GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | December 19th, 2019

How to choose the right digital advertising platforms for your prospects

How to choose the right digital advertising platforms for your prospectsWhen you ask any marketing or admissions team member what their key goals are for the coming year, almost all of them have these two at the top of the list: increase quality/quantity of leads, and increase enrollment. And many will follow up with the statement that they will be relying more heavily on digital advertising to help them reach these goals.

Although it may seem tempting to jump head-first into posting on Instagram, or creating a YouTube channel for all of the videos you are going to develop, it’s important to consider a few things before starting down this path. The strongest digital strategies involve communicating with your prospects where and when they want to be reached – this gives you a better chance of getting them to act. Here are 4 key decision points to help you select the right digital advertising platforms to connect with your prospects.

What is your strategy?

When you are considering where you spend your marketing resources for the coming year, take a step back and evaluate your school’s marketing strategy. Maybe you are responsible for building it, or you are executing tactics in alignment with it. Either way, knowing what you’re trying to accomplish can really help you determine what type of platforms to choose.

  • Brand awareness – If you’re building a new brand, refreshing an existing brand, or working to establish top-of-mind awareness with a new or current audience, you may want to consider using tried and true platforms with large followings, like Facebook, that have a track record of providing a high number of impressions. Also, display advertising can be critical for extending your reach as far as possible.
  • Lead generation – If your brand is established and you are looking to generate more (or higher quality) leads, a B2B platform like LinkedIn can serve you well with either paid ads, or posting content through groups or conversations. It’s also great for event registrations since many professionals who are active in their careers are checking this platform daily. You can also run very specific targeting campaigns with Google Ads which also gives you the ability to ramp up or scale back at key recruiting times.

What is your target?

When you are thinking about where your prospects are hanging out online, it’s important to consider:

  • Generation/Career Stage – Although age isn’t the only factor, it is extremely important for online habits. If your prospects are 30 and under, you may consider Snapchat or Instagram. LinkedIn and Facebook may be your best bet for the 30-45 set. For 45-60+, Twitter or LinkedIn are solid choices because they also deliver news content. For all ranges, targeted Google Ads campaigns can be successful.
  • Gender – Although the platforms may not change as much, the content you use can be tailored easily to men or women and can make a huge difference in interaction when paired with the right channels.
  • Geographic Location – With many social media and digital advertising tools, you’ll want to take advantage of geo-targeting or geo-fencing. These strategies let you focus on certain zip codes, cities or states and can give you an advantage over less sophisticated competitors.

An experienced digital firm can help you determine the demographics of your current audience and craft a plan for reaching them.

What is your competition doing?

A competitive analysis is a key piece to developing any strategy, especially in higher ed where the market is much smaller than say, online shopping. When you’re assessing competitor schools, be honest with yourself and make sure you’re compiling a list where your prospects might actually go if they don’t attend your school. It is easy to group your school in with aspirational schools, or schools that are at your same level of quality, but across the country. But, it may be that the private university down the street is actually responsible for taking 20% of your prospects each year…pay attention to the shifting landscape.

When you’ve narrowed in on a set of realistic competitors, start following them on social media, signing up for their emails and monitoring their activity on YouTube. To keep the data from getting overwhelming, try writing down the top 2-3 findings per week about each school. This can help you determine what your prospects are seeing and how you play in the same arena and begin to differentiate your school.

What about content?

We all know that “content is king.” Without the right content, any strategy will fall flat when it comes to generating the kind of attention you want. And low-quality content can have a negative effect if it’s not executed properly. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding on what content to create:

  • Does your team have the ability to create well?
  • What kind of content do you have that you can repurpose
  • What kind of content does your chosen platform support?
  • How can you align your resources to create good content for your chosen platforms?
  • If you can’t generate the content your chosen platform requires, could you reconsider your approach?

If you need more ideas on how to select the right #digitaladvertising channels for your target audience and personalize #communication and content for your prospects, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to fit within your strategy and budget.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | December 11th, 2019

Break through the digital clutter with personal messages

Personal email messagesDid you know that the average working adult receives 121 emails per day? But the average click through rate is 3.1%* — meaning that people tend to only read through and take action on about 2-3 emails per day. Not to mention, many are only viewing those emails on a 2-3″ wide phone screen. So, in a world where spam is dominant and your leads are prioritizing what they choose to read, it’s your job to differentiate your communications with personalized email. And if you are an educational institution, it’s likely you are not just competing with spam/work/personal messages, but also other colleges or universities your prospects are exploring.

Just because a prospect requests more information from your school, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to open and respond to all of your emails, calls or texts. Let’s examine what makes communications appealing and how to disrupt the system with personalized content.

It all starts with what you capture

As part of your website and digital marketing strategy, you may already be using a form (or many forms) to capture leads. The information you gather here is often your first and only opportunity to gather relevant information from you leads.

Short forms, which are typically used as a means to quickly capture info on a landing page or social campaign, often have 3-4 fields: first name, last name, email and sometimes phone number. Although brevity wins in digital campaigns, you may consider adding one more field that is aimed at a personal preference such as: field of work or years of experience. This additional field doesn’t have to be required and may appear as a dropdown menu. But having it there can increase your chances of gaining more personal information you can then use to personalize communications.

Longer forms that may live on your site offer you more room to ask your leads about what matters most to them. Here you can often find out their career goals, anticipated start year and why they are pursuing an advanced degree. The data you mine here is “gold.” It will allow you to create and segment emails that match up to the personas you’re using to generate content. We’ve found that layered forms perform best, and lead to the most information being shared by prospective students.

Email Disruption

As your leads move down the funnel and turn into prospective students, they are looking for more and more information about how your program fits them. They are also looking for a lifestyle “match” and want to know that you care about them as a person. Although automated email campaigns simplify and streamline communications, sometimes you can run the risk of sounding impersonal. Here are some ways to tailor your emails, even as part of an automated strategy.

  • Use personalized subject lines. Many CRMs offer the ability to start email subject lines with the lead’s first name, i.e. “John, join us at Preview Day this weekend.”
  • Use a real name as the sender. Even if you are sending automated emails, try varying the sender when you are loading the campaign into your CRM. Instead of always listing the sender as your school/program, try using the name of your recruiting director or admissions counselor.
  • Send an actual personal email. Although arduous, using a personal email to check in at various stages can make a difference. Try checking in just before you’ll be traveling to their city, or right after you met them at an admissions event. This works well with prospects that are further down the funnel.

Personal messages via Calls or texts

If you have phone numbers, try calling a handful of your most promising leads right before your next on-campus Preview Day. Even if you are just leaving a message, or the call comes from one of your staff members, a real person’s voice on the other end will cut through the clutter.

Although texts are becoming a preferred method of communication for some, the one caveat is to make sure the texts don’t come across as spam or salesy. People can tell the difference and they may opt out if they sense it’s not authentic.

If you need more ideas on how to personalize communications for your leads and prospective students, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop intriguing content that fits within your strategy and budget.

(*Source: LifeWire)


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For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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