication. However, Instagram would be far more suitable if visual merchandising and brand aesthetic are crucial to your marketing efforts. Spend time on each platform to learn more about the kind of content that performs best and take that into consideration when planning your organic social content ideas.

3. What are my competitors doing in the organic social space?

Competitor research is critical to developing a brand’s organic social strategy. Research the platforms your competitors are using, the kind of content they share and how they interact with their audience. Ask yourself which areas they are succeeding in and which areas you think your brand could do better in. For example, if a competitor has a tendency to leave comments with questions from prospective students unanswered, you could include ‘highly responsive customer service’ as a key element of your organic strategy.

4. How much time and resources can we allocate to organic socials?

Depending on your brand, time and resourcing allocated to organic social media management can vary significantly. Large companies have entire teams dedicated to social media management, whereas small businesses may only have one or two people responsible. It all depends on how much you are willing and able to dedicate to content creation and community management daily.

5. How will organic social media fit into our current marketing strategy?

Your brand’s social media presence should complement your wider marketing strategy. Make sure to incorporate company-wide goals. For example, if a quarterly marketing goal includes launching a new student service, develop an organic social media strategy to assist with promotion.

How to create an organic social media marketing strategy

If you’re ready to put together your organic social media strategy, here are the key steps to follow:

  • Market and audience research

    As previously mentioned, understanding where your target market resides and which platforms are best suited to certain types of content will help you to make the most of your social media strategy.

  • Define your goals

    Don’t establish a brand presence on social media for the sake of it. Establish clear goals — how can your brand leverage social media to its marketing advantage? Determine your exact reason for developing your social media strategy, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, building a community or promoting new products and services, and build out tactics from there

  • Establish your most important metrics and KPIs

    Once you’ve set clearly defined and measurable goals, think about what metrics will effectively measure their success. For example, you might want to achieve a certain number of followers or produce a specific engagement rate within an allotted time frame. Use these KPIs to measure and optimise your performance over time, and use historical data to help define your average month-on-month growth targets.

  • Develop your content strategy

    When it comes to social media, content is king. Consider which content types resonate best with your audience and chosen platforms and build your content strategy from there. Outline your content output schedule, including how much content you will produce and what days and times you will share it with your audience. Remember to include a mix of content types and take note of which content performs best.

  • Create pre-prepared customer service documentation and responses

    Customer service is an integral part of any social media strategy but can often get overlooked. To save time, pre-prepare a set of responses to your brand’s most frequently asked questions that you can easily copy and paste. Aim to respond to all customer enquiries promptly to ensure customer satisfaction. According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index, 40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.

  • Prepare consistent visual branding and styling

    Most social media platforms are highly visual, meaning consistent and high-quality content is essential. To achieve this, pre-prepare a set of digital templates made up of your most common post types. Additionally, double check your brand’s social profile is well formatted and easy to understand from the perspective of a new customer.

  • Monitor performance and optimise where required

    Stay on top of algorithm changes and platform changes by consistently monitoring your social performance, ideally monthly. Observe which content pieces performed best and incorporate these findings into developing new content.

Provider Spotlight: Swinburne Online

Swinburne Online is a digital education portal that delivers online university and TAFE courses on behalf of Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology — one of Australia’s leading educational institutions.

Offering a wide range of highly engaging and productive university courses, Swinburne Online’s students have the opportunity to receive the same qualifications and study any time, anywhere through an innovative and easy to use digital portal.

Swinburne Online has a social presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. The content on each platform is catered to suit each individual platform’s capabilities. For example, the content shared on Facebook and Instagram is essentially the same but the post is formatted differently to suit Instagram’s prioritisation of high-quality, visually appealing content.

110921 Organic Social Media Platform Infographic V.3 02

What helps Swinburne Online stand out from the social media crowd is it’s consistent profile set-ups. Their username is the same across all platforms, in addition to their bio and profile imagery. This not only helps students find their brand more easily but also makes their brand look professional and credible.

Additionally, the engagement strategies in place take advantage of each platform’s individual strengths. For example, on Instagram where UGC thrives, their Instagram bio invites students to share their online studying experience using a specific hashtag and handle to encourage re-sharing.

The world of organic social media can appear overwhelming at first but with this industry insider knowledge, education providers can take their social media presence to the next level.

Keep an eye out for part two of this blog post series, coming in early December.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

Why Young Australians Are Struggling to Find Work – A 2021 Update

e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

Young Australians have faced a tough year. COVID-19, Industry 4.0 and skills shortages have all amplified feelings of uncertainty in young people’s lives.

Australians under 25 have frequently cited mass job losses, travel restrictions and heightened mental health concerns as some of the difficulties affecting their education and career goals.

This article is an update of our older blog and further explores the key factors impacting young Australians in 2021 and what we – individuals, employers and educators – can do about it.

Times have changed – COVID has changed it

The pandemic has changed Australian lives forever – youth unemployment is now a major issue in Australia. Almost one in three young people are unemployed or underemployed, with this trend predicted to last another decade. 

Last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported almost one in three workers aged 18 to 24 lost their jobs between March and April, spurring a 23-year high youth unemployment rate of 16.4% in June. Further compounding this crisis is the high underemployment rate, which sat at over 18% in 2020. 

The pandemic severely affected sectors, such as hospitality, retail, tourism and arts. These are industries that historically employed a large portion of Australia’s young, casual or part-time workers. 

Despite plenty of young people and job seekers eager to join the workforce or secure more hours at work, they simply can’t. Between February and March alone, the number of young people with full-time jobs fell by 10.1% – to put that into perspective, it’s three times more than those aged over 25. 

A new study by the University of Melbourne found that young people who lost jobs during the pandemic or were on the cusp of entering the workforce, risked missing out on building vital skills and experiences during the crucial early stages of their careers.

The rise of the gig economy in Australia

While the pandemic stripped customer service industries to the bone, we’ve witnessed gaps appear in the labour market. More workers are breaking free of the 9-to-5 workday, with many turning to ‘on-demand’ or ‘gig’ work instead. 

The rise of the gig economy represents young workers’ shift of preference. Many young professionals are adopting a digital nomadic lifestyle, using new technologies to work while giving them flexibility they can’t get elsewhere. 

