It may seem that riding this current pandemic rollercoaster demands a drastic adjustment in marketing direction, but best practices are called “best” because they work, even in turbulent times.
Staying visible and accessible to your audience is more critical than ever, especially with so many rapid changes in state and local distancing guidelines and mandates, business closings, and quickly changing school calendars.
While your institution may have had a solid and effective marketing strategy just a few months ago, it may be time for reevaluation and redirection.
Here are the 5 marketing mistakes you could be making:
1. Not addressing the obvious –
The pandemic is on the minds of prospective students and could have a major influence in their selection process. It’s important to acknowledge this in your marketing,
a) so they know your message is current
b) to show you are taking it seriously.
You can do this by highlighting plans and procedures for keeping students safe, how you’ll address classes that require in-person, hands on training, and what services are available to students both on-campus and virtually. Clear communication, especially during such quickly changing times is a vital part of today’s decision-making process, regardless the type of consumer.
2. Relying on past data for your marketing budget –
The ability to be flexible and adapt quickly should outweigh historical and seasonal trends as part of your marketing strategy this year.
Furloughs and business closings mean more young adults are considering upgrading their skills or changing careers altogether, and they are especially focused on job skills that are needed now. Your ideal audience is on the search for options, so instead of dialing back on your marketing, staying consistent or even increasing your ad spend is a smart move.
Update outdated ads in Google to reflect current messaging. If you’re working with an agency, ask them to audit and update your existing accounts as needed.
Not promoting virtual options – As cities and states re-evaluate their opening policies in response to spikes in case numbers, many students who planned on touring the campus in person may now prefer a virtual option. Your school can emerge as a leader in adaptation by changing your marketing content to reflect new virtual tour options. This shift may even have an added benefit by appealing to a market totally entrenched in virtual experiences.
Virtual options apply not only to the visits; admissions, enrollment, and financial aid processes are also shifting for many institutions. Remember to incorporate that messaging as well.
3. Failure to Respond Quickly –
Flexibility is key for organizations right now, and a prospective student may move onto another institution if they don’t see current messaging. You never want to “set it and forget it” with marketing but now it is more important than ever to stay current.
Promoting your adaptations and modifications can be a strong selling point to reassure hesitant applicants to proceed with enrollment.
4. Keeping the same lead nurturing timeline –
Even though you should be vigilant in keeping messaging current and responding quickly, it’s also important to adjust for delays and extensions many institutions are facing in the admissions process.
There are many outside factors that may impact your prospective student’s plans, such as parenting a K-12 student who is doing online only education or limited/restricted access to agencies for financial aid, licensure, or externships.
If you find that your institution is not responding as quickly as it should and want to see what new options are available to you, we’d love to talk with you. MDT Marketing specializes in higher education marketing and can show you innovative and responsive strategies to increase enrollments and decrease CPL. Contact us today.