GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | March 26th, 2020

The importance of future work even in a time of unprecedented change

What's Next? Recruiting and enrollment and the importance of future work even in a time of unprecedented changeThinking to the future can be overwhelming at the moment, especially when everything is a big question mark. Although you can’t predict what’s coming next for our country during the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s important to continue work on your recruiting and enrollment plans so you will be positioned for success when everything normalizes. Here are some ways to keep an eye on recruiting and enrollment even though your plans are currently being altered.

Recruiting and enrollment events

Although we are just at the beginning of what the CDC calls “social distancing,” and small gatherings have been restricted, there will come a time where people can come back out of quarantine for in-person events. In the meantime, here are a few ideas to consider for hosting events to fill your upcoming class:

  • Plan a couple of months out and determine whether it’s feasible for you to host in-person events in the summer.
  • Consider hosting online recruiting events using zoom, skype or another online forum.
  • Have an admissions member record a video or podcast from a home office.
  • Host a Q&A conference call.

Students want to hear from you on how you will handle admissions and the start of the next academic year. Although you may not have all the answers, be prepared to address their questions. You need to validate their concerns and instill confidence that you’ll work with them every step of the way.

Be sure to track how these new event types perform and lessons learned on hosting them. Some may be sustainable for the upcoming recruiting year.

Marketing strategy and digital advertising

During these unprecedented times, it’s important to remember planning still needs to be done for the coming year. You still need to fill your class and don’t want to lose the momentum you’ve gained with your marketing strategy. Here are a few tips marketers can follow to plan ahead:

  • Track your paid search and paid social data in terms of cost-per-click and impressions in Google Analytics. Information consumption habits are changing right now, and it may just be a temporary change, but your media strategy and messaging strategy should reflect the current environment.
  • Test and re-test. Now is the right time to try new things and measure the impact. Tough times provide new ways to connect with people.
  • Seek to build trust with current students and prospects through proactive communication and consider the long-term relationship at all costs.

Consider pulling out all the stops to give much needed relief to those who need it.

Email marketing and social media

Email and social continue to be key ways of getting in touch with your prospects so you’ll want to be sure you’re sending relevant, up to date information. If you haven’t already done so, you may want to review all of your automated emails and planned social posts and re-visit your immediate communications plan. Don’t go radio silent by any means, but do be thoughtful about what you send, and what your audience needs to hear from you right now.

Looking ahead to the next recruiting year, you may be able to find time to audit your email communications plan and brainstorm new ways of delivering social content. Have you always wanted to learn how to create simple animations for social or have you been interested in learning how to leverage a new tracking feature in your CRM? Now’s the time to learn so when you scale your communications up again, you can apply new skills and abilities.

Extending deadlines, waiving tests and being flexible

Now is the time for ultimate flexibility. As you are making exceptions to ease the burden on your prospects, think about what you’re willing to sacrifice now and long-term.

  • Deadlines – Extending deadlines to give your prospects assistance is a necessity in the current uncertain times. But also think about how you’ll structure your deadlines for the following year and the impact of these temporary changes.
  • Waiving tests – If your program requires an admissions test for entry, consider admitting students now and letting them take the test later. This will allow you to be flexible but not sacrifice your standard.

Although these changes can be stressful, the best thing you can do is look forward and calm the nerves of your prospects as best as you can by having clear, consistent and accurate messaging.

If you’re searching for other ways to manage the change within your marketing and recruiting organization, reach out to GPRS. We are here to help.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | March 17th, 2020

Lessons learned during a time of forced change

In the wake of the recent global pandemic COVID-19, or coronavirus, colleges and universities everywhere are being forced into change. It’s uncomfortable, unprecedented and seemingly without end as things are developing rapidly. Although no one can predict how the next few weeks or months will unfold and it’s uncertain how this will impact the higher ed industry specifically, here are a few lessons we’ve learned from working with graduate programs during this evolving time.

Keep calm, and carry on – it’s the new mantra

This is more than a phrase that you see on t-shirts and screensavers. It’s a mantra that many across the higher ed industry are adopting right now. With the advent of fully remote teams, classes going online and campuses closing across the globe, it can be easy to slip into the mindset of worry about closing out the semester, recruiting for the next class and losing valuable momentum with your marketing efforts. So how do you ensure you’re prepared for this rapidly changing environment? Take things one day at a time. Although your team may be held accountable for a lot, remember that everyone else is in the same boat.

You are more nimble than you previously thought

If there is anything that can force you into change, it’s an international pandemic that threatens the health of your team, your neighbors and your country. As the CDC is urging people to create social distance because of the coronavirus, many teams have gone fully remote and students have been ushered off campus in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of new cases.

