Taking advantage of the natural seasonal peaks in the yearly recruitment cycle will move students through the five stages of awareness and complete the admissions process.
Why Seasonality Matters for Student Recruitment by preparing for a pre-season launch and using seasonal and personalized marketing messaging.
Fall is notorious for being a heavy recruiting time - classes starting, football season and fall open house all lend to the busyness on campus. Spring also has ample occasions to excite prospective students. Use these opportunities to showcase your vibrant campus to prospective students.
Increase your ad budgets, specifically your digital spending, in the fall. Students and parents will be searching, and you will want to provide fresh content. Learn more about the best digital marketing tactics for higher education in our Epic Commons article. Google Ads Performance Planner is one tool that can help decide how much budget to allocate based on goals.
Use the slower points of the year to plan and produce assets if possible. Is there anything you already have that can be remixed and recycled? Video can tell a powerful story, and authentic brand storytelling compels students to take notice. According to Wyzowl, when asked how they’d most like to learn about a product or service, 73% of consumers said they’d prefer to watch a short video and 87% of marketers say video has helped increase website traffic.
Plan and schedule out when and where content is to be placed. There are numerous online tools that can assist with this process. Launch these campaigns prior to sending out any open house or large, on-campus events invitations. Students are expecting fall open houses and will be inundated with invitations - make your college or university stand out among the invitations by already having built awareness.
Keep messaging timely and relevant. If your college or university is located somewhere where it snows, do not be afraid to show your campus covered in a beautiful snowfall.
Take advantage of calendar holidays, and consider a postcard to segments of students, such as “not applied” or “accepted but not deposited”, around holidays when family gathers such as Thanksgiving. The theory behind this is grandma or beloved Aunt Mary will see the postcard and encourage the student to apply or pay for their deposit.
Be timely with content - if something newsworthy is happening on campus, such as the basketball team making the playoffs or a huge research breakthrough, use those events to catapult search activity for enrollment.
Personalizing Marketing Messages
Is there anything worse than being served an ad that does not apply to you? Using responsive search ads will help ensure users are getting the information they are looking for. Google Responsive search ads allow you to create ads that adapt to show more relevant messages to searchers. These ads are flexible, have a large reach and can perform well. Keeping ads optimized is important to ensure the content is relevant and fresh.
More than search ads, segmenting audiences for emails, digital campaigns, mailings and any other touch points shows that students aren’t just a number. Revealing content that they are interested in will keep them interested in you.
Marketers can take advantage of search opportunities using the natural seasonality peaks of the recruitment cycle to boost engagement and by delivering relevant, timely messaging to guide potential students and their parents through the five stages of awareness.