While ‘gig jobs’ is not a new concept, it has grown significantly popular among the younger generations post-COVID. Approximately 40% of the global digital workforce is engaged in some form of gig work – and this number is growing rapidly. 

The Foundation for Young AustraliansNew Work Order Report found 70% of under-34-year-olds use a digital talent platform, such as Airtasker and Fiverr, to find work. These on-demand platforms are predicted to create an additional 270,000 jobs by 2025. 

The growth of the gig economy will be tremendous. With more workers moving to this new way of working, policymakers and educators must find ways to support young people in reaching their employment goals – whether that’s full-time work or a successful freelance career.

Young people lack appropriate education and experience

There’s no doubt we are experiencing a period of profound change – jobs that have existed for decades have been displaced overnight, and new ones created in their places. The rise of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are threatening the shelf life of many workers’ skill sets. 

In our previous blog, we unpacked the future of work, particularly the occupations at risk of displacement. Experts calculate that 40% of Australia’s job market will disappear in the next 10 years. Globally, 85 million jobs are estimated to be displaced by machines before 2025. 

This situation will only get more dire if we don’t change our approach. 

According to the FYA, 58% of university students and 71% of TAFE students are currently studying for an occupation that will cease to exist or transform dramatically in the next decade or so.

Further exacerbating this crisis is young people’s lack of relevant education or work experience. In fact, 33% of unemployed young Australians believe they lack the right education to obtain work in their field, even in an entry-level role. To add to this, 28% of graduates report they don’t use the skills they gained during their education or training in their current role. 

The lack of work-integrated learning or real-world applications makes it challenging for young people to enter the labour force as a graduate. It’s clear educators and governments must do better to enable an easier transition from study to work, reducing long-term unemployment.

How we will improve young people’s job prospects

Our governments are already tackling youth unemployment from a policy perspective, however, educators still have a role to play. Below are ways educators can help young people secure work post-study.

1. Utilise VET to address youth unemployment

The NCVER says: “VET offers valuable mechanisms to address youth unemployment if implemented in tandem with holistic support services.” 

VET is the bridge that connects qualifications to employment. It offers learners supportive training environments where they can complete training and develop real-world skills. 

NCVER’s 2020 Student Outcomes Survey reported 39% of young people who were unemployed before starting their qualification found work upon completion – this statistic sitting higher at 47% in 2019. These statistics demonstrate how well-placed our VET sector is in addressing youth unemployment

The NCVER believes VET offers young people pathways into vocational education, supportive training environments, individualised career guidance and work-based training – all of which protect young people from the scarring effects of unemployment. Workers with VET qualifications have improved outcomes in terms of “employment, income, hours worked and job quality”.

2. Push for industry-led courses with real-world applications

Changes in technology and labour market conditions are pushing learners to look beyond traditional schooling. The future of work calls for a skilled, adaptable workforce – and micro-credentials are the answer we need. 

Micro-credentials are short non-formal qualifications, typically designed in collaboration with industry experts, to help learners upskill in specific knowledge areas. They are a time and cost-effective way for professionals to upskill or enter a new industry.

Rumours about formally regulated micro-credentials have been circling our sector for years. However, it wasn’t until recently that the Australian Government announced a push to fast-track micro-credentials in VET

Bryan Palmer’s research report, ‘An Analysis of Micro-credentials in VET’, unpacks popular learning areas that exist outside of nationally recognised programs – particularly citing the large volume of students enrolled in micro-credentials in 2019.

In addition to offering industry-led short courses, providers have a unique opportunity to provide a well-rounded learning experience for students by incorporating work-based learning. Work-integrated or work-based learning, integrated into course curriculums, can help graduates transition into the workforce with more ease.

3. Establish pathways into the jobs of tomorrow

We are currently living through a megatrend of technological change. Automation, AI and big data are all affecting the quality and quantity of jobs available in our near future. 

The World Economic Forum’s research has found that our future of work will be varied, with diversity across emerging professions and industries. In saying that, the highest growth of new jobs will be in health and community services, data and AI, product development and digital marketing. 

Prospective learners who pursue study in industries considered in high demand are those who hold the highest chances of becoming employed post-study. 

Education providers can help Australia’s youth combat unemployment or underemployment by creating pathways into these jobs of tomorrow. 

It’s important to understand that the 9-to-5 life is not the only opportunity for learners. The digital nomadic or gig lifestyle will become an increasingly popular career pathway for younger generations. Those studying digital marketing or creative services may actually prefer flexible working and balanced working lives – prompting them to choose to pursue a freelance career. 

In any case, it’s important to recognise gig work as a viable career pathway and offer student support and employment services accordingly.

4. Offer flexible payments and funding support

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have had a devastating financial impact on Australians of all ages. Mass job losses and financial anxiety has spurred students to demonstrate higher sensitivity to education funding arrangements.

Our Student Sentiment Index revealed that prospective students are now less likely to pursue study without financial support or government aid. This has triggered the announcement of several national funding initiatives, such as JobTrainer and Free TAFE, which Australians have responded eagerly to. 

In Victoria alone, more students than ever were turning to Free TAFE to find a pathway into work. Enrolments in January 2021 were up 83% compared to the same time last year.

Flexible payment options can also provide your students with more flexibility and support while they kick start their learning journey. Payment options provide learners with more opportunities to pursue study without worrying about financial implications. There are several approaches typically adopted by providers, including interest-free payments and staggered payment schedules.

The pandemic has significantly affected young people’s education and career goals, with this set to have long-lasting ramifications.

However, employers, governments and educators are well-positioned to address youth unemployment through online learning, industry-led courses, work-integrated learning and flexible funding arrangements.

This article is an updated version of our previous blog

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

Student Recruitment Beyond Covid-19: Digital Strategies for Education Providers

e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

Student recruitment in the time of coronavirus is challenging and unpredictable. Today, our education sector is almost entirely online. Education providers are having to pivot to digital student recruitment, online training delivery and virtual engagement.

In addition to online training delivery, providers must shift their perspective on student recruitment. Many traditional models such as open days, radio or TV advertisements are quickly becoming obsolete.

To replace traditional student marketing activities, go for a digital-first recruitment experience. Here are three engaging and effective strategies for you to explore:

1. Make your students your go-to marketing tool.

Current students and alumni can be one of the most powerful marketing strategies in student recruitment. No one else is in a better position to persuade a prospective student than someone who’s already gone through the same journey and chosen your brand. 

