It’s a simple truth that for interested students to enroll in an online degree program, they must first be aware that the program is out there. Marketing is known to improve students’ opinions of the schools they’re interested in attending–but when it comes down to it, how does that impact enrollment rates? When you put together an ad campaign for your online degree program, does it genuinely affect enrollment rates the next year?
The Most Effective Strategies for Recruitment
Both public and private universities have done plenty of research into the ways they can increase enrollment and improve student engagement, and they’re clear about one thing: engaging actively with students is one of the most effective ways to raise enrollment rates. Bringing them to the campus, letting them talk with current students, and otherwise actively engaging with students is the strategy of choice for most recruiters. The reality, however, is that bringing students to campus isn’t a possibility for online universities. These online-based schools must use different tactics to engage with potential students and encourage them to enroll.
Online learning hasn’t just transformed the way students can get their degrees. It’s also changed the way students interact with their preferred colleges and universities. Brochures and mailers are no longer the methods of choice for even brick-and-mortar schools to engage with their interested students; instead, they’re turning to email and other ways. Not only that, online universities need an ad campaign that will help reach out to those learners who are unable to get to campus for whatever reason.
Adult Learners: The Advertising Difference
Most colleges and universities focus on recruiting high school students who will be headed to school in a few short years: the most obvious future students. For online universities, however, the target demographic is a little different. Online universities aren’t geared toward students who have the same opportunities as traditional freshmen. Instead, they’re intended for students who can’t attend school the usual way. Young parents who need to be able to take classes at a more flexible schedule; adults who need to continue to work while they’re in school; individuals who have family responsibilities that prevent them from attending classes on a traditional level.
These adult learners often can’t be found in high school classrooms. Instead, they’re already in jobs, browsing online to learn more about how they can potentially improve their career opportunities. They’re exploring their options, learning more about the online institutions that are out there, and discovering how they can transform their prospects without having to give up their current jobs or let responsibilities fall.
How Ad Campaigns Impact Enrollment Rates
Because most of the students interested in online degree programs can’t be found through traditional means, ad campaigns are a critical part of their marketing strategy. In some cases, it’s possible to double enrollment rates through an effective multi-channel marketing program that is designed to appeal to the online university’s target demographic. Social marketing–including both an active social media page and ads across social media, where interested adult learners are more likely to see them–also has a substantial impact on the number of students who can learn about the university’s online programs and how they can help transform their career opportunities.
Reaching out to individuals who are interested in online learning programs is different from marketing to traditional high school students. Creating the right combination of ads, social media, and lead nurturing helps guide those students through the sales funnel and help them achieve their goals by connecting them with your college or university.