The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc through every aspect of our lives. As individuals emerge from the shelter of their homes, one thing is crystal clear: nothing looks the same.
Our favourite restaurants, gyms and hangout spots all look a little different these days. Businesses have been forced to rethink their strategies. Many companies have shifted part, or all, of their operations to digital platforms.
Schools and universities have not been spared from this barrage of changes. As these educational institutions come to terms with social distancing guidelines, loss of students and, ultimately, revenue, they too must rethink their short- and long-term strategies.
One aspect for schools to seriously consider going forward is digital marketing. As schools reel from the loss of revenue, digital marketing holds the key to recouping some of that loss.
Take a seat. Class is now in session.
Studying the impact
It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 crisis has turned the education sector on its head. With the total shutdown of schools during the strictest periods of the lockdown, lessons quickly shifted from the classroom to the PC screen.
Even after the staggered reopening of schools, many parents opted to continue home-schooling their children as a result of co-morbidities and other health reasons, financial reasons, or even a combination of the two. This has left many schools with a serious deficit in their annual budget. While there are no official stats on the amount of revenue lost by schools, some institutions have reported drops in the collection of school fees by more than 50%.
Numerous independent schools have been forced to close as a result of a lack of school fees being paid.
School fees are not the only revenue stream lost to schools during this period. Many educational institutions bank on fundraiser events to help bolster their revenue. Unfortunately, those events have either been postponed or cancelled outright, further impoverishing schools.
Before you think that we’re paying too much attention to the money side of things, consider this: less revenue results in lower salaries for teachers and other staff, causing them to seek employment elsewhere. It also means less revenue to be used for the upgrading of school facilities and less money to be spent on extracurricular activities.
All of these factors ultimately contribute to a lower quality of education.
What can schools do? In short, digital marketing.
In any normal year, many schools and universities would wrestle with the question of how to increase revenue. This year, however, the question takes on extra significance. Schools will have to get creative with their fundraising efforts this time around, as many traditional fundraisers will be out of play due to social distancing measures and guidelines.
The answer, it seems, can be found in digital marketing. Implementing a digital marketing strategy has been used to great effect in the business environment. Schools and universities now have the opportunity to do the same.
Digital marketing carries several huge advantages over more traditional forms of marketing. These include:
- Lower Costs: When executed correctly, a digital marketing strategy can reach the right client at a much lower cost than other forms of marketing.
- Greater Reach: Digital marketing is not confined to a particular region or area. This means that your product or service is placed in front of a much larger audience.
- Data Tracking and Measuring: Digital marketing provides tangible data. This data can be used to measure the effectiveness of a particular campaign or the rate of customer engagement with a particular site.
- Improved Conversion Rates: Digital marketing makes it simple for customers to purchase once they’ve made a decision. As a result, the conversion rates of digital marketing campaigns are generally higher than more traditional marketing methods.
Open your wallet and share
An innovative digital marketing strategy for schools comes in the form of a UBU wallet app. UBU International has already taken the mobile commerce market by storm with our online marketplace that can be accessed through any of the large number of UBU loyalty apps.
Now, UBU is giving schools, universities, and other educational institutions the opportunity to build their own online community marketplace. Here’s how it works:
- A school applies for its own UBU wallet app;
- They can sign up businesses (known as vendors) who are interested in becoming part of the UBU ecosystem. These companies can comprise of the businesses of parents, alumni, or any other influential business interested in supporting the school and the community;
- The school generates an income from any sales those businesses make.
The benefits are fantastic, both for the school and the businesses they sign up. For the school or university, opening an UBU wallet app and signing up vendors allows them to add another diverse income stream, thereby increasing their revenue. It also allows the institution to actively promote the small businesses of parents and other supporters to the entire UBU marketplace.
Businesses of parents stand to gain as well, being exposed to a massive new audience of potential customers. Through UBU’s geolocation functionality, they will also become discoverable to a wider audience. Parents may be more inclined to support the businesses of other parents if they know that the school also stands to benefit. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Parents and other school community supporters also stand to benefit, even if they do not own a business themselves. With every purchase made through the UBU loyalty app, they will not only support the school but also earn great cashback rewards every time they make a purchase.
We’ve not only made signing up an absolute breeze, we’ve also taken care of the technical stuff, like payments. Through the mobile wallet apps, UBU easily facilitates mobile payments so there’s no need for schools to worry about creating their own payment system.
As schools and universities look forward and contemplate new ways of generating revenue streams, digital marketing will invariably play a huge role.
Lower costs, higher engagement rates, and the ability to track and measure results make digital marketing a truly attractive prospect. UBU International’s wallet apps provide a great example of digital marketing in action.
For schools and universities looking to take advantage of additional income opportunities, this one must surely rank near the top of the class. Contact us if your educational institution is interested in the benefits of digital marketing, a loyalty program, a mobile wallet, and a powerful new income stream.