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GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 28th, 2022

What to look for in an agency partner for your school

What to look for in an agency partner for your schoolThere are many reasons you might seek out an agency to help enhance and bolster your marketing department. Maybe your team is small or you’re facing new challenges. Perhaps you’ve had budget cuts and you need ideas on how to do more with less. Before you begin your search, you’ll want to have a shortlist of criteria to consider. Here are a few ways you can narrow the field to find an agency partner that can have a big impact on your school.

Higher ed institutional knowledge

Why is marketing higher ed different than other industries and why does education experience matter when you are selecting an agency?

  • Audience segmentation: The decision-making process for prospective students is complex. Select a partner that can help you develop personas to properly focus not only on demographics (who they are) but psychographics as well (why they buy).
  • Price point: Creating a strategy that aligns with that of a luxury good can take finesse.
  • Knowledge of the sales funnel: The sales process in higher ed looks different than in other industries, often with marketing and admissions operating in lockstep. Find a partner that can provide insights at all stages of the funnel.

A focus on lead generation and enrollment

In many organizations, marketing may be responsible for filling the funnel while sales take the hand-off to close the deal. In higher ed, the sales funnel behaves a bit differently and can benefit from both marketing and admissions working together throughout the process. Having an agency on board that understands enrollment targets and the flow of prospects from initial interest to a seated student can be critical. Seek out a partner that has the capability to interact at different stages of the funnel with strategies that can dislodge stalled leads, encourage submitted applications and integrate with your CRM to facilitate the yield process.

Agility and flexibility

Higher ed programs often have defined recruiting cycles. And while it may be tempting to repeat strategies and tactics that worked in a previous cycle, it’s important to maintain a level of flexibility and continually assess what is working (and what isn’t) in real-time. What worked last year may not work as well this year. It’s important for your agency partner to strategize with you to build out your marketing plan, but also be prepared to track data and pivot at a moment’s notice if the plan is not generating the activity required to meet your enrollment goals. Having digital lead generation experts that can shift, test, monitor, and react is invaluable.

Tracking ROI

What if you were able to track every seated student back to a specific marketing campaign, ad or message? And what if you were also able to assign a cost per lead to each student and find ways to optimize your marketing spend so you could attract more students? Partnering with a digital firm that has powerful analytics capabilities with custom dashboards and integration with your CRM can give your school actionable insights and justification for every dollar you spend in your marketing budget.

If you are looking for an agile partner that is an expert in higher ed lead generation and enrollment, look no farther than GPRS. We have worked with over 60 institutions to seat a growing number of students and have our own proprietary tracking platform called GPInsights™ that can optimize digital campaigns in real-time and give you a window into how your marketing is performing. Let’s start the conversation today.

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 26th, 2022

Lincoln University “knocked the socks” off their enrollment goals

Challenge

Lincoln University is the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Despite this unique distinction, Lincoln faced challenges with enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate level. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded an already tough situation for a small university trying to survive and remain relevant to today’s college student.

Solution

Lincoln hired us to be its agency of record and assist its leadership in developing and implementing enrollment marketing processes for the university. As the agency of record, we deliver our full portfolio of services to aid Lincoln in maintaining healthy and steady enrollment.

We started by performing an Enrollment Growth Assessment to define their ideal students and determine the key drivers in selecting Lincoln over another institution. We also examined why admitted students decided to enroll in other institutions, especially those that were not HBCUs. Our comprehensive report and recommendations became our action plan and the foundation of our partnership.

Among the various initiatives we completed over our first year together, there are three that stand out.

First, we worked with the Lincoln team to optimize its website and improve its ranking in search engine results. Performing SEO was an important and necessary step in ensuring that Lincoln was positioned to capture leads generated by digital marketing campaigns.

