1) Create a great first impression
First impressions matter, especially in the competitive world of higher education. But what does the first touchpoint for a prospect look like at your school? If they go on your website, is it clear and well-designed? Can they find the information they need quickly and easily?
If they meet your team at a high school fair, do you have your best people there to meet them? How do you capture their data – is it using pen and paper or is it a completely digital process? And afterwards, how quickly do you send your follow-up communications to students?
This is a generation that has high expectations. If you can’t meet those expectations as well as your competitors, prospects may be at risk of having their heads turned by other schools, and disengaging.
It’s worth evaluating what those first touchpoints look like for prospective students at your school. Is there anything you can do to enhance the experience and make it even more user-friendly?
2) Tell your story
Sharing the story of your school plays a hugely important part in any recruitment strategy. It’s not just about rankings and awards. While these things are all important, of course, it’s about creating that emotional hook. It’s about bringing to life the kind of experience students can have and enabling them to picture themselves at your school.
One of the most important rules of storytelling is to show, not tell. It’s important that you bring to life what studying at your university looks like. What is the first week at school usually like? How are the dorms? What kind of careers can you go into after graduating? What is it like to live in the city – where are the best bars and restaurants and cafes?
This is where your student ambassadors can really play a role. According to research, 92% of consumers trust online content from peers more than any other form of brand messaging. Collaborate with your student ambassadors to create personal, fun, and informative content that will build trust and enhance your conversions.
3) Use the platforms students are using
Meeting students where they are on the platforms they’re using really is a crucial component of any student recruitment strategy. You may have the best system in the world, but if it’s not one that prospective students use then it’s not going to deliver for you. It’s not realistic to expect them to adapt, instead, you have to adapt! Here’s why…
You want to create as low-friction an experience for prospects as possible. However, when you ask students to sign up to a platform that they don’t use, that’s a little bit of friction. When you ask them to download an app they don’t have, that’s another friction. Unfortunately, too many of these micro-blockers may lead to them checking out and disengaging.
Why not check out our case study with Sam Houston State University? They swapped out a platform with low adoption for text messaging – and saw much higher engagement! Not only that, but they can also now make sure that their on-the-day communications are read by attendees!