Universities were some of the first organizations to go remote for many reasons. Although social responsibility tops the list, many schools were confident in their ability to go remote because of the technology they already have in place. Students can take advantage of online learning, tools and remote classrooms. And although staff is traditionally in the office to assist students and keep things running smoothly, it may be surprising how efficient people are at working from home, responding to issues and coming up with contingency plans. You may have realized that you’re more nimble than you thought when forced into change and it’s impressive. And for schools who didn’t have as many online resources in place, it’s a great time to learn from your peer schools to prepare for the future of online learning.

Online classes that you’ve pushed for are happening

For the marketers, admissions staff or program managers who have been pushing for online course offerings to position your school more competitively in the market, the day is finally here. Whether you’ve planned for this for two years, or you’re planning for it right now out of necessity, realize great change can often come out of great adversity. Professors and instructors across the globe are being jolted into action by placing their content online, finding ways to connect remotely using technology and thinking differently about course delivery. Although there may be glitches and everyone is figuring it out together, you’ll look back soon and realize that you made great strides that you can continue into the future.

Your students (and prospective students) want to know your plan

At the moment, your personal inbox is being flooded with emails from various companies, letting you know what their plans are for slowing the spread of the coronavirus and ways they’ll modify their business to keep you safe. These emails may be somewhat comforting to you. Your current students and prospects need to hear from you as well. They want to know how they will continue coursework, graduate on time and meet with their teams. Prospects want to know if you’re still planning on starting a new year, how this downtime will affect their application, if preview days will be rescheduled and how to take admissions tests when they’re being cancelled. The most important thing you can do right now during the coronavirus pandemic, even if you don’t have all the answers, is to instill confidence and set expectations.

  • Let students know you are working on a plan and will follow up with them soon.
  • Establish one or two key communicators and consolidate emails and messages.
  • Send updates as you have them with clear direction and action for them to take.
  • Pause existing automated email communication flows so you’re not sending inconsistent messaging.

If you are searching for other ways to manage the change within your marketing, recruiting or online program management, do not hesitate to reach out to GPRS. We are here to help.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | March 11th, 2020

Create a cohesive experience for your prospects – align your online and offline messages

Align your online and offline messagesIn education, you are not just selling a degree – you’re offering an experience, a network, a path to advancement and a sense of accomplishment. So, when connecting with prospective students, it’s key your online and offline messages are consistent.

If you’re like many schools, your marketing (both digital and traditional) is the first experience your prospective students have with you, giving them a reason to do more research. If they like what they see, they may engage with admissions, attend an event and visit campus.

Some may see it as a page right out of Branding 101, but making sure that all of these touch points align can make a huge difference in how you are perceived by your prospective students and can either encourage or discourage a future enrollment.

Make your online experience match up to other forms of advertising

By using your website as the primary means of communication, you are ensuring information about your school is always accessible (24/7 and in any location). But it can be tempting to neglect other forms of traditional advertising if you focus all of your efforts on optimizing your digital assets.

Any media you use (radio, newspaper), out-of-home advertising you develop, direct mail you send or brochures you distribute need to consistently align with your online image and messaging. If you find this is too much of an investment, consider dropping one or more items. The truth is that your students are paying attention, and if they are using your marketing as intended, all roads lead to your website. And if the ads they see look completely different than your site, it could raise a red flag. While considering such a large investment, students want to be confident in what they’re buying. The bottom line is: inconsistent branding can send mixed messages.

Here are some tips to align your traditional and digital advertising for a cohesive message to your students:

  • Use your brand standards manual (or develop one if you don’t have one)
  • Update your website and materials at the same time for version control
  • Route all creative through an agency or internal design staff for consistency – don’t allow outside media companies to develop creative for you
  • Develop a strategy document with key messaging points to use for all marketing

Make your marketing match up to the in-person experience

If you marketing is doing its job, it is generating leads who are genuinely interested in what your school has to offer. But prospective students are not only looking for a degree, they’re looking for an experience. They may be wondering:

  • What will my peers look like?
  • How will I spend my weekends, nights or time online?
  • Who are my professors?
  • What kind of network will I have?
  • How will I be treated?
  • Will I fit in?

The best way to help your prospects overcome these obstacles and answer their questions is to address them in-person, and in a way that is consistent with the image you’ve portrayed online and in your marketing. Simply put: make sure what they see when they attend an info session, preview day or campus visit matches up to what you’re advertising. This also goes for phone calls with admissions staff.

Tips to maintain a cohesive brand both online and in-person:

  • If you promise a personal scale program, do your best to greet prospects by name.
  • If you market a robust network, use an impressive alumni panel at your events.
  • Use pictures of real students and alumni, actual classrooms and campus photography.
  • If you tout world-class faculty, arrange a meet and greet with your professors.

Making sure that your prospects see you consistently online, in-person and in advertising can create a solid image of your school during a time when they are making big decisions.

As you are looking for ways to streamline your messaging? GPRS can give you the insights you need to align your communication, digital advertising and in-person events through branding.



121 N. Main St., Suite 109
Souderton, PA 18964



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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