To inbound students, your current students or alumni are seen as peers, rather than a marketing tool. This cohort can increase prospective students’ trust in your brand, prompting them through the enrolment process. 

A great learning experience speaks volumes. Students who enjoy their learning experience and are engaged with you are more likely to become your advocates. 

When adopting this practice, you should choose students who have experienced genuine, positive interactions with your institution. These are individuals who are more likely to be advocates and ambassadors for your courses through their own channels – generating word-of-mouth referrals, free of charge.  

If you want to go one step further, engineer environments where prospective students can access and communicate with students or alumni. Networking sessions, live Q&As, forums and messenger platforms are all great examples of this. These channels provide a more candid form of discussion, where prospective students can easily discover information and use it in their research and course comparison stage. 

2. Boost your digital marketing budget.

With most states and territories experiencing at least some form of lockdown over the past year, it makes sense for marketers to review and adjust their strategy and budget. 

As a first step, consider reducing your spend in areas like in-person events, traditional media, radio advertisements and guerilla marketing. Instead, increase your digital marketing activities to keep your brand and courses front of mind.

The most successful and robust education providers of 2020 and 2021 are those who have reviewed and experimented with their digital marketing mix.

A global study has found that 73% of marketing leaders increased their marketing activities between 2019 and 2020. They also reallocated 28% of their budget towards online advertising, 18% for content marketing and 12% on social media marketing.

In another survey, 90% of participants indicated social media was their go-to marketing tool, while 55% also praised email marketing for its effectiveness. 46% used dedicated web pages and 45% utilised instant messenger services. 

With more prospective students online than ever, it’s necessary to make pivots to increase your digital marketing spend and include more of the following:

While no-one is expecting a COVID-normal where student recruitment is done entirely online, we should expect online solutions to have higher prominence than their traditional/in-person marketing counterparts.

3. Invest in digital experiences like virtual open days or seminars.

Before the pandemic, virtual open days were practically non-existent. Within over a year, this has been flipped on its head. 

A new report has found 73% of education providers have run a virtual open day since the start of the pandemic. The same survey found that of the 27% who haven’t run a virtual open day, 67% were planning to run one in the next few years.

Arguably, virtual tours or open days can be exhausting and cannot emulate the same experience as in-person events. However, large-scale tours still enable you to curate a well-rounded personalised experience that is completely accessible. 

Providers who prefer to dip their toes into this space or don’t have the budget to create fully-fledged multi-day experiences should explore other alternatives, such as:

  • Informational webinars
  • Networking events
  • Industry-specific Q&As
  • Virtual mentoring sessions

The key to running webinars and workshops is ensuring it adds value to your institution and learners. The topic and speakers for each will depend on the action you want learners to take. For example: a webinar to generate awareness for your institution should be shaped differently to one that follows up with students after they’ve submitted their course enquiry. 

Regardless of which virtual events you end up choosing, they’re a great way to attract, convert and enrol prospective students.

While we adjust to a new digital era, there are still plenty of opportunities for education providers to interact and engage with students. Those looking to stand out from the crowd should be prepared to pivot their marketing strategies to include some of the emerging practices mentioned above.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

The Advantages of Performance Marketing for Providers

e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

Today’s brands are searching for custom marketing solutions that better suit their individual needs. This increased demand has triggered a pivot from traditional marketing to performance marketing.

Traditionally, brands would pay for marketing efforts regardless of the outcome. Customised marketing solutions, such as performance marketing, put the power back in the hands of brands —ensuring they only pay for real-world results.

This service model has risen in popularity, particularly among education providers. Education providers are always looking for opportunities to keep their marketing costs low and their returns high – and performance marketing does just that.

In this article, we unpack:

  • What performance marketing is
  • Why performance marketing is an increasingly viable solution for education providers
  • How providers can put performance marketing into practise
  • How Candlefox fits into the performance marketing mix

What is performance marketing?

Performance marketing (also known as performance-based marketing) refers to digital marketing campaigns in which brands are charged by the specific actions completed by their customers. These actions can include sales, leads or sign-ups generated.

This approach ensures that brands only pay for successful campaigns – keeping marketing costs low and ROMI high. This is in contrast to traditional marketing models, in which brands accrue marketing costs regardless of a campaign’s success.

Performance marketing shifts this dynamic – brands and marketing companies work together to drive the most value for every marketing dollar.

The benefits of performance marketing

Performance marketing is especially beneficial for education providers due to the nature of student recruitment and course marketing. It is becoming an increasingly viable solution for brands as a way to improve ROI .

Here are some of the key benefits that make performance marketing so appealing:

  • Campaign performance is trackable & measurable.

    Performance marketing allows providers to only pay for predefined metrics of success. For example, providers can track and quantify customer actions, such as completing a lead enquiry form or signing up to a mailing list. It alsoPerformance marketing enables providers to track campaign budgets and report on performance easily.

  • It can extend advertising reach.

    Some marketing companies specialise in performance marketing for niche markets, such as Candlefox. Specialised marketing solutions can extend advertising reach beyond traditional marketing models – increasing sales opportunities, such as course enquiries.

  • It can diversify revenue streams.

    Instead of relying on existing sales channels alone, providers have another method for generating revenue. This is valuable in volatile economic periods, especially if course enquiries or enrolments are decreasing in other marketing channels.

  • It allows for creativity & flexibility in marketing material.

    Marketing companies that specialise in performance marketing focus on creativity and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to create highly-engaging campaigns. It is in their best interest to produce highly creative campaigns that attract customers and can also be edited and optimised whilst the campaign is live.

How to build performance marketing into your next campaign

If you’re ready to explore performance marketing for your brand, here are the basic building blocks of a solid campaign:

  • Establish your campaign goal.

    Like any campaign, it’s critical to lock in what you aim to achieve. Campaign goals could include increased sales, brand awareness, website traffic, engagement or lead generation (to name a few).

  • Choose your digital channels.

    Select multiple channels to diversify your reach, tailored specifically to your campaign goal metric and suit the needs of your target audience. Explore newer channels, like the Education Marketplaces.

  • Create and launch the campaign.

    Research your target audience in-depth to create the ideal ad creatives and copy to specifically appeal to them

  • Measure and optimise your campaign.

