How to Make Your School Irresistible to Prospective Students

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

Is your school irresistible to prospective students? As engaging as your marketing materials may be, the younger generations need more than solid advertising to draw them in. Millennials and Gen Zs have grown up alongside the internet. Researching colleges and universities online is done without second thought. Simply having a presence online isn’t anything special. It’s normal and expected. So, how can you stand apart from the noise and create a school that is not just amazing but irresistible?

You know your audience best, but here are a few tips to help your school be fascinating.

Practice Corporate Responsibility

One thing that is very important to today’s younger generations is corporate social responsibility. Millennials and Gen Zs love companies that care about others. A company that is invested in others must be invested in their customers, too. With so many businesses vying for our attention, it’s understandable that people want to take their business where it will be most valued.

Colleges and universities that practice social responsibility will be more attractive to prospective students. You don’t have to do anything major to accomplish this. Donating time to a local charity or organization, practicing sustainable agriculture or participating in a social movement is enough to show prospective students that you care about the larger picture.

Personalize Your Communications

Millennials and Gen Zs can sometimes be numb to marketing messages. Only personalized messaging is effective, which is why some marketing strategies work better than others. For example, email marketing campaigns can be triggered based on how contacts interact with your school online. Online ads can be created from information given on social media profiles.

It’s not always easy to personalize communications with people you don’t know very well. Thankfully, today’s higher ed marketers can utilize big data to better understand their audience. Progressive profiling and targeting options on social media are also helpful at boosting enrollment.

Still, don’t forget some of the very basic ways to customize your interactions. Not everything has to be complicated.

  • Handwritten notes from admissions counselors

  • Direct mail specific to the prospect’s interests

  • Personalization tokens (hometown, first generation) added to the content

  • Recommendations for on-page content based on past interests

  • Invitations to open houses or campus tours

Market to Parents (Your “Other” Target)

The majority of parents help their kids pay for college, so they have an influence on the selection process, too. Create a dedicated hub on your page specifically for parents, or use a landing page to collect their names and email addresses to send personalized content.

Parents have similar questions as students, though usually more specific and focused on the following:

  • In-state vs out-of-state tuition

  • Financial aid packages

  • Recreational activities

  • Student employment opportunities

  • Safety initiatives

  • Campus dorms and food

  • Job placement after graduation

Being a higher ed. marketer isn’t easy these days, as the prospects are always changing. Already, we’re seeing some of Gen Zs start to graduate! This target will be different from millennials, so it’s time to adapt. Hopefully, our tips above will help make your school more appealing to prospective students.

 

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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