Now that the fall semester has begun, colleges and universities have a more accurate picture of their enrollment. Perhaps your higher institution hit its goal, perhaps it did not. This is the time of year where some universities are completely satisfied with their numbers and others are not.
Regardless of which category your school falls into, it’s important to recognize that marketing to prospective students is not over until next year. You must continue to stay in front of potential students to keep enrollment consistent and align your university with boosted numbers for next fall.
Why is it important to do this? If a student did not choose your college or university today, this does not mean that they won’t become a student in the future. If you assume they’ve crossed you off the list and discontinue contact, you’re essentially ending the relationship you have built. While it may be true that many of these students simply chose other schools, others may have not made a decision. Therefore, you need to stay in front of these students as they continue to pursue their options.
Even if you lost a large number of students to various colleges and universities, who can be certain they will be satisfied with their choice? As many as one in three first-year students don’t make it back for sophomore year at their selected school, according to U.S. News and World Report, which means there is untapped potential even in these students.
Other things can happen along the way, too, as some students end up relocating or changing majors. Those who once considered your university as a viable option may have their eyes set on you once again. Don’t overlook the power of word-of-mouth, either. A strong presence will remind students of all that you have to offer, and they will in turn spread the news along to other new students.
Now that you know the importance of continuing to build leads, how can you be effective? Think of your online marketing strategy as a continuous effort, not something you do at certain times of the year. Below are a few ideas.
Post photos of students and campus life on social media
Post content that is relevant to college life and academics
Utilize remarketing to stay top of mind
Contribute to your blog regularly
Have current students contribute guest posts
Promote your college’s involvement in the community, i.e., sporting events, theater plays, student volunteers
Highlight professors, especially those conducting studies or reaching certain milestones
Send out personalized emails
Use marketing automation
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