With tuition prices rising and income levels staying static for a number of families, more households are beginning to look at college as a luxury again instead of an expectation. For your college to be able to stay competitive, you’ll need to be able to market your specific strengths that make you great. What is is that makes you different? What can you give a student that will provide them with a competitive edge with a future employer? Your answers to these questions are what will become the foundation of your marketing plan.
It also begins with providing students with a relevant education that will meet their needs in an ongoing way. You won’t be able to effectively market any of these ideas without being able to provide a realistic value in the end. You can talk all you want, but if you aren’t also walking your talk as an educational provider, students will look elsewhere to have their needs met.
Best College Marketing Ideas
1. Use Press Releases Effectively
Even if your college doesn’t have a national presence, you have over 1,500 opportunities to get free press by having a quality press release about the successes that your college sees. Although you can’t construct a personalized PR for 1,500 different publications, you can create a generalized press release that a media outlet can immediately publish if they have some filler space and that free press could mean more applications.
2. Email Is a Good Thing
Email marketing is more than just finding profitability. Email is also a great way to show off the value that comes with a quality education from your college! You can provide links to class updates, sporting events, or successes that alumni from your institution have experienced. This will create more of a community atmosphere, encourage higher levels of involvement, and boost your reputation.
3. Alumni Aren’t Just a Money Resource
If you’re trying to raise funds, then challenge yourself by approaching your alumni last instead of first. Look to your community for assistance in the things you may need, such as scholarship opportunities. You might just find a business willing to donate a $1,000 every year for a scholarship as long as they can put their name on the award.
4. Posters Are Always Effective
Recruiting posters in schools, employment locations, and other high traffic areas are effective because they encourage people to research more about your school. Make the advertising attractive by using bold colors, easy to read fonts, and graphics that make people want to look at what you’re advertising.
5. Be Strong On Social Media
When you can engage with people in an immediate way, you’re setting the stage for more applications because immediate responses indicate that you care about the people who are trying to interact with you. Although the sheer amount of interaction may sometimes be overwhelming, you’ll generate a lot of interest in your college by offering fast responses to online questions and comments.
6. Don’t Just Offer Degree Programs
Today’s employers are looking for skill sets just as much as they are looking for the prestige of a degree. You’ll attract higher rates of enrollment by offering certification programs in certain vocational fields because that’s what some specific students are going to need to advance their career. Take a look at your community, talk with local employers to see what they’d like to have you provide, and then do your best to provide that.
7. Get To Fairs, Shows, And Events
Many communities offer college recruitment fairs that will give you extra exposure to regional students. Make sure you’ve got plenty of information on hand to help you provide the best case possible about why your school is awesome! This is the first impression many people will have regarding the fine details of your student programming – make it count.
8. Create Your Own Newsrack
You don’t need to have a college newspaper to put promotional materials out where people access the news. Get permission to install your own newsracks, brochure stations, and other types of shelving units where people can make their own choices as to whether or not they want to take a look at your marketing materials.
9. Offer Online Chat
How accessible are your staff through your primary website? If you offer prospective students and families the chance to directly interact through live chat features that are installed on your primary pages, you’ll give them the opportunity to have specific questions answered they may not be covered by your generalized FAQ pages.
10. Hire Your Own Street Team
If you’re willing to have ambassadors talk about your college when prospective students are on-campus, then why not have street teams talk about your college off-campus as well? You don’t have to be aggressive with your marketing and force people to talk with you. Even visual cues of your college logos and branding are enough to establish a seed of curiosity in a potential student.
11. Utilize QR Codes
QR codes on all of your promotional materials will help students access specific data they may need to help them make a final decision. You can use these codes in a wide variety of ways, from instant website access to video testimonials to phone calls to your admissions department.
12. Target the Hot Spots
Your marketing materials need to be where your potential students are right now. Target the local hangouts and hot spots to get your marketing materials before curious eyes. Whether it’s a coffee shop, a pizzeria, or next to the local fountain that is downtown, you’ll get people thinking about the classes your college can provide when they see your marketing materials present.
13. Your Mascot Is Gold
The mascot of your college is one of your greatest resources. Have it out at community events, at the county fair, at trade shows – literally anywhere that you might be able to recruit students. You’ll engage people in a fun way, it isn’t pushy, and your involvement might just be the deciding factor that someone needs to decide to enroll right now.