The biggest motivator for our higher-ed clients is usually recruitment…attracting potential students and turning them into enrolled students. If they’re talking to us, they clearly understand that a successful recruitment strategy requires a strong online component.
Maybe your admissions counselors are crossing the country at college fairs and you’ve got a website you like—but you can amp up your enrollment by tweaking your online presence and reaching out to students digitally. Here’s where to start:
Make sure your website content talks to students.
Please (please) don’t use LOL or IRL, but make sure you’re speaking a language that appeals to kids. Many teens are accustomed to communicating via text or social media; these are avenues that require them to get to the point, and fast. Respect that and be sure your writing style is concise and the information is relevant to their pain points and worries. Then conduct some casual user testing: buy some pizza and ask students for feedback on the tone of your content. They don’t even have to go to your school…ask the neighbor’s kids. It’s the demographic that counts.
Make sure your whole website is mobile friendly.
If it doesn’t look good on a phone or tablet, you’re losing a big chunk of your audience. Scroll through your site on your phone and/or tablet. If there are elements that don’t work or look wacky, get them fixed.
Build a recognizable brand.
This isn’t saying rebrand, it’s suggesting you use your existing brand everywhere. Have your logo and the name of your school prominently featured on all your messaging so prospective students and their parents quickly start to recognize your colors, your mascot, and then, your school.
Don’t wait to start reaching out.
While you can’t really send recruiters to elementary schools, you can start reaching out to kids once they hit high school. If your school is known for its arts programs, tailor some messages for the kids putting on the high school play. If you have a robust crew team, focus on the rowers. Start early so that when it counts, you’re the friendly college face that cuts through the angst.
Get more social.
Being on Facebook is great, but that’s not only where the kids are. Think Instagram and Snapchat and post content that appeals to your audiences. Make your presence as organic-feeling as possible and work on engagement. Build a robust alumni network on LinkedIn and appeal to them to spread the word and recommend your school. If kids are seeing your school as fun and personable, they’ll be intrigued enough to give you a hard look when it’s time to narrow down prospective applications.
Remember, the keys to digital recruitment are to engage, present a cohesive brand, and ensure that your content is accessible and informative. Then show up everywhere online that students, parents, and guidance counselors will be. Be consistent and friendly, and soon you’ll build a dedicated following online that will is sure to translate into more eyes on your school.