The college admissions process is a journey not just for prospective students, but also for the colleges themselves. Organizing campus tours, attending college fairs and sending out materials to interested students takes up a lot of resources and time. While these strategies may have been sufficient for recruitment 20 years ago, the modern capabilities of online marketing have transformed the playing field, making it even more competitive than before. Here are a few ways that higher education marketing has changed over the last decade.
Virtual Campus Tours
If you want to attract a diverse student population, it is important to expand your university’s geographical reach. Designing a virtual tour for your website is a fantastic option that allows prospective students to experience your campus from the comfort of their own homes, whether they’re a few states away or in a completely different country. Hundreds of schools have started offering virtual tours, whether they are simple, click-through maps or complex virtual reality experiences. A university’s campus plays a very big role in a prospective student’s decision process, so don’t put a geographical limit on your campus.
While sending out physical mail to prospective students is important, a large percentage of your marketing efforts should go into email campaigns. Recruitment emails should be enticing and engaging, otherwise they will get lost in the inbox flood. Create attention-grabbing subject lines that will make readers want to open your message. Personalize emails as much as possible, and make sure they provide value to the student. Try segmenting your email audience by their interests so that you can send emails tailored to their needs. It’s also important to ensure that your email campaigns are optimized for mobile performance, as the majority of students check emails on their phones.
Being present on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook is one of the most effective ways you can make an impression on students. Like any other company, your university has a unique brand and social media is the perfect place to show off your more casual, human side. Highlight fun events, beautiful pictures of the campus and student life in real time. You can share Instagram photos or videos from university clubs and organizations, create Facebook events for home sports games and theater performances and more. Social media is the place students look to see what living on campus is actually like, so make a good impression and share your campus culture with your online followers.
Today’s students are growing up in a digital world. If you want to be successful in higher education marketing, you must adapt and embrace the transition. While virtual campus tours, email campaigns, and social media interactions might not be the final conclusive factors in a student’s decision-making, they certainly play a pivotal role. Make sure you are reflecting the best of your university and putting the appropriate time and money toward your digital marketing efforts.