This page was last updated on April 10, 2023.
No matter what type of school you are – a university, college, grad school, trade school, etc. – we know there might be times when enrollment is down and you are left scratching your head on how to improve it.
This is where enrollment marketing comes in!
As a marketing agency that has helped a wide variety of higher education institutions over the years boost their enrollment rates, we believe that these six strategies can help your school get more applications and, ultimately, enrolled students.
What Is Enrollment Marketing?
Developed as an outreach strategy for colleges and universities, enrollment marketing consists of seeking out and attracting potential students to enroll in various higher education programs, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and other more specialized programs.
How Digital Marketing Plays a Role in Enrollment Marketing
Enrollment marketing needs to target and reach prospective students on a granular level. With the rise of digital media and its consumption on a daily basis, it is important that universities are staying up to date with these trends and tailoring their content to appeal to the general college student demographic. This can be accomplished through a diverse array of digital marketing, SEO, and social media tactics.
Why Enrollment Marketing Is Essential for Admissions
As you no doubt are aware, the competition for university enrollment is intense. And if you’re marketing programs that are 100% online, you could be competing with schools on a national level, which only increases the importance of running a robust digital marketing campaign.
Your school needs to do everything it can to put itself in front of the right audience of prospective students, and it can start with any of the following strategies:
1. Optimize Your Individual Program Pages
If you want individual program pages to show up better in search results, it’s vital to write content that caters to how prospective students are searching.
Approaching the content of your school’s program pages with a mindset for search engine optimization will allow search engines to better rank your content for a wide variety of relevant keywords that can drive better-qualified traffic to these deeper pages on your site.
Analyze the current keyword positions for your program pages, and see what opportunities there are to utilize more keywords in the:
- Headers (H1 and H2)
- Main body copy
- Meta title and description
- Image alt and title tags
Put yourself in a student’s shoes and search for your programs just like they would to see what competitors are doing to rank above you. Analyzing these other program pages might just give you the blueprint for what to do on your own site.
2. Check Your Local Presence
For any of your in-person programs, local search plays an important part in how prospective students find your site. By capitalizing on this local intent, you can capture more of a presence in the region surrounding any of your campus locations.
Local SEO is a set of strategies that further help schools reach out to potential students in a particular area. This helps a university gain brand awareness within its community, ultimately leading to more students inquiring about programs and the admission process.
If your school draws in local students, you may want to consider optimizing (or creating) location-specific pages on your site that can target localized terms on their own. This is especially true if your school has multiple campus locations, as 98% of searchers used the internet to find more information regarding local businesses in 2022.
To appeal to consumers researching their information online, some quick local SEO strategies we recommend include the following:
- Claim, update, and optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP) if applicable
- Participate in local link building, such as reaching out to local news sources, publications, directories, or community platforms
- Create local landing pages for all of your locations and target cities/regions
Ultimately, local SEO will help your college build a strong foundation, making it even easier to attract potential students to your school’s programs.
3. Search for Missed Link Opportunities
Over the years, your school has likely been mentioned in many places online. Whether it’s in the form of news articles, directories, mentions of alumni, and more, you could be missing out on high-quality backlinks that could make a huge SEO difference for your site.
And for enrollment marketing, having a site with a strong backlink profile can be crucial. Try looking for these unlinked mentions across the web and reaching out to those websites to see if they can add a link back to your site (or, even better, specific department or program page).
4. Optimize Your Website for Usability
Potential students must be able to easily navigate your website to generate the leads you are looking for. For some simple, yet effective technical SEO solutions, here are some things you can do right now to optimize your college or university’s website with user experience in mind:
- Improve site speed – Did you know that websites that load in one second have a conversion rate that is 3x higher as opposed to a website that loads in five seconds?
- Making your website mobile-friendly – With mobile devices taking up approximately 54% of global website traffic, it is important that your website can be accessed and viewed in mobile, desktop, and even tablet environments, as more and more people are accessing their information on the go.
- Incorporating strong calls to action (CTAs) – CTAs are a strong way to let your audience know the intentions of your web pages. To learn more about how to write and format strong CTAs on your website, read our blog post highlighting the ten statistics to know about CTAs in 2023.
- Personalize the experience with chatbots – AI-powered tools like chatbots are a great way to accommodate the needs of potential students. Conveniently for your team as well, chatbots are known to complete around 70% of conversations. This will allow for quick response times and an overall increase in user satisfaction, leaving a good impression on those asking for additional information.
5. Use Your Expertise Wisely
From responding to reporters looking for experts in your industry to pitching your advice to various websites, there are many ways you can use your knowledge for your marketing, too.
Signing up for PR tools such as HARO, Qwoted, and Terkel can all help your name (and school) get more exposure online. And when it comes to pitching articles on other sites, you can decide what sites you want to work with and ensure you are credited for your work.
Not only do these approaches get you more links pointing to your website, but they make great content to share on social media as well.
6. Go After Long-Tail Keywords
We’ve recently written about the various benefits of targeting long-tail (also known as low-volume) keywords and how they can help any type of business cover all their bases in terms of marketing online. And that is no different when it comes to enrollment marketing.
One of the easiest ways you can go after these types of terms is through blog content. Let’s say you are a community college trying to get more applicants for your clinical assistant program. You can create a blog that contains articles going after topics such as:
- Top # Reasons to Become a Clinical Assistant
- What Do Clinical Assistants Do?
- How to Become a Clinical Assistant
- Types of Jobs a Clinical Assistant Degree Can Get
More Tips for Enrollment Marketing
- Website Conversion Tips for Higher Education Marketers
- How to Take Advantage of Digital Marketing for Colleges and Universities
- Top 6 Student Gripes About College Sites
- 5 Social Media Tactics for Higher Education Marketers
Want Help With Your School’s Enrollment Marketing?
If you are looking for a reputable marketing agency to help your school boost its enrollment rates, we’d be happy to help. Reach out to our team to schedule a call to learn more about our experience helping with various enrollment marketing strategies.