Digital marketing provides a foundation for keeping a stream of prospective students applying to your college, but it has become ever more critical as we all face the coming enrollment cliff. Demographics are not on our side for college-aged prospective students enrolling in the coming few years. That makes it even more crucial to use the most effective digital marketing strategies to reach the best students for our programs. Here are some of the methods you should consider this year, especially if you have not yet invested in these successful techniques for your marketing.
- Mobile-first Strategies
The latest available statistic has mobile search’s share of organic search traffic at 63%, but that was at the end of 2021. Mobile use has only increased since then, so optimizing your website and marketing for mobile devices is a must.
- Increased Use of Data Analysis for Targeting
You are sitting on a gold mine of data, so using even small bits to help you target the most likely prospective students can significantly improve your results. There are ethical and effective ways to use the data in your system to keep your college going strong by bringing in new students. As an added benefit, data can also help you retain students who may need extra support to persist.
- Lookalike Marketing
One way your data can help you target prospective students is by analyzing current students and homing in on the most promising characteristics as you look for new ones. You can consider geographics, ages, test score ranges, extracurricular interests, intended majors, and any other factors that may help you get more of the types of students who thrive at your school. Using data can have a downside in that it can perpetuate biases, and right now, we need to find every good potential student possible. As you design your strategies, it is essential to consider whether you can use this information also to target underserved groups to get more successful applicants from these groups into your college.
- Partnering with Marketing Agencies for Data Analysis
Don’t know how to get started using data analytics to supercharge your marketing? That’s okay; most people don’t. It’s just easier, more efficient, and cost-effective to count on the pros who know the ins and outs of data analysis for higher education. If someone on your team understands data well, it is still easier for all concerned to bring in an agency that has expertise in using data to drive enrollment outcomes for colleges—they know all the tricks, so your success will be faster.
- Bringing Institutional Values into Focus
Authentic messages that bring your core values to the fore will be more valuable than generic content. Prospective students want to believe in something, and they want to participate in making the world great. Therefore, highlight your institutional values and ethics in all your marketing.
- Shorter Video Content
Who knows what will happen to TikTok, but at this point, almost every social platform has a short video format section that is similar—and popular! People love video, but attention spans are short, so make sure to create some super-short videos to use on all your marketing platforms—especially social.
- Leveraging User-Generated Content
Students, parents, and alumni can all participate in your institution’s online presence. Allowing users to add their own messaging to your various channels gives people an outlet to interact, become more engaged, and give you more “authentic” content to use across channels—with permission. Don’t go moving a comment from social onto your website as a quote without checking with the author! But do consider using it in multiple places!
- Using Alums and Students as Micro-Influencers
While you are unlikely to have a major influencer among your students or alumni populations, you likely have many with a small following. Consider partnering with these micro-influencers to help promote your school. This follows along with using content created by your users but extends to finding out who among your college community has a platform to spread the word about your school.
- Outsourcing Digital Marketing
This is a very simple strategy. Every school can’t have the digital marketing expertise on staff to guide a complex and targeted strategy using the latest tools. It makes sense to partner with an experienced digital marketing agency that can help you identify the most cost-effective strategies to find and interact with your most promising prospective students.
The time is ripe for refining your marketing and recruitment strategies. Getting a good crop of applicants and a decent enrollment yield in the coming months and years will depend on what you can put in place now to improve your results. Using the latest tools and strategies can help you reach students where they are, not where they used to be. So keep your marketing up-to-date for the best results!
AMG Higher Ed would be delighted to partner with you to strategize the next steps in your ever-evolving marketing strategy. We know the terrain, and we can help you find what is unique and marketable about your institutions so that you can attract the students you deserve! Contact us today.