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5 Marketing Strategies to Increase Enrollment (without blowing the budget)

The competition for higher education students has potentially never been harder than it is today. Since 2017, postsecondary enrollment in the US has fallen by 9%. Worse yet, it doesn’t look like this trend is set to change any time soon. 

To tackle this competitive landscape, colleges and universities can’t rely on their current strategies to attract students. They must start looking at new marketing strategies to increase enrollment, adopting the latest technologies and better understanding what today’s students really want. 

This blog will explore five marketing strategies to increase enrollment that are cost-effective, proven, and easy to adopt.  

1. Appeal to family members 

The first of these five marketing strategies to increase enrollment is simple, but highly important – winning the support of family members. When a student is choosing which school to attend, family members can wield a significant influence in the decision-making process. 

With this in mind, it’s important that a school’s marketing and messaging appeals to what matters to these stakeholders, as well as what matters to the prospective student. Here are just some ways to do this: 

  • Emphasize the institution’s reputation: Highlight the college’s prestigious rankings, notable alumni, and academic achievements. This information can help to reassure the family members about the quality of the school, as well as demonstrate the college’s ability to provide a strong foundation for their child’s future. 
  • Highlight campus safety & inclusion: Showcase security measures, campus infrastructure, and the overall safety record of the college to address any concerns that the family members may have. Also make sure to mention available student support, advising, and counseling services to demonstrate the college’s supportive environment. 
  • Offer campus visits and tours: Invite family members to visit the campus, take part in information sessions, and meet with faculty, administrators, and current students. This first-hand, in-person experience can really help to create connections. 
  • Highlight financial aid and scholarship support: Make sure to provide transparent and clear information about financial aid options, scholarships, and merit-based support – more on this in the next point. 

2. Emphasize financial support 

Many students, as well as their family members, are often worried about the cost of tuition, textbooks, housing, living expenses, and the overall burden of student loans. In fact, in the UK, 52% of students have thought about dropping out due to money worries. Across the pond, 70% of students said that financial circumstances played an important role in their decision to pursue a college education. 

With finance playing such an important role in deciding what college to attend – and whether to attend at all – colleges should include financial aid options within their enrollment marketing. Highlight scholarships, grants, and other need-based financial support options as much as possible. 

3. Improve support speed & convenience 

In our higher education student survey, we found that 59% of students are less likely to engage with a potential school if they have to wait more than 30 minutes for a response to their query. To provide this speed of support, colleges must adopt students’ top ranked channel – live chat.  

The real-time nature of live chat ensures students can receive instant support. It also provides them with an exceptionally convenient method of communication, allowing them to easily reach out via the website, and even multitask as they receive support. This directly helps colleges to connect with more prospective students, lowering the barrier to engagement and strengthening the connection between prospective student and school. Add chatbots into the mix, and students can receive even faster support at any time of the day. 

4. Adopt SMS  

Often overlooked among marketing strategies to increase enrollment, SMS is an incredibly effective way to connect with prospective students, as well as reduce summer melt.  

Today’s students are inundated with information, so even getting the smallest slice of their attention is no easy feat. While many colleges rely on advertising, SMS is a far more effective and cheaper strategy. Through Comm100 Outreach, admissions departments can send bulk and personalized SMS messages to prospective students to deliver their marketing messages, provide helpful information, send reminders about open days, and so much more. 

5. Prioritize mobile optimization & accessibility  

Mobile devices account for 58% of all organic search engine visits. Among Gen Z, the typical student age, this stat climbs even higher. In this increasingly mobile-centric world, schools must not just improve, but prioritize, their mobile accessibility to reach and engage with prospective students. This can be achieved in a number of ways including: 

  • Mobile-friendly website design 
  • Streamlined application process for ease-of-use on mobile screens. 
  • Mobile-centric content for greater readability 
  • Mobile advertising and social media 

To find out even more marketing strategies to increase enrollment, take a look at our complete guide below for more ideas, inspiration, and examples. 

Higher Ed Admissions – Strategies for Increasing Student Enrollment

Higher Ed Admissions – Strategies for Increasing Student Enrollment

Deep even deeper into strategies that will help your school attract more students, reduce summer melt, and increase engagement.

Read on
Kate Rogerson

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Manager at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.