One of the most critical decisions a person will make in their lifetime is where they will attend college. There are so many crucial factors that play into this big decision, such as cost, desired major, extracurricular activities, proximity to hometown and more. But establishing an initial relationship with the prospective student is the first, and perhaps most paramount, step for an institution to take when building brand awareness.
“Undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase 14 percent from 17.3 million to 19.8 million students between 2014 and 2025.”
– National Center for Education Statistics
According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase 14 percent from 17.3 million to 19.8 million students between 2014 and 2025. So how does a college or university grab a share of this market? Here are three key strategies for a successful admissions marketing campaign.
Targeting specific students based on interests
Personalization is critical for today’s potential college student. Gone are the days where colleges and universities mail out their general informational brochure to prospective students in hopes that they would consider enrolling. Mass in-person campus tours and meetings with general counselors are a thing of the past. Like any other marketing strategy, blanket targeting doesn’t cut it in an age where segmenting audiences is easier and easier, thanks to digital marketing platforms. You’re not only wasting time but precious marketing dollars.
“Knowing student personalities and interests are vital to any successful admissions campaign,” explains Paperkite marketing strategist and St. Bonaventure University adjunct professor Megan Wagner. “Researching these segmented audiences adds more precision to a university’s lead generation effectiveness.”
High school students aged prospects have diverse sets of interests and activities that are important to them. Target students by specific programs you have to offer based on those interests. For example, if a particular student was involved with the school newspaper, perhaps they would be a good fit for your school’s journalism program.
“Researching student interests and personalities adds more precision to a university’s lead generation effectiveness.”
– Megan Wagner, Paperkite marketing strategist and adjunct professor
Incorporate new technology
Not all shiny, new social media platforms and cutting-edge technologies will be a good fit for every higher education institution. However, exploring and incorporating new media platforms can certainly pay off when building and maintaining relationships with prospective students. Mobile apps and text messaging campaigns have been found to be the potentially most-effective but least used methods for admissions marketing. Universities can also offer a variety of online services, such as online application forms, live chat, virtual tours and housing information that make it easy for prospective students to find valuable information.
Storytelling is key to engagement
Does your school have an awesome annual homecoming event, a strong community service program, a robust greek system, or a thriving student-run multimedia center? Highlight your institution’s extracurricular strengths through storytelling mediums such as video, photography and the institution’s website, to show off your school’s personality beyond the books, lectures and homework.
“For many prospective students, choosing a college is about not only the program it offers but the experience they will have while attending,” said Paperkite photographer and videographer Megan Haggerty. “Photography and video help to bring this experience to life and can solidify that your college is the right fit.”
Storytelling is one of the most powerful pieces of persuasive communication and can instantly generate an emotional pull of excitement in a potential student. The power of stories from already-enrolled students who can share their experiences may also be used to showcase why this is where they should be.
“Photography and video help bring the college experience to life and can solidify that your school is the right fit for a prospective student.”
– Megan Haggerty, Paperkite photographer and videographer
Need some support with your admission marketing activities? Paperkite Creative is in the business of building relationships and can help your institution’s enrollment program tap into new technologies, targeted campaigns and storytelling media. Contact us to start the conversation!