With 2014 underway and plans being made for the coming school year, it’s wise to reflect on the marketing techniques you employed during last year’s student recruitment. Having a clear picture of what worked and what didn’t will provide you direction as you decide how to achieve a successful recruiting campaign this year. The process of searching and acquiring students has undergone some changes. Likewise, it’s a lengthier process than it was in years past. In accordance, your marketing plans must be efficiently mapped out for the most effective implementation. Incorporate these do’s and don’ts in your upcoming student recruitment plans to see improved results in the direct responses your university receives.
Steps to Take for Improved Student Recruitment Results
- Include Multi-Channel Marketing in Your Campaign. Connect with potential students through multiple marketing channels. While some might respond to email, others may hit the “delete” button without opening it. Employ the use of social media, email, ads and good old-fashioned letters.
- Get to Know Your Prospects. Your recruitment campaign is about converting prospective students to enrolled students. But remember, to those prospects it’s all about them, not you. Know the details of your prospects…what their majors are, the activities they pursue and how far away they are from your campus. Put this information to work for you.
- Focus Your Contacts to the Right Fit. For the best results, market only to the types of students who are appropriate for your university environment.
- Elicit Response or Reaction. Entice prospective students to respond to you with an offer. Attract them with the offer of information, behind-the-scenes tours or something else they can only get by responding to you.
- Strike While the Iron’s Hot. Quick responses to inquiries are vital if you want a better conversion rate. A student that contacts you is in search mode. If you don’t respond to their inquiry, another university will.
The Don’ts of a Student Recruitment Campaign
- Don’t Focus on Features at the Exclusion of Benefits. Of course, prospective students want to know what you offer. But you can stand out from the competition by telling them why. Explain the benefits of the new 1000-seat auditorium you’re offering instead of just telling them that it’s there.
- Don’t Overload Your Message. Keep it concise and to the point. Focus your message, and repeat the most important thought at the end.
- Don’t Forget you’re Marketing to a Visual Generation. Video marketing, virtual tours and infographics appeal to this generation of students because a lot of information can be packed into a short space and time frame.
- Don’t Overlook Your Current Student Population. Your current student community can become an effective part of your recruiting campaign. Ask for volunteers at fairs and events, and use testimonials as part of your marketing campaign.
- Don’t Fail to Test Your Efforts. Each new marketing effort should be tested to ensure it’s worth your time and money. Collect data regarding responses, click-throughs, inquiries, feedback and enrollment. Use this data to fine-tune your campaign by discontinuing ineffective strategies in favor of those that yield the most results.
Get the Greatest Return on Your Budget and Time Investment
The shrinking budget of your university marketing department must pull its weight and then some in your endeavor to attract potential students. A focused plan that’s built on direct marketing best practices will help your university connect with potential students who are a good fit for your school community. Plan wisely, implement your recruiting campaign early and use the above do’s and don’ts for an effective recruiting season that’s also cost-effective.