It’s been discussed on this blog before that higher education platforms have a great many demographics they can market themselves to. This age range typically tapers off at 35, but some do choose to aim higher with their marketing — especially when it comes to online learning platforms that specialize in older-age specific topics or purposes. However, one constant that remains is that most entry-level higher education platforms benefit from marketing to high schoolers and their parents.


After all, high schoolers are the most tried and true demographic when it comes to attending higher education establishments. It’s a rite of passage; a cultural must — teenagers are told time and time again that going to college is necessary for survival in this world. At the same time, many different famed entrepreneurs have made million dollar companies from their garage without ever having earned a degree.


These mixed signals are what may ultimately be your tipping point: it’s imperative that as a higher education platform marketer, you grab the attention of teens and sway them and their parents on why higher education is necessary — and why your platform is the right choice.




The Duality of Man


When marketing to high schoolers and their parents, it’s important to remember how drastically different your pitches to each of these demographics should be. A high schooler is 15-18, and their parents are anywhere from their early 30s to their mid 50s. What is appealing to a high schooler won’t appeal to a parent, and how you speak to a parent shouldn’t be how you speak to a teen.


Teenagers are very much focused on what a higher education platform has to offer them in way of something to do. They know school will be hard, but what is there outside of the classroom? Extracurricular activities, location, campus life — these are all aspects of a college that appeal to the average university-bound teen. Even online higher education platforms have to appeal to a high schooler’s sense of desire. There may be no tangible school grounds, but what does the program have to offer them outside of simply learning something new?


Parents are obviously much more practical. Questions like “How safe is the school?” or “Is the school accredited?” are more likely to come up than “Do you guys have a pizza place around here?” Parents like to know their child will be taken care of, and remember: this is likely going to be their baby’s first time truly away from home. Their concern lies with their future, both physically and mentally. A parent will look for a higher education platform that keeps their student safe and provides them with a high-class education.


It’s also not to say that high schoolers only care about campus partying or hanging out with friends. Topics like success rates and class variety will matter to both parents and students.

Putting the Pieces Together


First, make sure your website features language and topics that will interest both parents and students. Not every website dedicated to a higher education platform has to be loaded with legalese and scholarly text. Many campuses create more than one site for this specific purpose, with one dedicated to college information and the other dedicated to student experience.


Using tangible and content marketing practices in tandem is also key to getting the attention of both a student and their guardians. Student-focused content marketing means tweeting and blogging about the student experience, how your specific platform can improve their education and how their success is possible using your platform. Parents are more likely to hold onto tangible items, like mailed brochures with more concrete details about the college. Sprinkling a lot of SEO keywords into both methods also doesn’t hurt.


It’s also imperative that marketers focus on dialogues that speak to both students and their guardians — it is possible to meet in the middle! Establishing a narrative that both a parent and a child will be happy with the school in question means that everyone wins, not just one party over the other. Parents and teens often find themselves at odds looking for a good school that meets both of their needs. When you establish your platform as the best of both worlds, you win and they do too.


Looking for more ideas? Learn how you can utilize positive and negative emotions in your next higher education marketing campaign.