Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | January 13th, 2021

New year. New strategy. Go back to the basics.

New Year. New Strategy. Back to Basics.A new year often comes with a new energy, new goals and a new mindset. While many of us eagerly awaited the end of 2020 and a fresh start, we also knew that we would likely still be contending with a complex landscape (especially in education) that would require flexibility, creativity and resilience.

Although there is still much uncertainty surrounding the virus, the market and the state of the country, there is one thing that remains steady – the need to educate the next generation and create stable leaders who can address challenges like these head on.

Armed with the learnings of the past several months, your recruiting team can begin to plan for the future, however fragmented it may appear. You may be wondering how you will generate new leads and how you will seat your classes. Although so much has changed, our perspective is to go back to the basics.

What is important to your target audience?

One of the most important pieces of any strategy, after identifying your target, is to focus on what is important to them. What makes them tick? What are they looking to achieve? How do they view their career path? By doing research and creating personas for your prospects, you may find that although their values may have stayed the same, the way they pursue their goals has changed. Although you may have created personas in the past, it might be time to update them given the current state of the job market. Since your target’s career stage, ambitions and mindset on advancement may have shifted drastically in the past year, it’s important to address these alterations by shifting your communications.

How will you find your target audience?

A qualified firm can help you determine the right strategy to uncover quality leads for your school. Right now, your prospects are spending an inordinate amount of time online—couple that with a constantly shifting digital advertising landscape and it’s hard to know where to start. Choosing the right platform is key, and it helps to start here:

  • Talk to current students – they can give you an insight into what their like-minded counterparts are thinking and where they’re spending their time online.
  • Do some research into digital trends. Find out what platforms and social media are trending for students in your demographic and decide if they are right for your programs.
  • Always buy media through reputable sources.

How will you communicate with your leads?

At the moment, your message is competing with a constant stream of news and your prospects are being barraged with 24/7 advertising and social media. While many are still working from home, they may be burnt out by the end of the day, so making sure your message cuts through the clutter is imperative. How can you focus your communications so that your target will tune in?

  • Be transparent and authentic. In the age of mis-information, your prospects want to know they can trust you to have their best interests at heart.
  • Focus on the benefits. Alter your messaging to be direct and “cut to the chase.” Showcase the strength of your programs with specific success metrics.
  • Give them something to look forward to. While the market is shifting, your target can quietly be positioning themselves for career advancement and leadership to prepare for the future.

How will you nurture your leads?

Once your leads are in the funnel, the real work begins. How you walk them through the process of applying and becoming a student may take more work this year. They may need more reassurance than in years’ past. Although your CRM can do a lot of the work for you, don’t underestimate the power of personal connection during this time. Your prospects need to know you are watching out for them, you are cheering them on and that your program will offer them hope for their future career ambitions. Utilizing a nurture strategy can help you keep tabs on your prospects, track their activity within the funnel and follow up with them if they become stagnant.

If you need more ideas on generating leads, selecting the right digital advertising channels for your target and personalizing communication for your prospects, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to fit within your strategy and budget.