Making the Most of Your Search Campaign

Your search campaign is one of the most important tools in planning for recruiting and increasing enrollment for your institution.  A successful search campaign will broaden the pool of qualified applicants and drive students to your campus.  But where do you begin? Which practices yield the best results?

We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to make the most of your search campaign.

1. Know Your Audience

A good search campaign starts with an understanding of who you’re trying to reach.  Start with a solid foundation of market research to bring clarity and focus to your search.  Knowing which students are most likely to apply will concentrate your efforts. Don’t forget to use your enrollment history!

2. Know Yourself

What sets you apart from the rest? Identify your distinctive qualities and develop a message that highlights those strengths when speaking to prospective students.

3. Meet Them Where They Are

Engage your audience where they live and how they live.  Gen Z is actively engaged on social media which means you should be too. Don’t forget to get social with them. Share their excitement about acceptance and fun opportunities for current students.

4. Don’t Forget the Parents

Parents are more involved than ever before, as they may be footing the bill for your student.  Appeal to them in your communications, using their preferred methods.

5. Have a Plan

Gen Z has been marketed to their whole lives. They want to understand who you are as an institution. Tell your story in an inviting and organized way. Each of your communication methods should build the overall picture for the student and give clear and concise calls to action to take the next step.

6. Spice It Up

The same publications year in and year out gets old and becomes ineffective.  Revamp your image using a suite of pubs that speak to your audience. Don’t just stop at travel pieces either, think about the big picture, yield. Do you have a fun acceptance package or enticing communication beyond the initial inquiry and application stages? If not, let us help.

7. Let Your Data Do the Talking

Use a CRM or campaign reporting tool to measure your reach and guide your efforts. Conduct surveys, focus groups and interviews to gain insights of the effectiveness of your campaigns.

8. Create Urgency

Push out countdown messaging to inform and create a sense of hurry in your audience to drive them forward in the enrollment process.  Clearly define your timeline and any key deadlines that are coming up.

9. Don’t Let Your Website Fall Short

You have your communication flow, you have your identified audience, you’re driving them to enroll through targeted, strategic communications.  When they’re ready to bite, ensure that your website is an extension of your campaign.  If it’s not cohesive, if it doesn’t tell the same message, you’ll stop them in their tracks.

10. Partner with a Search Expert

Obviously search goes beyond purchasing names and sending correspondence. A successful search campaign hinges on creating a story and experience the students (and families) are excited to participate in.  This may seem daunting. Collaborate with a trusted search and marketing firm to take the stress from your team, and resolve to hit your enrollment goals this year.

TWG Plus is marketing firm that specializes in Higher Education. The five main umbrellas of services we offer are: search, publications, research, branding, and digital marketing. Contact us for more information. We can’t wait to help you grow your enrollment funnel!

Storytelling Through Comm Flow

Imagine this: You’re a student standing at a college fair. You likely have some direction, some idea that has caught your attention and an answer just in case the admission counselor asks what you want to study. You approach another table still unsure of what questions to ask or what you need to know about this school.

Suddenly, the admission counselor with a warm smile sticks their hand out, asks how you’re doing and begins a conversation that is casual and engaging. Before you know it, they’ve uncovered the perfect fit by asking the right questions that helped get to know you. It’s perfect. You’re sold. This is the school for you!

But, what if that hadn’t happened? What if, instead, you approached the table and the first question they asked is “Do you have any questions?” You’re pulse quickens, your throat tightens, you feel embarrassed that you don’t know what to ask right on the spot! So you grab some information, walk away, and gradually drop the information elsewhere before heading home feeling like the night was a bust.

Communication. It’s potentially one of the most underrated and underutilized skills. It has the potential to build people up and strengthen a relationship, or leave someone wondering why they even tried.

Have you considered that your admission strategy may be leaving students behind? Every good story has a beginning (inquiry) and an end (enrollment), but no good story only has those two points. Every truly notable story has a middle- that’s the best part! It’s where you discover the depth of the characters, where you get immersed in the story and can’t wait to discover what it’ll be like at the end. With an intriguing middle, you’re sad when the end comes because you just want a little bit more. It’s all about the middle.

What if your communication flow as an institution held the attention of your target audience that way? What if it left students wanting to know more, excited to be a part of the story at your institution?

Too good to be true? No! Not at all. As a matter of fact, it should be the norm!

The middle of your admission funnel should be the best part. It’s where they’re discovering who you are, where they belong in the story, and the anticipation that awaits when they get on campus and get to continue building their legacy as a part of that story.

A solid communication flow reaches beyond catchy emails and a stellar student call center. Rather, it:

  • Builds – it extends year-round and starts as early as their freshman year. It encompasses yield initiatives and multiple channels of communication. Each piece builds upon another to continue telling the story. Don’t forget you can use current students to build on that story too! Strong calls to action play a crucial role in a successfully building initiative, however, don’t forget to be social and engaging too – especially on social media.
  • Is personalized – this doesn’t mean you should make each outreach method completely individualized, but you do want to make it feel personal, special to them. You can also use your budget wisely by establishing which students are most likely to enroll and spending more of your time and resources focused on them.
  • Excites – A term we like to use is “Acceptance Euphoria.” Don’t just let it be an exciting moment for them – celebrate with them! Use their excitement as an organic means of drumming up excitement with other students. Allow them to be your advocate and encourage their excitement – this is a thrilling moment within their own personal stories.

The best part of a communication flow is that it includes your student in telling an incredible story. Play around! Let your team come up with a strategy that works for your institution and conveys who you are in a fun and engaging way. But if along the way you find it feels daunting instead of exciting, TWG Plus is here to help!

And they all lived happily ever after, or so the story goes.