Higher institutions can target a wider range of students thanks to global interconnectivity, but local students still account for the majority of new enrollees. The fact is, colleges and universities are tightly woven into the communities they serve and are stepping stones for local students. While some students will trickle in from other regions, it’s the ones right at home that are most likely to convert.
Knowing how important your local students are to your institution, you must continue to establish strong connections with them. Below we share a few tips for recruiting local prospects.
Create Local Student Personas
To create a local student recruitment strategy, start by defining your local student personas. How large is this audience? What are their specific needs? How can you encourage them to attend your school?
If you’re not sure of your student personas, survey and analyze current students. You can learn a lot about the types of people who are attracted to your programs and why. Once you know the characteristics of the students you are trying to recruit, you can target your messaging to appeal to this unique audience.
Optimize Local SEO
With algorithm changes, the search engines favor localized results so that they can give users a more personalized and intuitive experience. For instance, the local 3-pack appears at the top of the search results and features three of the best listings. You can significantly increase traffic and inquiries if you can get your institution to rank.
To land in the local 3-pack, your local SEO must be on spot. Take ownership of your Google My Business listing, optimize your website for local SEO and update all NAP information.
Publish Content for Local Students
It can help to optimize your website for local SEO, but this won’t do much to keep people on your site. To encourage prospects to take the next step, nurture them with localized content.
Highlight the amenities that are available to students, explain the differences between your campuses, and encourage prospects to attend open days. Also, be sure to add some blogs and videos that are geared toward your local students, such as nearby career opportunities or off-campus living options.
Reach Local Students on Social Media
Social media is a great place to meet local prospects. In fact, many students turn to social media to find local colleges and universities. They might follow the pages to get a feel for the atmosphere and how engaged the student body is.
To encourage more activity on your social media pages, tag images that are taken locally, create a branded hashtag for your school, and ask students to submit their own photos. Social media takeovers also work well for this purpose.
Since local students probably make up the majority of your current student population, it’s important that you have a robust and competitive local student recruitment plan. You can still reach out to students in other geographical areas, but don’t ignore the ones right at home.