At a time when the relevance of a college degree is in question, coupled with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, higher education institutions are under pressure to demonstrate the value of their educational programs to prospective and returning students.
The decline in student enrollment at universities, colleges, and other tertiary institutions is forcing higher education marketing teams and agencies to find new and creative ways to boost enrollment, restructuring and improving their direct-to-student marketing campaigns.
Personalized messaging and the right communications platforms are key in this increasingly competitive market with a dwindling applicant pool. With research showing that 72% of consumers want to be interacted with across multiple channels, it makes sense to use a multichannel strategy that encompasses touchpoints including direct mail, email marketing, and digital marketing. And thanks to the capabilities of our parent company, AccuData, AlumniFinder can leverage these tools and tactics with our clients for enrollment marketing success.
Let’s explore our options.
OPTIMIZING DATA FOR DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGNS
Even though social media and digital channels are considered the primary communication platforms for today’s target student body, direct mail still has a place as a trusted and reliable method to deliver valuable content, while building brand awareness.
Working with a data vendor to procure custom mailing lists can empower your enrollment marketing team to conduct campaigns more efficiently, only sending communications to relevant audiences with verified addresses. This not only increases your chances of successfully acquiring prospective students but also decreases your marketing spend because you’re not chasing unqualified leads.
Data can be sourced from proprietary surveys distributed in high schools, educational websites, online behaviors, and public record information. And can allow you to specifically target prospective – or returning, or even adult students – based on their class year, college-bound interests, intended major, GPA, sports and hobbies interests, as well as their personal info like date of birth, physical and email addresses.
From mailboxes to inboxes, there are a lot of factors to consider when emailing your target audience.
According to Statista, more than 70% of students said they’d rather get information from colleges and universities via email. But how do you ensure that your emails aren’t going directly to the spam folder?
Your database of existing students, or those who have previously expressed interest, are the most valuable tools you have at your disposal. Effectively managing your student data for segmentation, personalization, and automation be a constant challenge for many education institutions.
Partnering with a digital agency to manage all facets of acquisition email marketing, including copywriting, mobile-responsive design targeted opt-in email audiences, email address verification, deployment, optimization, and detailed reporting, can benefit your campaigns.
Probably the most effective lead-generation strategy with prospective students involves directly targeting them where they are consuming online content; be that social media platforms, websites of relevant brands, or search engines. Unsurprisingly, 66% of Gen-Z consumers state that social media is an essential part of their lives; while older Millennial prospective students clock in at 72%. Here are a couple of useful tactics to make sure you’re reaching these always-connected prospective enrollees:
Paid Social Media Advertising – ads placed in newsfeeds capture a viewer’s attention quickly to produce strong results and gain more exposure from your digital marketing efforts.
Web Visitor Intel – during enrollment periods, prospective students are coming to your website for info. You can turn your website itself into a lead generation tool enabling you to identify real-time, in-market prospects for your institution. With the application of custom script coding on your website, you can collect data about those visitors and then turn them into robust multichannel prospects.
Addressable GeoFence – allows you to serve your digital display ads to prospective and existing students’ mobile and desktop devices based on their physical addresses. Addressable GeoFence campaigns are ideal complements to direct mail initiatives as they are proven to increase overall conversion.
NextGen Behavioral Targeting – connects you with prospective students at the critical decision-making time when they are assessing their education options. With a list of keywords, NextGen targeting enables you to reach the people actively searching for educational institutions or college degree programs. By serving ads during a prospect’s decision-making journey, you’ll reach the right audience at the right time, without wasted ad impressions.
Site Retargeting – allows you to keep your message in front of those who have recently visited your website. Site Retargeting encourages conversion by serving relevant ads to website visitors across their online journey. When the visitor leaves your website and continues to browse other sites online, the pixel follows their journey, targeting them with your display ads.
There are many more tactics available to higher education marketing teams and agencies, but if you can leverage your data, direct mail campaigns, email, and digital marketing strategies as a starting point, you should be well on your way to increasing student enrollment engagement.
To learn more, view our Solution Sheet.