This year, more students than ever will use mobile devices to conduct searches on prospective programs. Colleges that develop a comprehensive mobile strategy will be in position to benefit from this trend. We’ve developed an outline to help you get started on your mobile strategy.
In the 2018 Online College Student Report, we found the overwhelming majority of prospective students conduct at least part of their research on their mobile phone. The recently released 2019 Online College Student Report shows the growing reliance on mobile, with over 60% of prospects age 45 and younger expressing a preference to complete coursework via a mobile device.
Need another reason to focus on mobile? Since March 2018, Google has been indexing mobile version of websites for its search results. And it’s clear why Google made this decision. Today, nearly 80 percent of all searches take place on a mobile device.
Many higher ed marketers have helped their colleges make the jump to responsive web design and implementing mobile-friendly inquiry forms. But the underlying mobile device technology will continue to evolve improve. As the mobile landscape changes, your mobile-friendly site will require ongoing improvement and optimization to take advantage of faster networks, better mobile technology and an ever-increasingly mobile dependent population. Here are some next steps to help you serve the needs of your prospective students.
Update Your Strategy for Driving Organic Mobile Traffic
Organic channels can still send plenty of traffic your way, provided you’re covering the bases of SEO best practices. Your website should be current and frequently updated, and the most popular social channels should all be claimed and active. Students expect websites to load within 2 seconds these days, and don’t want to be bothered with pop- ups, or hard to use navigation. Ensure your pages are optimized for mobile and consider building AMP pages, as we discussed in our recent New, Now, and Next Webinar.
Make Your Content Mobile Friendly
Don’t underestimate the power of content marketing for generating traffic. Your mobile strategy should include creating plenty of blog posts, research reports, videos, and other content that will appeal to potential students.
To meet the needs of those mobile users, optimize your content around the way we use smartphones.
For example, mobile users on a cell signal behave differently than tablet users on their home WIFI connection. Are you creating content that meets the needs of these prospects? Smartphone users are likely on the go and their screens display less content than tablets and PCs. All this means that for whatever type of content you’re producing your headlines are doing double duty to grab mobile user’s attention.
Personalized Content Grows Engagement
The proliferation of available data, and ease with which it can be collected, means we now know a lot more about prospective students. These individuals are also bombarded with significantly more messages on any number of different products, services, messages and updates that compete for their valuable time and attention. The result? A target audience that is very good at filtering out generic or impersonal “sales” messages.
Personalized content cuts through the noise and delivers only relevant messages to the right students. When done well, your prospective students will feel as though the email, blog post, or text message they receive is made just for them – because it is. In a mobile-first world, this means delivering the content that resonates with the individual on very valuable limited real estate.
Text Message Marketing Can Help Your Students Move Down Admissions Funnel
The statistics on text messages can be hard to believe. Ninety-eight percent of text messages are read and recipients are 8 times more likely to reply to texts than email. Text message marketing is a fertile area for higher ed marketers working on their mobile recruiting strategy, but beware. Your messages need to deliver value or you’ll quickly see your text message subscribers fleeing.
Move Campus Experiences to VR and AR
Virtual reality has huge potential for colleges that need to recruit outside their home region. Students tell us that seeing a campus is vital to their decision making campus—after all they want to know that they’ll fit in and feel comfortable during their studies.
Advertising and retail use of virtual reality, along with its counterpart, augmented reality, is expected to generate a $120 billion market. Giant retailers like Amazon and Ikea are betting heavily that high-tech experiences will draw in more sales by giving users an immersive experience.
Colleges are keenly watching this market develop, and many are bringing campus tours, recruiting events, and one-on-one interactions to the AR and VR space.
Grow your university targeted marketing. EducationDynamics’ successful social media strategy for higher education marketing can help. Contact us to request a Free Secret Shopper Analysis and learn how well you are connecting in this mobile-first world.