We started an IT college in South Africa offering IT qualifications only and have been struggling to attract students. When we do get students, mostly don't qualify to enroll for the programmes according to the National Qualification Framework.
I come from a software development background and have no marketing experience which has made it difficult to market the institution.
We have a very limited budget and need simple but effective ideas to implement for our marketing strategy. We have used social media but it has not translated into the leads we need.
Looks like you have already defined your ideal customer;
You need to find out where the potential students spend their time - Online & Physically - and meet them there.
I'll start with the option, which I think has the most potential:
and the answer is NOT online - do not underestimate the value of networking; going to meetup's - interest clubs - sticking adverts on buildings, bus stops etc. with little rip-off pieces.
- do they spend time on facebook? probably the most undervalued forms of marketing
- you can do a very narrow targeting through Google Ads, but you did mention a very low budget.
Hope this helps
For you to answer this question, you need to be very clear on 3 things:
1 -Who is your customer ?Define your target customer:
Is it the student or their parents? Who are the students that qualify for the NQF? Where do they live? Who do you want to target, local students or you want to target nationally? What are they studying now ?
How to reach them:
When do they start searching for college ? How do they search ? When do they make the final decision?
This will give you some ideas on where to reach them and you will be able to cost it and decide where to start
What are the barriers today
Are they aware of your offer or not? When they are aware are they convinced? What are their main concerns as students and how are you resolving it ?
1- Who is your competitor ?
If the students are not coming to your school where do they go? Try to identify à competitor that you could easily “steal” students from and identify why it would be better to go to your school? Your competitor needs to offer a similar service and be around the same size as you.. What is your competitive advantages ? How could you use it to attract those student?
Make sure that all the elements of your communication support (websites, leaflets etc...) are better than them
3 - What are you offering? Are you clear about the three best things about your college. Identify the best assets you have to use it in your communication plan (previous students, CV, teachers, locations etc..)
Please let me know if you need to talk more :)
What you plan to do is not destructing and if this is what you plan to do, you need to know whether is there really a market can afford to pay you money to attend the class?
I strongly suspect your challenges are:
1. whether it really available market that can pay
2. lack of publicity and public education of such needs
3. insufficient brand name/ reputation to give confidence to the students and local educators to support
There are many alternate approaches available:
1. Check this out https://byjus.com/ (but you need very rich investors)
2. post your training into a web platform with the good market place (e.g. www.udemy.com).
3. look for a good mentor who is very experienced in startup business like yours
4. don't start marketing unnecessary when you cannot answer the 3 challenges above ...
The above are my comments based on my over 20 years of experiences as an entrepreneur and management consultant- hope it is of some help.