To improve student enrollments you must not only understand your student but also yourself. Sometimes higher education marketing can seem like a confusing morass of jargon, methods and trends. How does one see the forest for the trees? Luckily, successful higher education marketing doesn’t have to be that complicated. An effective marketing strategy may come down to only 5 simple rules. Keep these basic guidelines in mind when creating your higher education marketing and you will most certainly reach more, highly qualified students. Ready to get started? Read on to learn the 5 Golden Rules of Higher Education Marketing and begin optimizing your marketing today.
1. Know your audience
Too often marketing revolves around what we want to say, rather than what our audience needs to hear. To avoid this pitfall, clearly identify who you want to reach before ever writing a word. Then do your market research. Learn your target audience’s needs, interests and concerns so you can better tailor your marketing. When people can identify with your school, the chances of enrollment increase. After all, everyone wants to feel understood and heard. Don’t you?
2. Meet people where they live
You’ve conducted your research and know who you want to talk to. Now the question is how? Identify media channels and sources your audience uses and trusts. What’s the best way to reach them? This could mean increasing your social media presence or targeting key regions or interest areas. Maybe you want to try to do some PR and get earned media in the publications your prospects respect. Another great option is investing in marketing resources like those at EducationDynamics. Through customized solutions leveraging a wide array of marketing channels they are able to deliver both highly targeted and highly qualified prospects, at scale. Search traffic, paid search, email marketing, display and mobile can all be effective channels to reach your target audience. Millennials live on the web – so should you!
3. Speak their language
While it may seem obvious, too often we forget to use clear, concise language when talking about ourselves and program offerings. Industry terms, school vernacular and acronyms crowd out simple words and leave prospective students in the dark. Take a step back and examine your marketing and website content. Could someone understand your programs at a glance? Fifty-five percent of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your site. If they can’t quickly discern your message, your opportunity has been lost. Sometimes an outside perspective can greatly help here. Grab someone from outside your department, or even your school, and ask what they think!
4. Be responsive
It is the Age of Now. He who hesitates is lost. Forty-nine percent of students enroll in the first school to contact them after they’ve inquired, according to a survey of 1,500 prospective online students conducted by Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House. What’s more, prospective students now expect to communicate with you via social media as well. This customer service trend began in consumer products, but has become an increasingly popular way for people to reach out and shouldn’t be overlooked. Finally, ensure your inquiry process is as simple and streamlined as possible. A fast website, easy process and minimum steps can remove roadblocks between you and future students. Do all three of these things and you will see your conversion numbers rise. Sometimes a student’s decision comes down simply to who responds first!
5. Know your worth
Be sure your team is aligned on your school’s value proposition and target your message to prospective students’ needs. Why should they attend your school to earn their degree? What makes your program different? How can enrolling in your school help them achieve their goals? If your team can’t answer these questions, your prospect certainly won’t. And this, after all, is the most important message of all! Yes, at times, higher education marketing can be confusing. But keep the 5 Golden Rules of Higher Education Marketing top of mind and you’ll surely see an increase in your marketing’s effectiveness and student enrollment. Want more help? Download our eBook on enrollment marketing management for 11 tips on how to convert prospective students into enrollments.