Summer is ending soon, which means that school will be in session before we know it. This is a time when high school seniors contemplate what they want to do and where they want to go after they graduate. Many will go on to higher education, like college or career schools. But with so many options out there, how do they determine where to go?
This is the question that many institutions often ask themselves. With so many possible students to reach, combined with so many avenues for advertising (social media, email, and the traditional in-person “Open House” events and college fairs), the Catch-22 for colleges and career schools is knowing who, where, and how to target. The possibilities for these schools to make their digital marks is virtually limitless.
So how do you develop your digital strategy?
Know your Audience
Evan Calafates, Search Marketing Manager for the EGC Group, states that first and foremost, recruiters should do some research before promoting the schools they represent: “I would say to know your audience before you start any sort of branding creative. Some tips would be to look at Affinity Groups in your analytics (who knows, maybe your customers really like movies, or highest converters are techies). Also, do a generic remarketing campaign, and really see where your traffic is heading. The content they view after leaving your site could be very…‘in-site-ful.’”
Create Excitement About Your Brand
EGC’s Senior Search Manager, Valarie Collier, listed several branding strategies and tips that schools should follow in order to remain relevant in the upcoming fall season.
Google Display Network
The Display Network allow schools to connect with potential students with a variety of ad formats across the digital universe.
Career schools can use customized remarketing lists to achieve specific marketing goals. For example, you can create a "form abandon" list to show ads to the people who started the application process but was not completed.
Show Why Your Different
Showing the versatility of your school can make you stand out in the crowd. Schools should always boast their flexible hours and schedules, online class formats, multiple class starts, and internship programs.
Use Social Media Ads
In a recent blog, we highlighted why social media ads are worth the investment. Here, Adam Chan, EGC’s Social Media Manager, offers insight on the specific types of social media ads to utilize in getting the attention of prospective students:
Lead Generation Ads
This is a great way to streamline the lead generation process (rather than having a prospective student clicking on an ad, then going to a landing page with a form). Social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, offer marketer’s ads that let users fill out forms right in the ad without leaving the app. This is great because these platforms already have your information and by having students “auto complete” the form filling process can help increase conversion rates.
Video View Ads
This is another great way to get your brand out there, and it can cost less than a penny per view. Platforms like Facebook allow you to create targeted audiences based on people who’ve already watched your videos, whether they watched five seconds or completed watching the whole video. You can than target future ads towards these people with a strong call-to-action.
Event Responses Ads
These ads promote your Facebook event to increase your attendance. This ad set is extremely useful if you school is hosting an event like an open house. If someone says they’re interested in attending or going to the event, Facebook sends out reminders by sending notifications to the user the week of and again the day of the event.
The need for continuing education, whether it be a high school senior or someone looking for a career change, is always increasing.
In a recent article posted on Inside Higher Ed, authors Jim Crone, Jon Niebch and Todd A. Hitchcock claim that competition for higher education institutions to attract prospective students is greater than ever, with the last 20 years showing an increase not only in the percentage of high schoolers who applied to colleges, but in the numbers of colleges each applied to.
Recruitment tactics, particularly in regard to a particular school’s digital presence, has to be competitve and relevant.
(With so much activity and so many students to reach, the job title of “school recruiter” may well become one of the fastest-growing professions in the near future.)