Secondly, we launched marketing campaigns, digital and traditional, focused on attracting African-American, college-bound students from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Lastly, we developed a campaign to increase undergraduate enrollment yield, that is, the number of admitted undergraduate students that enroll and matriculate. Our creative team launched a “Lincoln Sock Campaign” where admitted students received one branded Lincoln University during a campus visit or via mail. They were informed that they would get the other sock when they arrive on campus for registration. This campaign created more excitement and anticipation during the first week on campus.

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YEAR AGENCY OF RECORD PARTNERSHIP

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SOCKS FOR EVERY ENROLLED FRESHMAN

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 15th, 2022

Using hyper-targeting to drive event attendance and applications

Using hyper-targeting to drive event attendance and applications

Filling a room with prospects at your next recruiting event is your objective. But beyond the numbers, it’s important to make sure that the people in the room are qualified and likely to apply. So how do you ensure that prospects you identify through digital marketing are a good fit for your program? You can start with hyper-targeting.

What is hyper-targeting?

Hyper-targeting is a way to deliver highly personalized messages to a specific audience segment. Whereas an awareness campaign may be referred to as “casting a wide net,” a hyper-targeted campaign will instead focus indirectly on one type of student and deliver a message aimed specifically at their motivations. The thinking is that the more relevant the message and placement of that message is, the more likely they will be to interact or take the intended action.

How can you use hyper-targeting to optimize your digital marketing?

Hyper-targeting can help you further define the path that your digital marketing will take. For example, if your program aims to attract more women, you may begin with creating an audience segment based on age, career or title, and gender. However, hyper-targeting can take it several steps further. What is your ideal female prospect’s stage of life? What are her motivations, challenges, and career goals? Asking these questions early on in the strategy process will help you meet your prospects where they are on their journey. By developing messaging that is meaningful to your target’s goals and selecting focused media, your marketing will have more impact because it is connecting with the target in the right place at the right time.

What are some ways to begin crafting your hyper-targets?

All solid marketing strategies rely on some form of audience segmentation to define ways to attract the right leads. What hyper-targeting allows you to do is articulate the exact points of a prospect’s consideration set and create messaging that is tailored to their behaviors. There are a few ways to begin this process.

  • Develop personas. This process involves breaking your audience into segments based on personality traits, characteristics, motivations, and activities.
  • Create specific messaging. Focus on the needs and wants of your target. This may involve developing ads and content with an extremely narrow focus.
  • Research your delivery method. Finding the right channels and mix can be challenging, but it’s important to start with the end goal in mind.

If your team needs help developing personas or creating an audience segmentation strategy, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to optimize your communications based on your school’s strategy.

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 2nd, 2022

The University of South Alabama achieved success without breaking the bank and compromising quality

Challenge

The University of South Alabama needed help creating awareness and demand for its PhD program in business administration. Their initial investment in a digital campaign with a local vendor delivered only 63 leads over a 12 month period. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, creating an economic crisis that increased uncertainty for higher education recruiting. Given these factors, coupled with a limited market of prospective PhD candidates, South Alabama had an immediate need for help improving their enrollment marketing efforts.

Solution

Working closely with the South Alabama PhD program, GPRS crafted marketing messages and designed ads focused on targeting and attracting the highest caliber, and most interested candidates. We selected the most promising platforms, determined the optimal timing, and identified affordable keywords to maximize the program’s visibility to its target audience in search engines, social networks, and digital media channels. Using our proprietary optimization platform, GP Insights™, as well as proven lead generation techniques, we were able to match the same 63 inquiries in just the first month, followed by 88 the second month. Within 6 months of our engagement, the qualified inquiry count had topped 400 qualified leads.

Results

Through careful research and planning, as well as micro-targeting, GPRS was able to deliver a 535% increase over the previous year’s results… and in half the time. More importantly, South Alabama received 81 applications from PhD candidates excited to join their program.

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YOY increase in PhD program inquiries

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Number of applications submitted in first 6 months

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CONTACT

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

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ABOUT GPRS

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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