5 Effective Marketing Strategies to Increase Student Enrollment
Higher education has always been a competitive marketing space. Now, with new ways of learning and shifting student priorities, university and college enrollment marketing strategies are evolving, too.
Now more than ever, educational institutions rely on a multichannel, high-touch approach to boosting school enrollment. From strong community relationships to experimenting with new social platforms, class is always in session for college marketing professionals.
Higher Ed Marketing Strategies to Drive Enrollment
Prospective students research, explore and connect with universities across a range of channels, including social media, organic search and email. For most young adults and their families, choosing a college is the biggest decision of their young lives; they need information, resources and strong, consistent messaging from schools to make the right choice.
Successful enrollment campaigns leverage several marketing channels to deliver content to the right audience at the right time, and that includes addressing the concerns of students and parents.
1. Mobile Wins
Young adults love their phones. Roughly 75% of teenagers would rather access the internet via smartphone than laptop. And they sure do; more than half of teens say they spend five hours or more on their phones daily. College websites shouldn’t just be mobile-friendly – they should be designed and developed to be mobile-first. Make sure your website, videos and email marketing campaigns are optimized for mobile use – including dark mode!
2. Get Social
All that screen time includes plenty of social media scrolling and watching video content. 88% of Gen Z uses YouTube, with TikTok (68%) and Snapchat (67%), second and third. Your prospective students spend four or more hours on social media every day – so you’re going to need a lot of quality content to stay fresh and relevant.
3. Be Organic
While social media fills the funnel, organic search serves valuable information students and parents need. Focus on winning relevant keywords to position that address the primary factors in the college selection process, including:
- Cost/financial considerations
- Campus size
- School diversity
- Campus location (or locations)
- Available programs
- On-campus organizations and clubs
SEO is never done. Make SEO optimization, testing and keyword research a part of your normal marketing operations to keep your school competitive on the search engine results pages (SERP).
4. Don’t Forget the Inbox
One of the most overlooked marketing strategies for school enrollment is email marketing. Some colleges tend to put their emphasis on social media to recruit, but don’t underestimate the inbox. The key is to personalize your email campaigns through detailed audience segmentation and automation. Only 9% of students say they found college recruitment marketing “very personalized,” while 27% said it was too generic.
5. Test and Improve Your Paid Media Campaigns
Develop, test and improve specific paid media campaigns to support different programs of study or topics prospective students want to learn more about. The same survey notes that 56% of students say they are primarily looking for financial aid information from universities, with academics and career opportunities ranked second and third.
Be sure to align your SEO and paid media efforts to reach students more effectively – you might also discover new opportunities to set your organization apart.
Our Best College Marketing Tip: Tell the Story
Marketing to college students and their parents requires a unique level of flexibility. Universities need to address myriad concerns, answer important questions and support families throughout the research process. While it’s important to deliver content, links and resources, never forget the very human element of the college selection process.
Whenever possible, show students what a normal day on campus looks like and empower them to make smart decisions, access the resources they need and, ultimately, succeed at school.
Level up Your School (Marketing) Spirit
Position your college or university as the top-notch opportunity it is with a professionally crafted and expertly implemented higher education marketing strategy. We leverage a vertically integrated team to deliver results and increase enrollment across all your marketing channels.