Category: Articles

Reaching Prospective Parents & Students In The Virtual Era

admin October 6, 2020 0

Times have changed, and so have parents’ and students’ behaviour in researching for a school or university. In short, schools and universities have to adapt their marketing strategy to fit with the current times. However, there are two challenges that have to be addressed before they can gain the attention of their target audience:

  • The change in the buyer’s journey
  • Connecting with Gen Z

According to a survey by Youvisit.com, the number of visits by parents and potential students to schools and higher learning institutions have been noticeably decreasing in the past few years.

In fact, this same trend has occurred in Malaysia among Xcalibur360’s clients and confirmed by two of Malaysia’s top education portals, Schooladvisor.my and Afterschool.my.  This shift in behaviour is largely caused by Gen Z’s growing dependency on the internet for information. Instead of visiting a campus to learn more about the school and its offerings, people get to know more about their institution of interest through the internet.

Various marketing analysts such as Mcallister Marketing and even LinkedIn have described how the Internet has taken over the traditional Buyer’s Journey, particularly in the awareness and consideration stage. Consumers are made aware through extensive and targeted online advertising, then take the time to research and make their considerations.

 

Besides that, the internet has desensitised the younger generation towards mere information and facts (flat media); they seek a more meaningful connection with their potential schools, thus responding better to immersive content. For example, Hilton Suites Brands launched a 360 social campaign game that awarded winners with a free weekend stay. The campaign garnered 7.7 million impressions and 1.88 million video views. For Christmas 2019, The Coca-Cola Company successfully bonded with its consumers with some holiday magic by making their mascot bears come alive with AR technology.

Hence, as a learning institution, it is crucial to transform your marketing techniques to ensure you can reach this group of students and convey your institution’s culture and brand story effectively online. One solution to this problem comes in the form of virtual tours with digital guide, also known as curated virtual tour.

Reaching target audiences at the click of a button

Techopedia.com defines a virtual tour as the simulation of an existing location with the help of sequential videos and still images. Other multimedia elements like music, sound effects and floor plans can also be used. Virtual tours help present views to inaccessible areas and provide an alternative to fieldwork when expenses, time or logistics are an issue for people. Tourist attractions, museums, art galleries, property companies and learning institutions have started using virtual tours for their respective purposes.

 

Showing off your institution through a curated virtual tour creates a more personal experience for prospective students – kicking their first impressions of your school off to a great start.

Virtual tours are no stranger to Malaysian institutions and organisations. Learning institutions such as Alice Smith School, Matrix Global Schools, Monash University Malaysia and International Medical University have utilised virtual tours for some time already. However, these are mostly conventional virtual tours, which widely differ from curated virtual tours.

 

 

 

New marketing techniques for new trends

There is little to lose when trying out new marketing concepts for your institution, especially as society grows in dependency towards the internet and virtual technology. Engagement for 360 virtual tours is higher compared to flat images, and there is a variety of things you can do to further reach your prospects. You can collect quality leads via strategically placed forms, and boost your SEO performance with a 360 virtual tour function on your “Google My Business” page.

 

You can also promote your institution on multiple platforms – Facebook 360, Youtube 360 website, landing page, official website and partner websites. Here are examples of what you can do with your virtual tour material online:

 

To find out more about getting a curated virtual tour with digital guide for your institution’s website, and how it will improve your overall online presence and fulfil your business goals, Xcalibur 360 is here to answer your questions. Contact us at xcalibur360.com.

 

SOURCE : https://xcalibur360.com/reaching-prospective-parents-and-students-in-the-virtual-era/

How afterschool.my boosted its traffic by 400% in 2 years through SEO

Chee Yen Ngeh September 10, 2019 0

In the world of online marketing, the higher the traffic the better. When people visit your webpage, more impressions are made, which leads to higher chances of signups, purchases, shares, and eventually brand loyalty.

However, with more new businesses discovering the power of online marketing, online users are bombarded with similar information on services and products, making it harder for businesses to stand out.

How would you ensure your target market is accessed without expending unnecessary effort? With SEO marketing, of course!

According to HubSpot Inc., a US-based inbound marketing company, SEO marketing:

  • brings in quality traffic
  • is more cost-effective than paid advertising
  • procures more clicks than pay-per-click
  • increases leads and sales
  • builds trust and credibility
  • drives offline sales

In this article, XCalibur Digital shares how it managed to raise the bar for Afterschool.my – Malaysia’s number 1 higher education website.

