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How to Keep Online Programs Competitive in Saturated Markets mobile hero image

How to Keep Online Programs Competitive in Saturated Markets

Back in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 2,500 U.S. colleges offered online programs : a number that has continued to grow since. Colleges and universities must now step up their game to stay relevant in the increasingly crowded online higher education space. The key to establishing a competitive edge? Differentiation. Higher education institutions must offer potential students educational options and benefits that are both enticing and exceptional. Let’s discuss some ways you can make your institution stand out as an online education leader.

Offer Distinctive Programs and Courses

Data from competitor research and trend analytics tools can empower your institution to create new programs and courses. This is your chance to address timely topics of interest and necessity for students in courses that may not be widely offered.

Think Beyond Degrees

Degrees may be your institution’s bread and butter, but it may help to consider a wider menu of program types. Certificate programs can leverage your institution’s good name, faculty, and curriculum while attracting students who aren’t looking for the time commitment or cost of a degree program. Students can complete a certificate and put their newly honed skills to work for an employer within months.

Present Some Programs Exclusively Online

Developing a new program that you will deliver entirely online may require fewer resources than a campus-based program. In addition, universities can typically get online programs up and running faster—a significant benefit for your institution. Online learning is the preferred method for many digital natives with busy professional and personal lives that put their time at a premium. Having some programs available exclusively online can set your offerings apart from those of other online universities.

Give Students Something Extra

If you can align a distance education program with an acknowledged professional certification, you can create extra value for the program. A project management certificate program, for example, could prepare students for later certification by the globally recognized governing body of that field. Further, if you can offer students a second credential as part of your own program—such as adding a certificate option to a degree program—you allow them to complete two valuable credentials simultaneously, often in the same time it would take to complete the degree alone.

Turn One Option Into Many

You may have one degree program that you can convert into several specialty programs. This can be achieved by grouping certain courses together in a way that enables students to focus on a subdiscipline.

Project a Unique and Compelling Brand

What are your institution’s core values? Accolades? Do you have an outstanding culture that your students really appreciate? Intangibles such as these can be a major part of your draw to perspective students. With time and impactful marketing strategies, your school can establish a strong and unique brand.

Make Sure You’re Visible

Do your desired student prospects know who you are? Though this may seem obvious, it bears repeating: To remain competitive, you must both be known and considered synonymous with a quality online education. As a marketing firm dedicated exclusively to online education programs from accredited universities, Apollidon has the reach and expertise to help your institution get noticed.

Let’s discuss how Apollidon can help you keep your online programs competitive! Still haven’t introduced an online format for your programs but considering the switch? We can help with that, too. We’re ready to tailor our robust marketing, branding, and student support services to your specifications. Contact us today!

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