The last few weeks before a start can be nerve-wracking times. I've been there. Will you hit your goal? Will students drop at the last minute? In marketing and enrollment, margins can be tight, but it’s never too late to pick up a few students.
You may not have enough time to get a new prospect through the entire funnel before the application deadline, but there are likely a handful of undecided students in your pipeline that can be reached using digital marketing, without spending much money.
I’ll show you three techniques that are affordable, easy to set up, and aimed at getting more conversions from your existing website traffic and the prospects in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. In the final 8-10 weeks before an undergraduate start, or the 2-4 weeks before a graduate start, your existing traffic and dormant prospects are the best place to focus your marketing efforts for those last few students.
These digital techniques can generate last-minute interest, but should really be a part of your ongoing higher ed digital marketing strategy:
1. Establish remarketing for your website visitors
Remarketing allows you to serve ads to prospects who visited your site, but didn’t convert.
It is cheap, allows you to speak to an audience familiar with your brand, and you can do it pretty much everywhere that your prospective student goes across the web and social media.
Here is how to up your remarketing game:
Make sure you are remarketing your website visitors on every social media channel that offers it.
Don’t retarget everyone who visits your site - save ad impressions and money by only remarketing to those that visit specific URLs like program and cost pages.
Serve your prospects ads featuring what they are interested in. For example, you can show ads featuring your digital marketing degree to prospects who visited your digital marketing degree page.
Want to target only your most interested prospects? You can serve ads to people who have visited a certain program page multiple times, but have not completed a form. These prospects are obviously very engaged with your brand or major, and might just need a little push to act.
Communicate value in your ads. One reason that prospects do not convert is because they are not sold on how your degree can help them. Use your remarketing ads to communicate how you solve their pain points.
When looking to impact an upcoming start, build urgency in your ads by using deadlines or incentives.
2. Target existing unconverted leads and inquiries
The majority of the prospects in your CRM will never convert. But do not throw those inquiries, leads, and incomplete applications away; retarget them.
If you have an email address for a prospect, you can ensure that when they are on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram, they will see your ads.
You theoretically have a lot more information on these prospects than you do for website visitors, so make your ads as specific as possible. For example, if you have a list of prospects who are interested in a specific major, you can show them ads for that major. If they have indicated an interest in playing a collegiate sport, show them photos of your sports team, facilities, or fans.
Create an ad set for prospects who started an application, but did not finish it. The ad can let them know their application is almost complete, and encourage them to finish it. You can also create similar ads and messages for:
Leads that have not started an application
Applicants who finished their application, but have gone unresponsive
3. Geofence feeder and transfer schools
Google AdWords allows you to target and show ads only in a specific location, referred to as geofencing; like a well-known feeder school or a community college where students commonly transfer from. You can also geofence through apps like Snapchat and Instagram.
This can allow you to target procrastinating high school seniors, and develop a strategy for growing your transfer population.
Geofencing is easy to establish and very affordable. As a bonus, you can use AdWords to serve ads to users who may not be in your geofenced area, but have shown interest in that area. For example, when you geofence around local community college campuses and show users ads highlighting how easy it is to transfer to your institution, you can also show ads to people who are not on local community college campuses, but who have searched them before.
Geofencing is not as efficient as the other techniques we mentioned. However, less than a quarter of surveyed marketers are using hyper-local strategies to their fullest potential, translating to low competition for higher ed marketers who use this method.
Plans change. Life happens. There are plenty of unique reasons that cause prospects to make last-minute decisions regarding their education. When they do, the techniques above will help you be in the right position to help them enroll.
Here at Little Foxes Marketing, we manages these and similar strategies on behalf of our higher ed partners. Interested in learning more? Fill out the form below and we will contact you.