    1. Keyword Analysis & Keyword Grouping
    2. Website Technical Audit Report & Suggestions
    3. On-page Audit Report & Suggestions
    4. Usability Audit (Template-wise)
    5. Off-page Audit Reports
    6. Conversion Optimisation Suggestions

 

Seeking new horizons

Afterschool.my was relying purely on paid advertising but after a few years, the company realised that the growth wasn’t where it wanted it to be.

In 2016, Afterschool.my collaborated with Xcalibur Digital to implement SEO marketing. The website was a tough nut to crack, because as opposed to general websites that run with a modest number of pages, Afterschool.my as a portal had somewhere around 20,000 pages. Therefore, we had to find a way to optimise these pages to reach the targeted audiences right away.

This is how we raised traffic and user numbers for Afterschool.my by almost 200% in just one year:

 

 

1. Keyword Analysis and Keyword Grouping

First, we analysed statistics for performing keywords on the Afterschool website. After identifying these keywords, we worked to increase the usage of these words into the pages with caution to prevent redundancy.

With increased density of relevant keywords on these pages, Google picks them up as relevant articles and ranks them higher on the search results.

 

While we cannot beat the strength of being the actual university, Afterschool’s profile page on Curtin university now comes right after the official university’s website due to its adequate use of relevant keywords.

 

2. Website Technical Audit Report and Suggestions

Then, we scoured the website for any technical issues that could be secretly causing lower search ranking, incur penalties or even cause Afterschool.my to be invisible on Google’s search results. Changes are made to ensure better speed, website structure, user interface and user experience as well.

 

3. On-page Audit Report and Suggestions

After optimising the main structure of the website, it was time to optimise the uniform resource locators (URL). Having certain keywords in the URL can actually improve the search rankings of the page, so we worked to edit these links to reflect the content offered by the pages.

By using the right words in their URLs such as “https://afterschool.my/spm” and “https://afterschool.my/students-life/download-your-spm-revision-guide-here-”, students looking for study materials will find Afterschool’s content in a click of a button.

 

4. Usability Audit (Template-wise)

Being number 1 on every organic search page does not guarantee returning customers if user experience on the website is sub-par. Therefore, we assisted Afterschool.my in revamping their website design and template for easy and comfortable usage, thus prompting users to stay longer on the site.

5. Off-page Audit Reports

Similar to the traditional method of trust building through word of mouth recommendations, Google ranks websites based on existing backlinks. When other websites mention or refer to Afterschool.my (either through paid or collaborative mentions), Google will perceive Afterschool.my as more relevant, and therefore rank it higher in search results. Social media does the same for the website as well through referral links.

6. Conversion Optimisation Suggestions

Finally, after the main foundations of the website has been optimised, inbound marketing skills are then utilised to prompt conversion from site visitors. After determining performing URLs, which are pages that tend to get more traffic, we placed call-to-actions (CTAs) on these pages to initiate consumer responses. When people like the content on a page, they are bound to reciprocate when prompted to apply what they have just read.

 

After informing and entertaining a reader with good content, Afterschool.my then applies CTAs to its target audience, mainly senior secondary school students.

 Sit back and wait

With these methods, we got Afterschool back in line for the best education portal in Malaysia! However, that’s not all. While we can sit back and relax a little bit after the initial setting up of SEO marketing, there is still constant monthly maintenance to be done.

The initial stage took 3 months to set up, and in the next 9 months, Xcalibur Digital conducted On-page Optimisation/Implementations and Off-page/Link-building on a monthly basis to maintain Afterschool’s performance and iron out whatever kinks and quirks left on the website.

 

Because of Afterschool’s nature as an education portal, the large surge in traffic was in March to May, when the national exam results are out and students are looking for tertiary education information. Nevertheless, traffic and user numbers remained steady even after the seasonal rush.

 Steady flow with room to grow

Our hard work paid off, as in the one year of 2016-2017, we managed to rake in a 195% and 181% increase in traffic and new users respectively for the portal. Norma Razak, content curator of Afterschool.my, says it was definitely fascinating to see the numbers leap in such a short amount of time. “It felt wonderful to see our content curating and writing efforts be utilised to its maximum potential with the help of SEO marketing,” she says.

If your business needs boosting, Xcalibur Digital will come to your bidding. No business should miss out on the wonders of SEO marketing. Contact us at www.xcaliburdigital.com