The task of recruiting millennials is a whole new game, and the days of flashy advertisements and smooth sales pitches are dead. Let’s be real – a college education is expensive. Prospective students need more than nice fliers and a holiday card in the mail to commit to your institution. Prospects want hard evidence that they will get their money’s worth if they choose to attend your university, and what better proof can you offer than your thriving current students?
Let’s face it: high school students are inundated with college recruitment options. Top-tier students are bombarded with e-mails, direct mail pieces and even the occasional phone contact. Even lower-performing students are getting three to five direct mail solicitations every week as well as at least one email each day. Higher education marketers are pressured to continue to execute new ideas (preferably with low-budgets) to stand out in the already crowded mailboxes (virtual and literal) of prospective students.
Direct mail, campus tours and college fairs have long been the center of the college recruitment process. And for years, they worked.
In the last decade, though, schools have had to work harder and smarter in a fiercely competitive market to recruit the right students. These traditional methods still have a place in the process, but they are not effective throughout all stages of the recruitment funnel. Many schools, however, have not adjusted their strategies.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Student Information Systems (SIS) are designed to help the higher education community provide a better experience for their prospects. With so many people accustomed to digital communication and online research, a CRM system is vital to smoothing out the connection process between the institution and its prospects. Some SIS platforms will contain CRM features, while others will integrate with third-party CRM applications to deliver best-in-breed functionality.
Are you treating your student recruits like a great brand treats potential customers?
Schools all across the nation are starting to use corporate marketers to approach their recruits with a message that effectively sells the school's passion, mission and capabilities.
Today’s consumers are quickly changing how they shop and how they make their decisions. Traditional marketing experts used interruptive tactics that tried to catch the consumer off guard and subliminally motivate them towards a purchase decision or brand recognition. Today’s consumers—especially the younger generations—are too savvy for this technique.
Everyone is doing everything they can to get their content noticed. It is a constant competition for sites to have the best ranking on the most popular search engines. You get ranked, then you get found. Easy enough right? Not really. It takes developing a full digital marketing strategy to entice potential customers to invest in what you've got to say, and then hopefully your product or service. A piece of this strategy is social media and is definitely important for your SEO efforts.
So what are you to do? Here are some tips to get started, some stats to stay informed and some ideas for improvement if you already have a presence.
Last week, I posted a blog about how great marketing automation is for higher education. I wanted to give a specific example of exactly how you can use the software to encourage prospective students to enroll. Automated workflows are great for many different nurturing processes. They allow you to personalize, engage and interact with potential clients, customers or, in this case, students.
Let's talk about how you can use them to help with your admissions initiatives.
The goal is for the prospective student to visit your site, have an initial interaction and then gain all of the knowledge that they need to want to apply for admission.
With strict budget policies and procedures, it is important for schools to get the most bang for their buck when doing any sort of marketing. At the end of the day the goal is to get "butts in seats," for university marketing programs. For example, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro uses HubSpot for their UNCG online initiative. Their goal is to get people to register and enroll in their online courses. So what can marketing automation do for higher education?