Content Marketing for Higher and Online Education Features Unique Challenges and Opportunities

How do you market yourself in an industry with a very long sales cycle? Buyers in education typically take 9 to 18 months to pull the trigger. Crucially, the “buyer’s cloud” in education includes a variety of influencers and decision-makers, each requiring a personalized and nuanced approach to win over and convert.

What complicates advertising in the education media market is an utter lack of variety in the mature channels through which education products and services could be sold. On a very basic level, there are simply not enough publications (print or digital) through which potential buyers can learn about and purchase products, equipment, and technology. Case in point: Education Week and ASCD’s Educational Leader are two of the largest media destinations. Yet, combined, they only reach about 5% of the educator and administrator market.

Keeping in mind, because education products and services are not an easy sale, traditional marketing methods used by higher education marketing agencies – such as cold-calling or emailing, yield very low levels of ROI in the space. To improve ROI, the top of the funnel must contain quality leads captured when they are in the most receptive part of their personal (i.e. organizational) sales cycle.

So where can an education marketing agency go to obtain quality top-of-funnel leads? History shows that tradeshows and conferences are the best places for education lead generation companies to develop leads. Of course, only a small portion of potential buyers in the education space go to such events. The rest need to be found and targeted wherever they routinely are.

Unfortunately, targeting buyers through advertising is ineffective. As you can tell from that 5% statistic above, there are only a handful of media that reach top administrators, mid-level administrators and teachers. Meanwhile, you do need the buy-in of each of those personas since all of them often play an important role in the purchase of goods.

Neither is branding as powerful in education marketing as in many other industries. In this crowded market, clearly identifying the problem you are trying to solve (messaging) is what will really move the needle. After all, education is all about measurable results, whether it’s in K-12, Higher Ed or Continuing Ed.

Where can one place the right messaging so it does reach all the personas of the higher education buying cloud? Higher education content marketing, combined with robust PR and Social campaigns are emerging as a good source of leads. Just keep in mind that this is a long sales cycle, so 2-3 blog posts and a few weeks’ worth of Tweets are not sufficient. Every online education marketing tactic and channel must be a part of a well thought-out marketing strategy.

To succeed in marketing yourself in the education sector, consider some of the services that Elevation B2B Marketing offers to their clients below:


  • Branding
  • Strategy
  • Content
  • Website Design
  • Digital (SEO/PPC/Social Media)
  • Product and Services Launches
  • Design
  • Market Research
  • Media
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Channel Marketing
  • Application Development
  • Events
  • Lead Generation
  • Case Studies

At Elevation Marketing, we know which advertising channels are not worth your time and money in this long-cycled education industry, and which marketing tactics and strategies can actually reach–and convert the many personas involved in the buyers’ cloud.

Some of our clients within this industry: