The primary ways that students begin their college search are through websites and Google, so adapting messaging that will attract prospects should focus on website optimization and search advertising. In addition, analyzing where prospects first heard of your school may help you refine your top-of-the-funnel marketing strategy.

Students who know of your college may go straight to your website to get more information about your school, but they will likely ask a teacher or parent for suggestions as well. Alternately, they may go to a search engine like Google. Therefore, you need to optimize your website for the search terms students will use so they can find you.

The essential step of being “discovered” as students begin to think about college choice involves a tricky mixture of pathways, with some importance on the people who advise a teen on options for college. To reach the counselors and parents who might suggest your school involves different channels than reaching the teens themselves. Direct mail and email are somewhat effective, but even adults currently get most of their information digitally. Yet, adults frequent different social media sites than teens, so consider discreet messaging to reach these targets.

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