How Can Education Providers Maintain Student Urgency To Learn During Quiet Periods?

Claudia Reiners
December 16, 2022

How Can Education Providers Maintain Student Urgency To Learn During Quiet Periods?

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

During quieter periods of the year, it can be easy to take your foot off the gas and miss opportunities to engage with potential learners.

When it feels like urgency to study is dwindling, tweaking your messaging and finding different ways to prime students to take on new opportunities to learn can be an effective solution. In this article, we’ll go through some key ways you can boost student urgency, even during the quietest parts of the year.

When are ‘quiet’ parts of the year?

Traditional higher education delivery roughly follows significant events in the year, with terms being built around holidays and national celebrations, such as Christmas.

As in-person learning needs to respect teachers’ annual leave and public holidays, this can mean that students often cannot get full access to education around the festive period.

Education providers can feel that it’s not worth ramping up marketing and outreach efforts in this period, as students may be uninterested or simply too busy to enrol on courses.

However, showing that you can support students’ higher education-related needs throughout the year through online teaching can be valuable. Providers can still maintain student desire to study throughout the year through any period, provided they have a laptop, computer, and internet access.

For young people and learners who are used to distance education, there no longer has to be a quiet period when it comes to improving professional and academic performance.

Many learners have become used to learning on their own time, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and previous lockdowns, with the impact of COVID-19 meaning that a traditional education system or learning strategies that’s based strictly on a set calendar could be an outdated approach for many students.

With this in mind, trying out new engagement strategies year-round may yield more results than expected.

Target your most valuable users

It can be easy to keep your messaging the same through quieter periods, and it can feel wasteful to use valuable time on new marketing or outreach campaigns when you’re unsure of the returns they’ll offer. 

However, simple tweaks can revitalise your outreach and put you on the radar of students. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing the most valuable learners to you and focusing on driving interest up from learners who are more likely to convert or are converting in course areas that are the most valuable for you. 

During quieter periods, spending time trying to get learners to take on courses in low-converting areas will be even harder. Pick your battles and focus on easy and valuable wins. If you notice a conversion dropoff in certain periods, target the learners in subject areas or courses that typically drop off the least. Those who are keen to find out further information about the learning process and online learning courses you provide will offer the most rewards during leaner conversion periods.

Using YOY data to work out which users are the most valuable during quiet periods can be a good way to choose who you want to target. If you know that you’re pushed for time ahead of any periods of extended leave around Christmas, or other quieter parts of the year, have a strategy that focuses your time on where it can generate the most value. This can be more effective than casting a wide net and trying to target all of your users.

It’s also a good idea to think about what style of marketing initiatives to use to target these kinds of users with. Sales enablement content that’s focused on bottom-of-the-funnel users is great to use when targeting likely-to-convert users. Pull resources away from top-level search content, as this is best suited for targeting low-converting users who will have less time during busy personal periods, such as Christmas, to learn more about you.

Prime learners for busier times in the year

Quiet parts of the year can sometimes be followed by busier times in the year, when providers and education institutions may see above-average engagement levels from learners. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to be one step ahead and prime learners during the quieter period.

For example, providers will often target users in January, as learners may be looking to take new steps to build knowledge that will help them excel in their current role or open up new job opportunities.

Helping them understand the learning resources they can access and the e-learning opportunities that will help them achieve available professional development goals ahead of time may energise learners to access learning platforms, even during quieter periods.

Using January as an example, providers may find more success by starting their new years messaging before the new year actually begins. During the festive period, providers will often struggle to find a hook or a key reason as to why students should start learning in that period. Telling users that they can set themselves up for the new year by enrolling on courses that begin in January is an exciting and engaging message. 

During January, your competitors are likely to be sending potential learners the same messages, making it difficult to stand out during a busy marketing period. By getting one step ahead and marketing courses that begin in January during the festive period, you’ll be at the forefront of learners’ minds come the new year.

This method also works for any other periods of quiet that are followed quickly by higher-than-normal conversions.

Highlight to users the benefits of enrolling or studying during quiet periods

Often, trying to get students to convert during a quiet period can feel like a hard sell, but it’s worth bearing in mind that there are some benefits to starting a course during quiet periods. 

With the Christmas period as an example, providers can demonstrate to users why December can be a great time to begin a course. Online courses are a great way to fill in a month that can often feel quite empty up until Christmas day itself.

Starting face-to-face courses can be more difficult over this period, but distance learning can provide a great learning opportunity and learning experience for students over the festive period. Some might find that with a good internet connection and some spare time, studying in December is actually the best learning experience for them.

Furthermore, Christmas is a time when employees tend to take the most annual leave, meaning that there’s lots of time to study or take on a part-time course. For those who don’t have to travel far to see family, the festive period can be the perfect time to learn new skills and get a head start on the new year.

Taking part in online education in a quiet space and using online education and digital learning tools can be ideal for some students over the festive period. 

Additionally, learners who are spending the festive periods alone may find that remote learning can be a positive way to boost well-being and improve mental health during a period when social interactions may be few and far between. This is especially true for any remote education that involves larger groups of students who may need to work together in a virtual learning environment.

This kind of messaging is also appealing to users who are more likely to convert or who place high levels of value on learning and upskilling and are keen to take online classes and set up positive learning outcomes for the new year.

For those who are always on the lookout for new courses and online resources, messaging around the opportunities presented by the festive period could be the piece of outreach that helps you to stand out effectively against other competitors.

Quiet periods can be a challenging time, and it can be difficult to come up with an engagement strategy that cuts through.

By using the tips we’ve suggested, you can find opportunities and get through to bottom of the funnel users who are likely to convert. Tweaking your strategy can ensure that even the quiet parts of the year are never totally silent.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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