First Encounter is Likely to Be Mobile Prospective students interact with your institution digitally long before they step foot on your physical campus. It’s also very likely students will visit your site from a mobile device. In the 2018 report, Online College Students by Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House, we found that 80 percent of online students use a mobile device during their search for a school.
Colleges need to make sure websites are optimized to take advantage of the overwhelming numbers of students browsing on mobile devices. Students won’t wait for slow pages to load or scroll forever to find information. Mobile optimization needs to be a central focus of any web projects going forward.
The good news is, with digital you have more control than ever over what content your prospects see. Driving them toward your program offerings and costs pages will help answer many of the questions students have.
Immersive Virtual Visits
Prospective students also want to know whether your institution is a good fit. With the internet delivering better video and virtual reality experiences, it’s possible for colleges to show off their campuses in incredible detail.
And good news for recruiters: high-definition tours (both published in VR formats and 360-degree videos) can show off your institution to more students than ever, including those who simply couldn’t make it to campus any other way.
Recruiters are also turning to video chats to create personal connections with prospective students and their families. This can lead to a huge impact in enrollment numbers. Video tours and chat are perfect platforms for building relationships with these prospective students.
First-time and low-income students also benefit from the adoption of chat, video, and VR. These technologies are allowing students to broaden their search beyond regional schools and eliminating the need to pay for travel for campus visits.
Want to learn more about how to develop a great enrollment strategy? Watch: 5 Steps to a Better Enrollment Funnel with Jodi Ashbrook!
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Social Media and Smart Advertising
The world’s greatest virtual tour won’t recruit any new students if no one can find it. That’s why colleges are turning to the high tech, data-driven world of SEO, internet advertising, and social media to reach prospects and drive traffic.
But with limited resources, admissions professionals are looking for a mixed approach to web advertising that’s both manageable and scalable.
Recruiters also need to be cautious when using high-tech targeted ads. We’ve found that students prefer custom communications whenever possible and will block ads they feel are too pushy or intrusive.
The best approach gets your institution’s brand in front of prospects in an organic, unobtrusive way, and capitalizes on that awareness to drive admissions.
Finding the right balance for your SEO, paid search, and a social media can develop a brand awareness for your institution that avoids that “pushy” feeling that drives away students. Colleges need to be sure not to rely heavily on any one channel to avoid a feeling of saturation among their prospects.