    Closely monitor your campaign once it goes live. Keep track of analytics to determine which aspects of your campaign perform the best and allocate ad spend accordingly.

  • Learn and reflect on your campaign.

    Post-campaign reflection and analysis is critical to ensure continued success of performance marketing campaigns. Review campaign performance data to identify strengths and weaknesses and explore options for improvement for your next campaign.

    How Candlefox fits into the performance marketing mix

    The ability to reach niche audiences makes performance marketing a great asset to education providers.

    The Candlefox Marketplace partners with education providers to promote their course offerings on our Marketplace websites, where almost one million students visit monthly to search and compare their education and training options.

    We support providers by diversifying their digital marketing channels – increasing their amount of leads and enrolments they receive. We also provide our partners with in-depth analytics to keep them informed of their campaign’s performance.

    “We see the best results when we equip providers with the tools that they need to inspire their strategic decisions and drive value to their business. Our service is fuelled by our unique ability to offer solutions that combine data-driven insights with two-way feedback to foster long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.” – Jim Rodd, Head of Partnerships

    Interested? Get in touch!

    As the advertising industry becomes more transparent, brands are looking beyond traditional marketing methods to build marketing strategies with proven return on investment.

    With performance marketing, providers can keep their marketing costs to a minimum and win at increasing their lead and enrolment volumes.

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    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy

    The 101 Guide to the Australian Candlefox Marketplace

    e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

    Student sentiment is changing.

    Engaging and enrolling learners has become more difficult, especially amidst the financial stress, job instability and heightened mental health concerns the last year has unearthed.

    Education marketing plays an important role in addressing and solving these challenges. Not only will it boost enrolment numbers, it will also help providers engage and retain a larger portion of their student population.

    This is where the Candlefox Marketplace comes into play. As your digital marketing partner, we become your go-to solution for reaching and engaging with a large pool of active student prospects.

    In this article, we walk you through the benefits of our Marketplace and help you learn more about our products and services.

    Introducing Education Marketplaces

    Marketing managers are always looking to invest in the most profitable digital marketing channels. For some, this may mean SEO or paid search, for others, it means Education Marketplaces

    Education Marketplaces have been growing in popularity since the onset of the pandemic. Providers of all shapes and sizes are preferring to increase their marketing spend on a digital marketing channel that yields consistent results. 

    With an Education Marketplace, you’re guaranteed to receive a stable source of student leads without the unpredictable ROMI.

    How the Candlefox Marketplace works


    The Candlefox Education Marketplace is the largest of its kind in Australia, with close to one million monthly users on our network.

    Our Marketplace works by connecting high-intent student prospects with quality education providers, like yourself. 

    Domestic students land on our Marketplace actively looking for courses. When a student enquiries, we pass on this lead to your CRM and equip your team with best-practice post-enquiry techniques to maximise enrolments.

    Our solution is ‘set and forget’. After setting up, you don’t have to worry about campaign optimisations. You will automatically receive high-quality student leads from the get-go.

    Our brands

    The global Candlefox Marketplace is a network of multiple website brands – each with its own unique value proposition and target audience.

    All our brands help students compare courses from different providers, including short course, vocational and higher education institutes.

    In Australia, we operate four website brands.


      A Marketplace for all education options, from short courses to postgraduate degrees and everything in between.


      A vocational-focused Marketplace for students to compare courses from TAFEs and private education providers.


      A Marketplace with a range of short courses from Australia’s leading online education providers.


      Detailed university profiles designed for students to compare courses, reviews and rankings.

    Marketplace student profile

    Marketplace user profile graphic

    Prospective students are actively seeking out education courses when they reach our Marketplace – and they often do so organically. This suggests that they are a high-intent audience who are likely to enquire about a course. 

    Our Marketplace is geared towards helping students navigate their study options and pursue a lifelong learning path. 

    Because of this, the majority of our site visitors are Career Changers or Upskillers between the ages of 25 and 54.

    Interestingly, our Marketplace attracts a higher volume of female course seekers (58%).

    The Marketplace Student Journey

    We place an enormous focus on the student experience. Our user interface ensures students understand the enquiry process and have access to information they need throughout the entire journey. We produce a range of content and resources – including industry insights and career advice – to help learners make more informed decisions. 

    There are several phases of the Marketplace journey:

    • Homepage

      The homepage is a high-engagement landing page. Here, students begin narrowing their study options using our Course Navigator.

    • Subject page

      Students can navigate to subject pages and compare courses at a glance in their preferred subject area.

    • Course listing

      Course listings provide students with a comprehensive overview of each course. They’ll use these pages to research and compare courses before finding one best suited to them.

    • Enquiry form

      When a student clicks the ‘Enquire Now’ button, they’ll be able to fill in their contact details, completing a course enquiry.

    • ‘Thank You’ page

      Upon the completion of the enquiry form, students will be directed to a ‘Thank You’ page which includes information about the provider.

    • ‘Thank You’ email

      Immediately upon enquiry, students will also receive a ‘Thank You’ email, containing important information about the provider and course.

    • SMS

      After the enquiry, students may also receive an SMS informing them about their enquiry and scheduled call time with the provider.

    • Provider profile

      Students can navigate to a provider profile at any point in the journey. This page contains useful information about the provider and any live course listings on our Marketplace.

    Marketplace products and services

    Student experience is everything – understanding and engaging with learners is crucial to business growth and return on investment.

    We’ve developed innovative products and solutions to better help you with exactly this.

    Over the past year, we’ve launched new, cutting-edge solutions to help you amplify your brand and course marketing efforts. Along with lead generation and enrolment services, we now offer the following:

    • Brand Boost
    • Email Marketing and Newsletter Features
    • Featured Home Placements
    • Mystery Shop
    • Phone Leads
    • Post-enquiry Personalisation
    • SMS Campaigns
    • Sponsored Content
    • Subject Spotlight
    • Video Placements

    Browse or learn more about these solutions via our ‘Marketplace Products and Services’ blog.

    Service and quality guarantee

    There are two core elements that underpin the Candlefox Marketplace:

    • Quality

      Our quality of service is rooted in empowered partnerships and custom-built solutions. We provide consistent, high-quality results to all our partners. We have a culture of experimentation and a strong grasp of the education sector which enables us to provide partners with industry expertise and real-time data.

