Trying to figure out what’s the best way to communicate with prospective students? Do you use email or social media? Do you prefer telephone contact, messaging, or a written letter? What’s the best way for enrolment professionals to meet their goals in this fast-changing & highly competitive environment?
Today we are almost always connected to our phones. A recent study suggests 87 percent of people wake up and go to sleep with their smartphones. That level of distraction is a double-edged sword; students have access to information at the touch of a finger, and they are targeted by advertising 24/7. We need to be savvy enough to match the student application cycle and the many new ways in which they collect information, with our marketing and communication tools and techniques.
In our experience, there are 4 stages to student marketing and communication:
- Plans & Aims: They have a good idea what they want to study and research. Google Search and Program Listing portals are two of the first steps here.
- Inspection of Features: Where should they study? with whom? School websites, Social Media, student reviews and Success Stories are an important next step to help them filter their options.
- Inquiries: Checking in for more detailed information on the School website, Hobsons, and Student Fairs. It is time for an interview and some more detailed answers to questions before a decision is made.
- Did You Know?: In our view, Brand Awareness is important to run parallel to the above three steps. Students are not buying jeans on the spur of the moment here. During their research and decision-making journey (which can continue after enrollment), a conference website banner, a timely advertisement in a leading journal, or a promoted research publication can inform a student perhaps previously unaware of your school (there are over 25 000 universities to choose from).
It’s true new market methods and communication technologies need to be forefront in campus callouts, however, traditional market methods still have their value. Your focus needs to be on the institution’s image and branding and on message. Be sure to “sell” your campuses value and remember that marketing doesn’t end, even once a student is enrolled.
This archived article is three years old, but still worth reading: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/18/universities-turn-to-ad-man