If your institution has undergraduate enrollment problems, one or more of these strategies might hold the solution.
1. Define What Makes You Different
Before you make any changes, your team needs to clearly define what makes your institution different. This seems so basic, but you would be surprised to know how many of our clients struggle to answer this simple question. Why would a prospective student enroll at your college as opposed to a competitor? Once you figure out what makes your school unique, this should become a central component of your marketing plan.
2. Target the Right Students
Begin by conducting research on current and prospective students. Where do they come from? What are they interested in? What do they value? With this information, you can begin tailoring your campaigns to a narrower demographic of students who are more likely to enroll in your institution.
You should take it one step further and define a persona to plan your content around. You will see better conversion rates and more valuable engagement when you are able to target a single persona.
3. Strengthen Social Strategies
You're probably already using social media as part of your marketing strategy. However, there is always room to improve content. Consider how to make your social media updates more continuous, relevant, engaging, and interactive.
4. Streamline Your Website
Visit your school's website, starting with the homepage, and try to imagine it through the eyes of a prospective student. Be relentlessly critical. If key information (such as admissions process, tuition, or offered majors) is difficult to find, your website may need a redesign.
Compare your website to these 3 examples of higher ed websites that increase enrollment rates, and develop a list of improvements you can make to your own institution's website.
5. Focus on Student Life
Dormitories, student activities, sports, community: these are the things that matter to incoming students. Your digital presence should allow prospective students to imagine what it's like to live and study at your institution.
Share events, activities, and campus life moments on your social media accounts, blog, and website. These posts generate excitement among prospective students.
6. Drive Traffic Where You Want It
Imagine your website is a wheel. The outer ring of the wheel is your content, all flowing smoothly together. The spokes are links. What, then, is the hub? If your goal is to raise enrollment, the hub of your website should be the admissions page, how to schedule a campus visit or other key information for prospective students.
If you're still not seeing the rise in enrollment you're looking for, consider investing in some physical renovations. Prospective students are focused on student life at your college. Simple renovations in dormitories or student centers can yield big results.
Advertise your intentions regarding the renovations online through your blog and social media to spark excitement. Create a sense of urgency and need when you are promoting your renovations.
8. Promote Online or Extension Classes
Many students today want the flexibility of online learning. If your college already offers online or extension courses, be sure to include the promotion of these courses as part of your content planning.
9. Add Special Programs
Special programs like study abroad, undergraduate research opportunities, honors colleges, or sports programs are highly attractive to prospective students. Consider what your college could add.
10. Think Long-Term
Any decision that you make should reflect the long-term goal of increasing student enrollment. This is the bottom line that should always determine where your institution focuses its resources.