Today’s generation of college-aged students are the most accessible group to date with social media, text messaging and email. And yet, they might be the hardest to actually get through to.
That’s the difficult playing field that exists when it comes to convincing Millennials to attend your school. No matter what you do to entice someone, a distraction is just a moment away. You must make the most of your opportunities to engage.
How can you increase enrollment? It’s all about how you stand out – and how you answer the questions that are most frequently asked by the current generation.
It’s no secret that digital marketing is the way to go in today’s world. However, some schools insist on sending out the traditional pamphlets that were a staple of college recruiting in previous generations.
The reality is that you’re marketing to Millennials, not just their parents. Parents care about things like academic reputation and amenities. However, a high school senior is far more concerned with lifestyle, with how well the university understands that individual’s needs and puts that understanding into action.
This means cultivating a presence on the right social media channels (more Instagram and less Facebook). Even if these accounts don’t get a ton of engagement, it’s important that they exist and don’t look out of place. Additionally, fill your website with the type of content that works today – infographics and contemporary videos will go a lot further than the marketing relics of yesteryear.
Lastly, show how technology plays a major role on campus. For example, text-based interactions with teachers and administrative personnel will reach students where they actually are – on their mobile phones. Millennials and even older students use self-service technology to shop, bank, earn degrees and more.
Customize Your Approach
The digital revolution provides access to unprecedented amounts of data. This knowledge must be incorporated into your approach. According to Econsultancy, companies that customize their marketing have seen an increase in sales of nearly 20 percent. It’s the same deal with academics.
Nobody wants to be just another recruit. Remember, your time with each potential student is limited. Make good use of the data you’ve received. Personalize all communications, going beyond the student’s name and into any interests they’ve expressed in the past.
If you haven’t received any sort of information from a potential student yet, don’t fret. Using website tracking software, such as Google Analytics, can show you what areas of your site are of particular interest to students. You can also keep tabs on other important items, such as the most sought-after amenities and the point at which admission applications are abandoned (similar to technology eCommerce sites use to see when a customer abandons a cart).
As you learn about the people who are interested in your school, you can tailor your messaging that much more effectively. Any efforts to personalize your communications with students is light years better than cold, plain text webpages that talk at students, instead of with them.
Get Financial Aid on Board
Many a school has successfully recruited and admitted a student, only to lose them during the financial aid process due to process delays and late funding. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the financial aid department, but more a failure of the system overall.
Financial aid departments are responsible for maintaining complex compliance standards while helping students navigate the financial aid process on a deadline. At any given moment, counselors are handling countless student’s aid processes, all of which may be at different stages. Although they have the assistance of the student information system (SIS) to organize basic information, most offices don’t have a computerized platform to manage workflow. Financial aid departments need a central system, like StudentVerification, where they can request needed verification documents from students and where students can submit those documents quickly and easily, so the financial aid process isn’t held up.
Today’s college applicants are more skeptical than ever about the value of a higher education. They’re worried about being saddled with student loan debt. They may be wary of committing to a career choice before they’ve taken a college course.
Like any business, your best marketing tools are your customers. And a program that links alumni with prospective students can be a great way to bridge the gap between skepticism and commitment.
Ultimately, each students wants to know that his or her time and money won’t be wasted. By allowing your former students to connect with these recruits and assure them that their education was in fact valuable, they’ll be more motivated to take the next step. Additionally, learning what college is really like will help these students to make the best choice, resulting in a satisfied and committed student who believes in the message you’re sending.
Dedicate a portion of your website to alumni-recruit relations. This is a great way to show you care about answering the questions of your recruits. Additionally, personalize your communications and reveal your social media savvy to send the right message to anyone looking at your school.
To learn more about StudentVerification, click the image below.