Effective Higher Education Marketing

Tanya Burros

Effective Higher Education Marketing:

COVID and cancellations have changed many things lately, and the college shopping experience is no exception. Virtual visits are replacing traditional high school activities such as college fairs and campus visits.

As a parent of two, one already in college and the other a soon to be high school graduate, the current college selection process is an interesting experience for me both as a parent and as someone who works in education marketing.

Effective Higher Education Marketing from a Student’s Point of View

Today’s kids are tech kids, so information and marketing materials delivered quickly and streamlined are preferred over the old school style of thick, glossy packets, and cool giveaways offered during a high school college fair. 

While everything is in such flux as to in-person classes, distance learning, and virtual visits, it appears that most big-name universities have not stepped up their marketing as compared to smaller schools. These smaller schools are offering more virtual visits for everything from campus tours to admissions and financial aid, as well as, increasing emails and in some cases, they are calling students directly.

Options for accessing information should include a specific landing page for high schoolers, pared down with the basic information such as admission requirements, deadlines, and programs offered. This target style landing page is easier to navigate instead of an overwhelming general school website that an upperclassman may also be accessing to find information about a professor or specific program.

Don’t forget where they are — at home. The direct mail channel is a novelty to this generation but start small in lieu of the big packets. With the addition of augmented reality options for direct mail, simple postcards can be a powerful way to engage with them. QR codes, virtual reality, and real-time chat or texts are highly appealing to the prospective student and offers a low-barrier path to find more information in technology they use nearly everyday. 

Effective Higher Education Marketing from a Parent’s Point of View

Whether your high school student is a reluctant, undecided prospect, or a focused future attendee, (I have one of each), having access to admissions or school reps who know their institution and its offerings, is a key factor. Rather than a blanket, “Sure we have that” answer, the reps who knew more detailed information about a program or course of study increased both parent and student’s interest in adding that school to the list of potential choices. 

Parents also agree that today’s prospective student wants quick, easily accessible answers without wading through mountains of information. Yet for parents, the more information-the better, still seems to be the norm. Being able to refer to a printed pamphlet to find answers is still a convenient way to be part of the college selection conversation with their child.

Today’s high school student is tech-savvy, and in many cases, already poised to continue their education after high school. Thanks to advanced classes and options to graduate high school with some college credits already under their belt, they are more prepared for the next step. That means they are asking more detailed questions about program offerings and career options. It also means a thick packet of jumbled brochures filled with student life activities isn’t as effective, and in the current climate, as relevant, as it was just a few years ago. To get their attention, less is more – and mobile friendly is their preferred choice of consumption.

In conclusion…

With an ever changing environment of health safety and advancing technologies, it’s easy to lose track of what the student needs and what a parent needs to help their child. MDT Marketing, has been working to help institutions of higher education pivot their campaigns to bring more relevant messaging and engaging content to the next generation of students and we would love to help you. Call my team today, and apply our 130+ years of education marketing knowledge to your high school marketing strategy.