As school schedules start back up in the dead of winter, the last thing on the minds’ of high school students is college. But that will quickly change as we inch our way into the late winter and early spring when college applications become customary.
As a college or university, now is the time to get in front of students. Familiarize them with your school, the programs you offer, the quality of education delivered, and the distinct advantages that set your school apart.
Know Your Target Audience
Tapping into the future college mindset isn’t always easy, but understanding your target audience will help you craft the right message. Perhaps your school offers flexible degree programs and reaches out to students with families or full-time jobs. Maybe your college is small and local, catering to commuter and transfer students. Or it’s possible that your university is building up an international program, accepting international students from all over the world.
Luckily, you have a wide range of tools at your disposal to start connecting with students.
The first place to find prospective students is on social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Instagram are some of the better choices. Introduce new professors, give updates about campus living, and share news regarding upcoming sporting events, theater plays, and campus tour dates.
The benefit to social media is that you bring both current and new students together to offer a true taste of campus life. Encourage conversation among students by asking them to share feedback, experiences, and advice. When interested students feel supported by the community, it puts your school in a different class.
Email marketing and content marketing continue to merge. With this in mind, use your monthly newsletters to repurpose content such as images, short videos, and blog posts regarding campus life. This will drive traffic to your website and social media profiles while keeping prospective students in the loop and staying top of mind.
Retargeting is a marketing approach that reaches out to people who have decided that they need something. Unlike impulse buys, it takes students months to decide which school is the best fit. As inquiring students visit your website, use retargeted ads to reach them as they move on in their search. Students will be reminded of your college so that it stays on their mind or is revisited at a later date.
Reaching students is only half the battle. You must also nurture the relationships you start. Do this by offering regular content that addresses common student concerns, such as what the application process entails, what freshman dorms are like, and the choices for extracurricular activities.
College is more than education. It will soon be a lifestyle for the student – the place where they were jumpstart their career and become an adult. Show that you are a school that cares about these milestones and is prepared to walk the journey with each student.