Most religious and vocational schools are smaller than public universities, but that doesn’t mean they are less desirable to prospective students.
On the contrary, the small size of these institutions may well be one of their best features. Students have more say in campus life at smaller schools and can feel a stronger sense of belonging in these more specialized institutions. So, if you represent one of these smaller programs, don’t let your size make you feel small—in fact, it may be your superpower!
Because of a smaller size, though, your marketing budget may be more limited than that of the big players in your region, which means that you need to be smart with your budget and use it to find the right prospects. First, cover the basics well, and then use professional resources to target your messaging to the right audience accurately.
Here are some basics to consider:
Every institution needs a website that is optimized for search, represents your values and offerings and provides the information your prospects need. Organic search accounts for 50% or more of website traffic for higher education.
- Social Media Advertising
It is vital to meet your potential students where they spend their time—on social media. With reasonably simple but well-crafted targeting, you can reinforce the message from your website for interested students.
- Data Analytics
To spend your marketing dollars where they have the most impact, use the latest and greatest tools of the trade: data science. You don’t need to be an expert but working with experts can help you find the most advantageous channels and audience profiles to narrow your focus.
- Hone Your Message
No matter your specialty as a school, you have to consider what messages will attract or repel students to your offerings. For instance, one study found that religious institutions that use more religious terms and images in their advertising negatively impact the public perception of their STEM programs. For trade schools, partnering with local companies can help drive awareness within related industries. Think carefully about the image you want to project to attract your ideal students.
- Let Email Replace Direct Mail
In today’s world, though there is still some use for printed assets as part of your marketing arsenal, you should consider replacing much of your direct mail with email campaigns. Email is less expensive and more effective for bringing in today’s students.
- Use Content Marketing
Content marketing is increasingly valuable as a tool to find prospects interested in exactly what your school offers. If you have staff or faculty who would like to have a platform to write about their programs, support their efforts by publishing them on a public blog that will help to attract students. Video content is also very appealing, so consider the value of adding more video elements to your website. The more high-quality content you can include in marketing to your audience, the more you will appear in their searches, which reinforces your direct appeals to apply.
Smaller But Competitive: Vocational and Religious Schools Find Their Students
The upshot of all this is that your smaller size can be a powerful asset in attracting students who appreciate your school. In addition, a smaller marketing budget need not be such a hurdle in this digital age, where small and inexpensive outreach, when targeted well, will bring your school in front of the people most likely to thrive in your programs.
Contact us today to find out how we can help elevate your enrollment marketing strategy.