Higher education institutions appeal to prospective students from a wide variety of backgrounds. But, all too often recruitment efforts are focused on recent high school graduates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2019 12.5 million college enrolments were students under the age of 25 and 7.4 million were students 25 years old and over. So, even if 2/3 of new students are recent high school graduates, your institution may be missing out on a large potential audience if this is the only segment your higher education marketing efforts are focused on.
In this article, we’re going to look at how your higher education institution can leverage tools, such as communication automation, to revamp education-based marketing strategies and expand retargeting efforts. Of course, this is with the aim of your institution gaining more applicants from prospective students in your existing target audience as well as new ones.
Let’s dive in!
Higher Education Marketing: Prospective Students
First things first – think about your target audiences. In broad terms, you’re likely targeting anyone considering attending your institution or considering pursuing any type of post-secondary education. It’s important to further break down your target prospective student audiences in order to ensure your education-based marketing appeals to them specifically.
Your targeted audiences of prospective students may also include recent graduates, international students, part-time students, or continuing education. What’s important to note here is that each of these groups has differing interests, needs, and requirements so one-size-fits-all higher education messaging isn’t going to appeal to everyone.
Many of these prospective students may inquire about going back to school or entertain thoughts of attending but not all of them necessarily follow through. For example, Forbes reports that only 13% of students who left college or university went back within five years to finish their degree. This is why it is important for higher education institutions to be able to provide personalized, targeted messaging.
Higher Education Marketing: Personalized Communication
This brings us to the importance of personalized communication in higher education marketing. Again, we look at the underserved audiences of prospective students (international students, part-time students, continuing education, etc.). As mentioned, many may think of pursuing higher education but what are the chances of them actually doing so?
Well, imagine if you’re a prospective continuing education student and when you sign up for more information from a college or university, you’re immediately sent information targeted at recent high school graduates. What impact does that have on you? It could make you feel like that institution caters to a certain demographic, meaning you wouldn’t belong there.
Can you see now the importance of providing targeted communication? Not only does it give them the information they need but it also lets prospective students know that you’re aware of their needs and what is important to them.
Higher Education Marketing: Communication Automation
So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves — how can you effectively personalize all these communications and messages without eating up staff time? The answer: communication automation.
Communication automation platforms are ideal for higher education institutions that want to implement a more robust education-marketing strategy. These platforms allow you to automatically customize messages based on information about each individual prospective student easily.
Perhaps more importantly, communication automation platforms allow higher education institutions to stay in front of prospective students by sending automatic, periodic messages. Making the decision to commit to a college or university is a tough decision, one that can have a long decision-making process for an individual. So, if you’re able to touch base with them on a regular basis — even when they’re not in “education” mode — it’ll keep your higher education institution top-of-mind.
Higher Education Marketing: What Next?
Do you think a communication automation platform could help bolster your higher education marketing plan? Are you ready to try personalizing messages for your prospective students based on their individual needs? Why not try SimplyCast?
SimplyCast offers an all-in-one engagement and communication platform that is perfect for higher education institutions looking to gain more applicants by offering personalized engagement to prospective students.
If you want to see this platform in action, please click the button below and book a free one-on-one demo with a member of our team!