    • Simplicity

      Once you become a partner, we ensure a seamless implementation process. Our Course Administrative Team works with you to set up your course listings, with geographic optimisation and delivery method considerations available for your courses.

    The hundreds of thousands of prospective students visiting our sites each month can’t be wrong. To them, the Candlefox Marketplace is the go-to lead course comparison site in Australia.

    If you’re an education provider looking to boost your lead generation and course marketing efforts, why not book a demo with our team today?

    Get in touch.

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    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy

    Increasing Women’s Participation in STEM: A Deep-dive into the Industry with Developers Institute

    e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

    Women’s underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) study and careers has been well documented – with women accounting for only 24% of Australia’s total STEM workforce in 2019.

    Extensive research has been already conducted to identify why these discrepancies have occurred and what actionable steps industry, government and education providers can take to solve this gender gap. However, we wanted to dig deeper – we wanted to understand what role (and how big of a role) education providers should play.

    For this article, we interviewed Ruth Green-Cole and Isabelle Bierwirth from Developers Institute, a leading institution providing education and training to software developers. Together, we developed key insights on how education providers can drive more women into STEM.

    Women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

    Although women’s workforce participation issues are not exclusive to STEM fields, sweeping experiences of bias and stereotyping profoundly impact girl’s and women’s development of confidence and interest in STEM.

    There are several major factors that contribute to women’s low interest and enrolments in STEM. 

    • Gender stereotypes and bias
    • Limited exposure to STEM during K-12 schooling
    • Discrimination and harassment in the workforce
    • Lack of access to flexible working
    • Fewer career development opportunities

    Ultimately, the combination of these pressures and influences have contributed to:

    • Fewer women enrolling in STEM study and a higher drop-out rate
    • Fewer job prospects for women
    • Lower representation of women in senior leadership positions
    • More women ‘jumping ship’ – switching to careers that offer more flexible working

    What Australia’s STEM industries look like in 2021

    Despite historical gender discrepancies, women’s behaviours and attitudes towards STEM are shifting.

    According to the latest data from the Australian Government, women’s representation and participation in this industry showed real improvement. Girls and women demonstrated higher interest levels and participation in STEM study and careers in 2020 than any other year.

    The data found:

    • Women’s enrolment in STEM university programs (undergraduate and postgraduate) increased by 2% over the past five years – jumping from 34% in 2015 to 36% in 2019.
    • The number of women working across all STEM-qualified industries increased from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2020.
    • The number of women in executive or senior management positions increased from 18% in 2016 to 23% in 2020.

    In addition to this, STEM industries are expected to grow exponentially post-COVID-19 – the future of work will demand more workers with STEM skill sets, regardless of gender.

    The World Economic Forum, in their 2020 Future of Jobs Report, ranks artificial intelligence (AI), and web and software development skills as some of the highest soon-to-be-in-demand skills. Unsurprisingly, men vastly outnumber women in these jobs of tomorrow.

    When discussing the software development industry in Australia and New Zealand, Co-founder and General Manager of Developers Institute, Ruth Green-Cole said: “We already don’t have enough software developers to fill industry demand”. 

    Green-Cole went on to add that as businesses become increasingly digitised and automated, employers and businesses will “demand more associate developers to help fill growing tech gaps”. 

    Despite this, Australia and New Zealand’s national talent pools are limited by the severe underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM education and careers.

    So the following question stands: how do we develop and nurture enough talented software developers to fill industry needs?

    The answer lies with education providers.

    Shifting bias in education marketing – education providers closing the gender gap

    Government data shows the participation of women in STEM education has been extremely low prior to 2020. In 2019, women made up only 22% of the total enrolments and 24% of total completions of the STEM cohort.

    Despite the low percentage of women’s participation in STEM study, educators have stated STEM qualifications and skills will be crucial for Australia’s jobs of tomorrow. 97% agreed that STEM skills are important for the Australian economy and 89% believe that STEM skills will provide job security to future workers. 

    A strong STEM education system requires education institutions to play a more active role in attracting, engaging and retaining women in STEM study. The positioning and advertisement of STEM courses can influence women’s decision to pursue study in a STEM field.

    “There are a lot of stereotypes in this industry, which then creates barriers for women pursuing STEM. Once we remove these stigmas, we should see an influx of women enrolling in STEM study,” says Green-Cole.

    “At the end of the day, education marketing isn’t about gender, it’s about talent,” says Isabelle Bierwirth, Head of Marketing of Developers Institute. 

    “At Developers Institute, we make a conscious effort to remove gender bias in our marketing. We don’t specifically market to women or men – we market our programs based on potential skills and decision-making capabilities. This enables us to attract talented students who hold the right mindset and skills that will help them excel as a software developer.”

    Without a doubt, years of gender bias and stereotypes have led to low representation of women in STEM.

    However, research has made it clear that moving forward, our industries, governments and education providers all have a more active role to play. Creating and ensuring there are equal opportunities for all genders to excel in STEM will help us build a more diverse and talented workforce, and improve long-term economic security.

    Developers Institute is a leading vocational education provider, specialising in web and software development training. Experienced industry professionals deliver a cutting-edge, industry-driven curriculum, focused specifically on preparing developers for fulfilling careers in software.

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    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy

    Candlefox Marketplace: A Comprehensive List of Services for Providers

    e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

    At Candlefox, we’re committed to building the best possible experience for both our providers and students. We’re constantly looking for the best ways to optimise our websites and create a better experience for prospective students.

    Over the past year, we’ve launched new customisable solutions on the Candlefox Education Marketplace. Our cutting-edge products and services help hundreds of providers amplify their brand and support students in their individual learning journeys.


    What this means for providers

    At Candlefox, we understand the importance of engaging with student prospects from enquiry to enrolment. That’s why we’ve built the Candlefox Marketplace. 

    Our Marketplace helps education providers build a truly student-centric marketing strategy. Our Marketplace solutions help providers make their brand more discoverable and increase engagement with prospective students. 

    As of 2021, we now offer the following custom solutions on our Marketplace:

    Brand Boost

    brand boost

    Brand awareness is a critical component in educating prospective students and driving them down the marketing funnel. 

    Our Brand Boost solutions help providers stand out from the crowd and generate more leads. Providers who have used this service have seen their brand engagement increase by 100%.

