When many of us graduated from high school 20-25 years ago, universities would send campus reps to area high schools to recruit students. We would hear from student leaders, counselors and admission representatives regarding the many reasons why a particular school was the better choice for obtaining a degree. Times have changed and so have the methods used to entice students to attend certain universities. Many universities are now turning to college marketing and enrollment services to help them meet their enrollment goals.
Why the change? The answer is technology. While a personal testimony from the mouth of a currently enrolled student or alumni may carry some weight, companies who offer college marketing and enrollment services can reach a greater amount of potential students in a much shorter time. Through the use of technology, concentrated marketing and the Internet, these companies can help target specific student demographics and direct traffic to college websites more quickly than ever before. Ultimately, this equates to a savings of both time and money for the university who is seeking to expand its student base.
What kinds of solutions do college marketing and enrollment services offer their clients? Their job is to create marketing strategies that will garner attention from college bound students and parents. These marketing techniques will vary from college to college, depending on what type of student each individual university is attempting to attract. Quality college marketing and enrollment services will tailor their services to meet a school’s recruitment budget, and then employ a myriad of methods to promote the university, such as multi-media campaigns that include printed materials like brochures and magazines, interactive CDs/DVDs and online presentations. They may also generate leads by using e-mail marketing campaigns that target a specific clientele, like potential MBA candidates. Search engine marketing, which uses search engine optimization to drive internet users to college websites is a very important tool put in place by most of these services, since most college bound students are extremely computer savvy and do a great portion of their continuing education research via the internet.
Many college marketing and enrollment services work with universities by enhancing the school’s website to include interactive features such as blogs, social networking, virtual advisors, student web portals and group chat options. By providing a more complete website, colleges increase the number of serious inquiries for enrollment because potential students are having more fulfilling experiences looking for answers and information online. These types of online marketing campaigns free up valuable resources that would otherwise be spent on printing and postage. It also allows enrollment and recruiting staff the freedom to focus their efforts on areas such as highly specialized recruiting that may need to be more personal in nature.
Follow-up service is a crucial part of any campaign that college marketing and enrollment services should offer. Without lead management, reporting and web diagnostics, the marketing campaign would be incomplete and a waste of valuable resources. Universities need to be able to track results to determine which aspects of the campaign work and which parts need to be readdressed; so that every effort is being made in recruitment produces maximum results. By using technology to create proprietary systems, many college marketing and enrollment services are able to customize lead management and reporting programs to fit each school’s needs. This customized analysis of the school’s marketing campaign saves the university staff both time and money by identifying clear areas of success. That information is valuable when determining how to appropriate budgeting and staff as the recruitment efforts go forward.
With the recent lag in the economy, many state governments are faced with having to cut education budgets due to deficits. Many universities are looking at serious budget cuts and need to maximize the results of every recruitment dollar spent. Any university looking to increase it’s exposure and communication efforts with potential and returning students needs to seriously consider working with college marketing and enrollment services. These services will help universities project their unique environment, curriculum and programs to the largest possible audience, in the most cost-effective way, to ensure strong enrollment. Sounds like money well spent.