Across the country, many colleges and universities have watched their enrollment decrease and tuition increase as a result of increased family debt, reduced family income, unemployment and shifting demographics. It’s hard to break free from this cycle, especially when competition is stiff. Not only do colleges and universities have competition in the form of other higher institutions, but for the first time, online programs and classes taught by seasoned professors are taking some of the spotlight.
The best way that higher institutions can flourish despite this wave of change is to initiate responsive, location-specific marketing plans to boost traditional recruitment methods.
Hyperlocal marketing is a form of digital marketing that targets a specific audience within a specific location. It works for all types of businesses and industries as it allows them to deliver highly personalized messaging to a particular group of people within one community.
In this case, schools use hyperlocal marketing to target potential students in various areas, perhaps local students or older adults looking to return to school in a specific community. Colleges and universities use highly targeted messages that connect with their audience and make an impression on specific individuals.
Complementing an Existing Strategy
As with other marketing tactics, hyperlocal marketing will not be successful on its own. It must rest with a solid SEO strategy that will allow students to find the school in the search engines.
No marketing strategy is set in stone. It’s constantly evolving with the goals of finding, recruiting and enrolling new students. Hyperlocal marketing boosts conversion rates, and it’s best to start with small steps. Let’s take a look at ways you can bring hyperlocal marketing into your own strategy.
- Start with a few cities. Consider areas where you want to improve recruitment and enrollment and strengthen your brand message.
- Offer relevant content. Share articles, images and blog posts that are relevant to your audience in terms of their location. This shows that you are familiar with their area and lifestyle. Rural students, for instance, have different interests and needs than urban students.
- Share upcoming events. Keep prospective students informed of when you’ll be in their area for admission events.
- Post pictures of your staff. To keep students connected to your school, introduce them to the administrators that they will meeting at admission events.
- Hire alumni advocates. These individuals are a testament to the education you deliver. Put them in the role of chatting with students on social media, or set up an email account that is specifically designed for new recruits.
- Supply comparison information. Students aren’t just looking for an education; they’re looking for a place to live. Share information about your local area and how it compares to the students’ location such as the climate, population, things to do, etc.
Remember, hyperlocal marketing isn’t a standalone marketing tool. It should complement your existing strategy and help you connect with future students.