When you're recruiting new students to attend your college, you want to appeal to their demographic. It doesn't do you any good to hype majors that went out of style years ago or to highlight campus features that your current group of students doesn't care about at all. As you're creating your recruiting and marketing information for the coming season, however, make sure you're not missing a critical demographic: marketing to parents.
Why Marketing to Parents Matters
When it comes to the critical college decision, parents are invested in helping their children find the right place to go. They're helping with the research, checking over admissions essays, and working with their kids to choose a college that will be a great fit.
Parents are the ones who help their kids navigate the admissions process, from filling out the application to sending in the check. If you're missing out on the parental element, you're going to discover that it's more difficult to reach students--and that you're missing opportunities to increase your recruiting efforts.
What Appeals to Parents?
If you're marketing to the parents of prospective college students, there are three key markers that will help push them to put your school in front of your child. Keep in mind that your marketing voice should always depend on who you're marketing to--and that includes the parents!
You're their alma mater. Many parents love the idea of their child attending the same school they went to as a child. They envision their child following in their footsteps, enjoying their old campus, and even connecting with some of the people they knew when they were there. Sending marketing materials to graduates of your college or university is a great way to ensure that you're the university most on their mind when they're ready to send their child off to college.
You're close to home. Most parents are looking for schools that keep their precious children in reach--at least close enough that if they want to come home for the weekend, it's not an insane expense. Your recruiting efforts, especially those aimed at parents, should be targeted to students who are within a reasonable geographic area from your institution. Don't forget about the students who are practically in your back yard! Parents may love the idea of cutting expenses by allowing their child to live at home during their first year or two of college.
You offer a program of study that's genuinely interesting to their child. From performing arts schools that are highly focused on creating performers who are able to step out and get a job, to schools that focus on giving future journalists the opportunity they need to make connections and start writing articles, parents are looking for schools where their children will fit, and fit well. They want to know that their student will be well taken care of and that they'll get the tools to enter their future professions with confidence.
Focus on the things that make your school unique: the programs their student can't get anywhere else, the extracurricular activities no one else has, or any other offerings that help set your school apart.
How to Reach Parents
Today's parents are tech-savvy and ready to connect with your college just like their students. They want:
- Email communications (77% of parents check their emails at least weekly), and their kids are already tech-focused.
- Mobile-responsive college websites that will allow them to do their research from wherever they are
- Social media sites where they can interact with current students or learn more about the atmosphere of the college--parents are most likely to be on Facebook, but they're also able to use Twitter and YouTube
- The ability to research a college comprehensively online
By implementing solid online methods, from a great social media platform to email communications, you'll find that your school is able to connect more effectively with students and parents. When it comes to parents, appeal to their emotional side! They're ready to help their children succeed and provide them with the tools they need--and they want to know more about what your college can offer. If you need more help with your marketing process, including retaining interested college students, check out our services today to learn more.