In education marketing, we are currently faced with the unique challenge of recruiting students for a fall semester with a lot of question marks. Undergrads and adult learners are uncertain what next steps to take as the fall semester gets closer. What fall enrollment strategies can enrollment marketers enlist to close the fall enrollment gap in 2020?
Focus first on your current students and students already enrolled
As enrollment marketers, it’s natural for one of your first fall enrollment strategies to be focusing on recruiting the next prospective student. But right now in education marketing, it’s very important to ensure that enrolled students will stay enrolled despite uncertainty. According to the New York Times, many students are considering a gap semester or even year due to concerns about how their learning environment, campus life, tuition reimbursement, and more will be affected in the fall. In times like these, there’s no such thing as too much communication. Adjust your marketing campaigns to focus on providing accurate information to enrolled students and solving problems as they arise.
Invest in your online learning programs
Your online learning programs will provide a buoy in the midst of uncertainty. Your undergrads and adult learners are eager to start their education, but they want to know that it will be worth it for them.
And if you have already spent time investing in your higher education distance learning programs, now is the time to collect student testimonials that speak to their effectiveness. Using tools like Zoom for testimonials can help create authentic testimonials from current students and alumni.
Communicate quickly and empathetically with your prospective students
Students and parents are at a loss for how to navigate an uncertain fall semester. They feel off-balance. High school seniors are eager to get started with their college careers, but they’re unsure if enrolling now will be worth it. Adult learners have busy lives, clear goals, and are unsure if pursuing higher education is worth the investment amidst uncertainty. Focus on communicating quickly and clearly, answering questions, and reassuring your future students by passing on information and updates as you get them.
And communicate simply
When people are stressed, they have a limited ability to process complex information. So, as one of your fall enrollment strategies, don’t overdo it on big words, complicated explanations, or vague ideas. Use simple language that everyone can understand, and be transparent about how much you know. Undergrads and adult learners are trying to make challenging decisions with a lot of moving parts right now and it’s your job to make that easier for them. Transparency builds trust, and your prospective students would like nothing more than to simply trust you and your institution.
Project an optimistic future
Everyone is looking forward to the time when life will return to normal (or, a new normal). So while fall remains uncertain, remind your students of what life normally looks like on your campus. As a part of your marketing plan, post pictures and videos of campus life and encourage user generated content from students and alumni. Give your potential students a glimpse at what their life will look like once college and university campus life resumes.
Prospective students want to know what their educational institution can do for them to set them up for success. Both enrollment marketers and students are in a challenging situation with a common challenge: COVID-19. So seek to find common solutions that create win-win scenarios for you and your students, and present solutions. From extended deadlines, to enhanced online learning opportunities, to tuition adjustments for online programs — find solutions that work and seek to move forward together. Students will understand that you’re on their team and your efforts will build trust.
The coronavirus has certainly presented enrollment marketers with their fair share of uncertainty and obstacles, but if marketers can do anything well: it’s pivot. Boost your education marketing efforts and fill your enrollment gap this fall with Thinking Cap Agency. Contact us today to learn more.