    Our Brand Boost solution works two-fold:

    • A sponsored homepage logo placement to increase brand exposure to prospective students. These strategic placements help providers get in front of their competitors and showcase their brand more prominently.

    • A Premium or Elite ‘Provider Profile Page’ gives our partners the ability to create a more personalised experience and a better home for their brand. Provider Profiles are now fully customisable with rich media and student testimonial placements.

    Email Marketing and Newsletter Features

    EDM V2

    Our Email Marketing and Newsletter Features service enable providers to land in prospective students’ inboxes and build valuable brand affinity.

    With this solution, providers can either distribute their own branded email to our student database or be featured in our monthly Marketplace newsletters. Both provide an excellent opportunity to offer discounts to prospective students, further encouraging conversions and enrolments.

    Featured Homepage Placements

    featured homepage V2

    Bypass the course comparison stage of the student journey by showcasing a stand-out course before students even reach the subject landing pages.

    Providers can ensure prospective students see their brand and courses first when they land on the homepage with our Featured Homepage Placement.

    Providers who have a Featured Homepage Placement have seen their featured course attract up to 20 times more course views and up to five times as many leads.

    Mystery Shop

    Providers looking to get the best possible return on marketing investment from our leads understand that a robust post-enquiry contact strategy is key. 

    Our Mystery Shop service helps providers optimise their post-enquiry process by improving their sales team performance.

    Our Enrolment Services Team assesses the performance of a provider’s sales team. We then provide two call recordings and an insights report documenting suggested areas for improvement.

    Phone Leads

    Phone leads provide a seamless way for providers to instantly connect with students over the phone or engage with students who may not want to submit a course enquiry.

    With Phone Leads, high-intent students can now call providers directly from course listings on our Marketplace.

    Once a student has reviewed a course listing, they can choose to use the ‘Call Now’ button to speak directly with the course provider – all without needing to submit an enquiry form. 

    We understand that not every student who visits our Marketplace is ready to pick up the phone, but we know the importance of making direct contact accessible to those who are. We’ve found that prospective students who use the ‘Call Now’ button are two to three times more likely to enrol in their course of choice.

    Post-enquiry Personalisation

    When it comes to the student experience, the post-enquiry process is vital to enrolment success. Providers with a comprehensive post-enquiry nurture journey increase their enrolment rate by 100%.

    Our Post-enquiry Personalisation services have been built with both our providers and prospective students in mind. With this solution, providers can reinforce their brand by:

    • Customising their post-enquiry message on our Marketplace with written and video content.
    • Personalising the post-enquiry ‘Thank You’ email and SMS.

    With these unique personalisation solutions, providers can further engage with prospective students, keeping their brand front of mind.

    Sponsored Content

    sponsored content V2

    Our Marketplace blogs (otherwise known as ‘Student Hubs’) attract hundreds of thousands of prospective students per month. Our Student Hub is one of the first touch points on our Marketplace and assists students through their decision-making process by providing a wealth of resources and content.

    Sponsored Advertorials on our ‘Student Hub’ give our providers the opportunity to reach students who are already exploring educational resources, industry advice and everything else in between. 

    Providers can collaborate with our in-house content team to create rich and engaging content that captures the attention of students. With this service, providers can:

    • Improve their brand awareness and reputation by demonstrating their subject matter expertise.
    • Promote their courses outside of our course listing pages, with the option to add direct links back to their course listings.

    SMS Campaigns

    SMS is a highly effective form of marketing communication, making it an ideal way to engage and attract prospective students. 

    With SMS Campaigns, providers can leverage our student database to drive traffic to their course listings, generating more brand awareness. Our SMS Campaigns also offer providers a fantastic opportunity to offer limited-time deals and discounts to counteract price sensitivity.

    Subject Spotlight

    subject spotlight

    In January 2021, we worked with Learning People to implement the ‘Subject Spotlight’ solution on CoursesOnline. This solution increased their ‘share of voice’ on our Marketplace by 120%.

    • A ‘Featured Provider‘ sponsorship that gives providers exclusive access to an ‘above-the-fold’ placement on our high-traffic subject landing pages.
    • A ‘Top Spot‘ placement that guarantees them the ‘Top Result’ ranking on the subject landing page, putting their course at the forefront of student minds.

    We’ve made it easier for providers to promote their courses and feature their brand with our Subject Spotlight solution. It works in two parts:

    • Boosting brand visibility and improving brand recall.
    • Building subject-level ownership and credibility.
    • Increasing brand impressions, course views and share of voice.
    • Funneling student prospects to a list of the provider’s available courses.

    Our partners who have taken advantage of the Subject Spotlight solution have seen their share of voice increase by 20%, as well as an uplift in student enquiries.

    View our case studies:

    Learning people article hero
    How Learning People Increased Share of Voice on the Candlefox Marketplace by 120%

    In January 2021, we worked with Learning People to implement the ‘Subject Spotlight’ solution on CoursesOnline. This solution increased their ‘share of voice’ on our Marketplace by 120%.

    Read more

    Ducere article hero
    How Ducere Achieved a 198.87% Increase in Lead Volume with the ‘Subject Spotlight’ Solution

    Before the Subject Spotlight solution, Ducere was searching for a way to boost lead volumes and brand exposure during COVID-19. Since May 2020, Ducere has seen an impressive uplift in brand presence and student enquiries.

    Read more

    Video Placements

    video placements

    Video is one of the most captivating forms of content. That’s why we’ve created Video Placements on our course listing pages to help our providers showcase their courses in a different light.

    Providers can use video content to:

    • Instantly capture students’ attention.
    • Highlight their key selling points in a visual way.
    • Incorporate social proof, such as student testimonials, to better convert student prospects.

    We’ve found that students on our Marketplace who watch videos on course listing pages are two to three times more likely to enquire about a course.

    Since embedding owned video content into their course listings in July 2020, St John Ambulance Victoria found that students who watched their videos were three times more likely to submit an enquiry.

    These solutions are just some of the course marketing and lead generation services we have on offer for our providers on our Marketplace. We are always innovating new solutions to support our partners in their digital marketing efforts.

    Want to learn more or enquire about a custom-built solution just for you? Get in touch with our team today!

