It’s the classic admissions office paradox: you need to increase your enrollment numbers or reshape your talent pool, but have to do so with the same – or smaller – budget. This is, of course, an overwhelming challenge. Many traditional recruitment methods make this nearly impossible, with the cost of direct mail campaigns and personnel to make phone calls. Luckily, there are some resources that can help you achieve this lofty goal. With more channels of communication between college and university personnel and prospective students, you can create a strategy for success. In this blog post, we’ll share some of the ways to do so.
Get maximum mileage out of existing content
When creating content of any kind, it is tempting to show off your recent accomplishments. But, think critically about the content you’re creating. If you’re producing expensive videos, it may be a good idea to leave out your football national championship from last year. But maybe the correct place to put it is in a direct mail document that you only plan to send to a certain number of students. The longevity of this content will help to stretch your budget, with limited content creation each year.
There are already certain tactics you use in your recruitment strategy, so hold a brainstorming session to come up with ways to put a new spin on an old process. Maybe your direct mail campaign needs a new spin to make it more fun, or perhaps you need to do some A/B testing with your email subject lines to get your prospective students opening your emails. Taking some time to refresh your existing practices may be the extra push you need without doing a complete strategy overhaul.
Utilize social media effectively
Its 2015: if you’re not already using social media, you are missing out on a large opportunity. Assuming that you already have some form of social media presence, make sure that you are following industry best-practices. For example, using images in your social media posts is vital: 87% of shared posts on Facebook were photos, and including an image with a tweet was found to boost retweets by 35%, according to Social Media Examiner. This, and other best practices help you to reach your audience on a platform which they already spend a great deal of time using.
Look for free or inexpensive stock imagery
If you don’t have the budget for new images to use with your social media posts, there are numerous resources and websites that have stock imagery for free or for minimal cost. Websites like Life of Pix, StockSnap.io, and Gratisography are all free sites, while sites like Dollar Photo Club and Pond5 are websites with inexpensive stock images. Don’t let a lack of high quality images hold you back from a great social media strategy.
Publish blogs regularly
Blogs are an easy way to publish content regularly without needing a full graphic design team or professional copywriters. Blog authors can be your admissions counselors, professors that write about some of the courses they teach that freshman students may be taking, or even current students sharing their experience. And the best part is that with a blog, you are still in control of the content that is ultimately published and the topics of discussion. Blog posts are also easy to share on social media, or in emails to specific prospective students to help create a personal connection.
We know how difficult it can be to increase results with fewer resources, but luckily there is a trove of resources out there to help. Starting by refreshing your existing content or practices is a great first step in stretching your budget, and some simple edits may be enough to bring your recruitment efforts from good to great.