The job of marketers and admissions personnel is to create the largest possible funnel of highly qualified, eager, potential students. This funnel will slowly be narrowed down until it becomes the entering class. However, starting with the most potential students increases the odds that you will enroll a full class at the beginning of the year.
The most important thing to get these students to the top of the funnel is by engaging them and keeping school "at the top of the mind." There are several techniques to engage students in this way and enter them into the top of the funnel. As they learn more, some people drop out of the funnel with a few choice applicants remaining at the bottom.
First and foremost, students respond to messages that are targeted to them on their mobile phone. Traditional radio and television are fading in significance while print newspapers and magazines are completely off the radar. Instead, schools can use a number of techniques to move students to the top of the funnel through the mobile phone.
Every college and university should create a free app that can be downloaded onto mobile phones. The app might include a virtual tour, an appointment booking tab with an admissions officer, general information about the school and top career choices. It should be easy to find and be advertised generously both on the site, on partner sites, and on search engines.
Growing the Funnel with Search Ads
Besides using a mobile app, marketers and school administrators must use traditional online marketing to grow their funnel as wide as possible. Adwords is one of the best means to attract attention. This service lets you test various search words to see which keywords generate the most traffic. Over time, marketers can choose the specific keywords that generate the greatest interest with the least amount of money spent through optimization.
Social Media Marketing
Similarly, marketers and admins must engage students on social media. Students today spend several hours per day on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter. If you don't engage them on these platforms, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. Not only are social sites the best place to find students, it is also the area where they are most engaged. All of their friends participate on these sites and they will intently examine each post.
Schools that do a good job providing quality content will quickly see a rapid rise in followers. Schools need to tailor their content to each platform and student body. For example, a school might post a tweet about graduation rates, write a Facebook post about a successful graduate and post an Instagram photo of that student entering their workplace. Each type of post has its own ideal format.
Stages of the Funnel
Throughout the marketing process, the team must be focused on the four stages of the process. These include Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action. Moving through each stage, the student gets closer and closer to enrolling. StudentBridge has helped many schools move students to the bottom of the funnel.
Awareness is the initial touch point when they hear about the school and recognize it as a potential option. This usually occurs on a mobile device. Comprehension is a much deeper dive that the students takes at a laptop or desktop where they truly learn about all the school has to offer them. Conviction includes a specific task such as an email, virtual or physical campus tour. Finally, action is the final step of applying or enrolling.
At each stage, the funnel of the audience gets smaller and smaller. However, it is the job of the administrators to keep these groups as large as possible to get the highest quality, full enrollment. If you are ready to take your higher education marketing to the next level, contact StudentBridge today.