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    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy

    The Sales and Marketing Basics: How Do You Shape Up?

    e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

    As an education marketer, you may already be familiar with the challenges of creating an effective sales and marketing strategy. Without one, your efforts are spent in vain.

    When it comes to sales and marketing, you need to be able to relate to your student prospects and encourage them along the student acquisition funnel.

    How do you demonstrate the value of your courses? How do you convince these students to choose your institution over others? 

    To help you answer these questions, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you nail sales and marketing.


    What is a sales and marketing strategy?

    Your sales and marketing strategy details how you will orchestrate your efforts and how it will shape your company’s success and future. It is your plan for targeting, engaging, converting and tracking student prospects. 

    A sales and marketing strategy also aligns the various departments within your company – ensuring you all share the same goals and vision.

    How to develop your sales and marketing plan – a step-by-step guide

    Sales and marketing can be daunting – after all, your institution is relying on them to drive revenue and growth. 

    A strong sales and marketing strategy will help you generate and convert more student leads, helping you hit your targets and exceed expectations.

    Let’s unpack the core elements of an effective sales and marketing plan:

    1. Set a shared vision.

    Your sales and marketing teams should be working as a cohesive unit throughout the student journey – from acquiring and nurturing leads, to closing them and driving student success. A collaborative approach provides students with a seamless end-to-end education experience, increasing their likelihood of enrolling and studying their program through to completion. 

    To do this, you need to ensure your sales and marketing teams are heading in the same direction. This can be as simple as:

    • Aligning on business objectives.
    • Sharing the same core customer.
    • Agreeing on the lead qualification and handoff process.
    • Coordinating a shared budget if required.

    If you have a combined marketing and sales department, consider separating them. Your marketing team should build and execute your student acquisition strategy, while your sales or student enrolment team will convert leads into students. 

    Avoid having a team that has their attention divided across all areas of student acquisition and enrolment. Instead, create two distinct teams to distinguish and execute each function with success.

    2. Define your target personas.

    Once your sales and marketing teams share a singular vision and goal, it’s time to research and establish your ideal student. Aligning around a common target audience enables you to better attract, engage and convert prospective students. 

    In the simplest terms, your ideal student is your target audience. Start by thinking about:

    • Which student segments are most likely to enquire and enrol in one of your courses
    • Sharing the same core customer.
    • What character traits or behaviours might they exhibit that will help you ‘sell’ your brand

    Conduct research on your target audience and critically assess their behaviours, motivations and pain points.

    Use this information to create tailored personas. The personas should be reflective of real people and therefore identify the needs, pain points and learning pathways of your students. 

    Once you’ve defined your personas, it’s time to map their journey with your brand. To understand when and how best to engage with your personas, identify the potential interactions or touchpoints you may have with student prospects and create tailored marketing content to help them progress through the decision-making process.

    3. Build your brand.

    As an education provider, educating students is the most important part of the student journey – it’s what education institutions do best.

    That said, it’s important that prospective students understand who you are before they embark on their education, and what your institute stands for.

    Your brand is your identity – it’s what people will remember. Make your brand more impressionable to prospective students by establishing your key brand differentiators. Think about what makes you unique and why students should choose you. Document and share your brand value proposition and ensure you communicate this across all your sales and marketing channels. 

    Your brand voice also plays a crucial role in defining who you are – so use it to distinguish yourself in the market. Consider the tone of voice you will use, and how it will appeal to prospective students. 

    4. Establish your online presence.

    It’s not just tech-savvy millennials who expect you to have a solid online presence anymore. In today’s environment, it’s more important than ever to build a robust online brand. 

    Your online content and interactions will influence students’ opinions about your brand. Encourage positive sentiment by building a digital-friendly brand where students can easily access your course information, submit an enquiry and enrol online. 

    Here are some helpful tips for building your online presence:

    • Optimise your website and make it mobile responsive.

      User experience is key – clunky website design and information architecture can dissuade prospective students from submitting an enquiry. Optimise your website experience to encourage a larger volume of students to browse your courses and submit enquiries.

    • Implement an effective SEO strategy.

      Make your brand more discoverable to a larger volume of students on search engines, such as Google.

    • Use varied digital channels to engage with prospective students and provide customer service.

      Reach a larger percentage of the student market by activating and remaining active on platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    5. Develop a digital marketing strategy.

    A digital marketing strategy is key to attracting and nurturing leads. 

    Your digital marketing strategy should detail what you’re setting out to achieve, what your key performance indicators are and what your cost per student acquisition is. 

    Your strategy should include:

    • The inbound and outbound channels you plan on using
    • The campaigns you are launching
    • A content plan including key messages and call-to-actions

    When developing your digital marketing strategy, also think about the following:

    • Diversifying your channels.

      Don’t rely on just Adwords and Facebook as the only paid marketing channels you use to attract students. Think about email, content marketing and retargeting technology to drive your student acquisition strategy.

    • Using marketing automation to reduce your time spent on manual tasks.

      Develop segmented emails to move prospective students from the awareness to the consideration stage.

    • Utilising data analysis to understand how prospective students reach and engage with your brand.

      Use tools such as Google Analytics to track user behaviour and shape your content and messaging accordingly to different user groups.

    • Being agile and responsive.

      Don’t be afraid to change your digital strategy and messaging. Seasonality and marketplace trends will impact how prospective students respond to the market – and your marketing efforts.

    6. Prepare your sales plan.

    Marketing is step one in the nurture funnel. Once your marketing team has generated student enquiries, it’s up to your sales or student enrolment team to convert them. 

    Maximise your enrolments by optimising your team’s post-enquiry management. A successful contact strategy enables you to:

    • Improve your speed to response.
    • Nurture your leads.
    • Manage your lead pipeline effectively.
    • Have the right conversations with students.
    • Resource your sales team efficiently.
    • Enrol more students.

    7. Execute, test and review.

    Developing a sales and marketing strategy is one thing – executing and testing is another. 

    Consistently review your sales and marketing activities. Schedule regular sales and marketing meetings to discuss plans, performance to date and brainstorm opportunities to improve. 

    For a true understanding of your marketing performance, ensure you use metrics beyond conversion rates. ROMI (or Return on Marketing Investment) is a better measure of how your marketing campaigns or channels are performing – the better the ROMI, the stronger your sales and marketing plan is.

    Download our Sales and Marketing Handbook to save and access these insights anytime.

