E-commerce and digital marketing have completely changed the way that businesses connect with customers, yet many of today’s marketing professors can’t explain concepts like SEO, social media marketing, or Google AdWords. To learn more about digital marketing, many students have to take internships with private companies. Sadly, most say that they learn more during a one-semester internship than they learn during their four years of school.
College is expensive, and student loan debt takes a long time to repay. You shouldn’t shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a business degree that won’t prepare you for the real world. You need a university that keeps up with private sector trends in Internet marketing, and you need professors who have 21st-century marketing skills. If you plan to major in marketing, you can’t afford to attend a school that neglects Internet marketing. Management majors also need a strong Internet marketing background so that they can make smart business decisions.
A lot of professors assume that students already know how to use social media in their personal lives, so they’ll have no problem designing social marketing campaigns. However, knowing how to use Twitter doesn’t mean you automatically know how to design and track a Twitter campaign. A good social media marketing education should include the following concepts:
A review of different networks. Your school’s marketing teachers should be able to explain not only Facebook and Twitter but also LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and other networks. They should know how different networks work, the types of people who use each network (e.g., over 80 percent of Pinterest users are female), and the types of posts that get the most engagement on each network.
An explanation of how to measure social campaigns. Your professors should be able to explain how you know whether your social marketing campaign was successful. They should understand measurements, or metrics, and they should be familiar with different types of software that measure social campaigns.
A chance to experiment. As part of your coursework, you should have a chance to design some social media marketing campaigns so that you can figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Content Marketing and Blogging
In addition to giving you an education in social media marketing, your school should offer lessons related to content marketing and blogging. You need to learn about the different kinds of content you can create, including both text-based content and video content. The college should also teach you how to measure the success of any content marketing campaign.
Your business college should explain online advertising techniques, including available ad networks from Google and Yahoo. You should also be aware of Facebook ads, Promoted Tweets, Twitter Cards, and other types of social media advertising. Make sure that your professors understand how pay-per-click campaigns work and how to budget for them. Additionally, make sure that the professors at your school understand affiliate marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
Every business benefits from improving its website’s search engine rankings. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques involve creating well-designed sites with high-quality copy that search engines like Google can easily index. SEO also allows companies to test different text and Web designs so that they can adapt, or optimize, in ways that attract more visitors and generate more conversions.
In addition to having websites that look good on mobile screens, today’s businesses need to learn how to use mobile apps and new mobile technologies, like iBeacons, to market to their customers.
Researching Your School: Begin With the Catalog
Before you apply for a business college, take a look at that school’s catalog. Look up the marketing classes that the school offers, and read the description to see what’s taught. Most businesses require an Introduction to Marketing class that provides a basic introduction to marketing principles and marketing campaign design. Don’t expect to see much about Internet marketing in the introductory course, but the school should offer either a higher-level class that includes an Internet marketing unit or a class dedicated to Internet marketing.
If you’re not required to take an Internet marketing class for your degree, you should take it as one of your electives. Also, find out whether your college will offer internship programs that give you on-the-job Internet marketing experience.