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    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy

    Course Marketing 101 – Maximise Opportunities on Your Marketplace Course Listing

    e8909df59ff66e1f48b0cd1d72eab922?s=50&d=mm&r=g Candlefox

    The education market is a crowded space, especially when competing with other providers in the same subject area. Education providers are always looking for that competitive edge – and our Marketplace is no exception.

    That’s why we’ve created this easy-to-implement course marketing guide for our Marketplace providers. These key strategies will help you stand out from the crowd by optimising your course listings and provider profile.

    What are course listings and provider profiles?

    Our course listing and provider profile pages are core elements of our Marketplace. They play an important role in prospective students’ decision-making journey.

    Course listings

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    Course listings are where students find the information they need on each course. Each listing is unique and can contain a combination of the below:

    • Course overview
    • Target audience
    • Job outcomes
    • Duration and study load
    • Course delivery and study methods
    • Entry requirements
    • Course features
    • Payment options

    Once a student narrows their course options, either through the home page or subject pages, they’ll navigate to these individual course listings. This is where they’ll begin to research and compare your courses against others before finding one that is best suited to them.

    Provider profiles

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    Our provider profiles are where students find out more information about you and your brand. 

    Students can navigate to your profile page at any point in the journey, although they generally do this after they’ve shortlisted their potential courses. This means that this page is make or break – without a strong brand identity or clearly articulated USPs (unique selling points), you’ll run the risk of losing prospective students to your competitors.

    Five strategies to maximise the potential of your course listings

    Course listings play an important role in shaping prospective students’ decisions. Our data indicate that providers who strategically optimise these pages perform better on our Marketplace. 

    We’ve produced five strategies to help you maximise student enquiries and your return on marketing investment (ROMI).

    1. Provide as much (relevant) information as you can.

    Course listings are a crucial step in prospective students’ shortlisting process – they help students narrow down their study options and make their final decision. 

    At Candlefox, we like to present our providers – and their courses – in the best light possible. To do this, we need quality information about your course and brand.

    During your onboarding, we provide you with a template for each of your course listings. While some sections aren’t required, we suggest including as much information as possible. Be mindful that the information you present is relevant and concise. 

    We understand that each course may have different selling points, that’s why no two course listings are the same. 

    While each provider may have their own method of presenting information, our data shows prospective students prefer to see similar formatting across all listings on our Marketplace. Consistent formatting enables prospective students to easily compare like-for-like courses and be more informed when they submit their final enquiry.

    2. Use bullet lists where possible.

    The best listings on our Marketplace are those that are informative, yet not overly complex. 

    We recommend that you present your information using bullet lists where possible. Bullet lists ensure your content is easily digestible to prospective students. 

    You may like to use a combination of paragraph text and bullet lists in the course overview section. Outside of this, we recommend keeping all content in list form.

    3. Invest in Video Placements.

    Video is one of the most captivating forms of content. Data shows that video content has higher engagement rates than written content, especially on mobile devices. 

    Our ‘Video Placements’ are available to providers who want to showcase their course listings in a unique way. Video helps you capture attention, educate users and promote your courses through a customised medium. 

    With video, you can increase your brand’s exposure to potential students. In fact, students who watch videos on our Marketplace course listings are three times more likely to enquire about a course.

    Get in touch with your Account Manager or enquire here to learn more about Video Placements.

    4. Maintain your brand voice.

    Your brand voice is the unique personality your brand adopts in all its marketing and communications. It’s the language style, slogans or phrases you use in your content.

    A distinctive brand voice helps you stand out from the crowd and create memorable content. Develop and apply your brand voice across all written content on your course listing.

    To develop your brand voice, consider the following tips:

    • Review your current voice.

      Audit your current communications. You may find that your voice is inconsistent across your marketing campaigns and channels, and this is often because of different writers. Find out what your current brand voice is and brainstorm ways to remain consistent in all your communications.

    • Align your voice with your personas.

      To help refine your brand voice, identify your target audience. For example, if your audience is younger, you might want to use more youthful language. Use vocabulary that best resonates with the age group/s of your audience.

    • Know your tone.

      Brand voice is what you say and brand tone is how you say it. Your tone may vary depending on its use. For example, a promotion announcement for one of your courses may take on an excited tone while course details may require a more serious approach.

    5. Look for an edge.

    The course overview is where prospective students learn more about your course and your brand, so make this first impression count. 

    Brainstorm ways to make your course overview more impressionable and implement these into your content. 

    Consider highlighting unique information, such as:

    • Government funding and/or financial assistance

      It’s no secret students are more financially sensitive post-COVID-19. Individuals are more reluctant to study fearing financial consequences and instability. Give your course a competitive edge by including any financial information, such as whether your course is applicable for government funding or if you offer a payment plan option. You can also update your course listing anytime if you’re running a limited-time promotion or sale.

    • Testimonials

      Marketing involves building trust and credibility. Prospective students don’t just want to know how you can help them achieve their goals, they want to know why they should choose you over everyone else – they want to know that you can help them better than anyone else. Students naturally trust each other more than they trust your brand, so testimonials add more weight in their final decision.

    • Job outcomes, especially if they correlate to a higher salary

      Nothing attracts someone’s attention quicker than dollar signs – students are no exception. If your course leads to more senior roles and higher salaries, why not highlight this.

    And don’t forget to optimise your provider profile!

    Really think about what sets you apart as a provider in the market. We’ve said it before but your brand is your identity – it’s what students will remember. 

    Your brand messaging forms the foundations of your brand. It’s your mission statement, your business value propositions and your voice in the market (the relevancy and tone in which you speak to students). 

    Strong brand messaging creates valuable impressions with students. Make these impressions count by doing the following:

    • Develop your mission statement.

      What is the big idea or main goal that drives your brand?

    • Establish your value proposition.

      Your value proposition should highlight the benefits you give your students. Identify what issue(s) you address, how you do it and why students should care.

    • Define your USPs.

      These combine your mission statement and value proposition into key brand identifiers, which will shape your marketing, sales and business operations.

    Provider profiles and course listings are opportunities to create a forward-facing presence on the Candlefox Marketplace.

    Use our strategies to optimise your content on our Marketplace and maximise conversions.

    img claudia3 257x300 1
    Claudia Reiners
    Head of Strategy
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