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GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 27th, 2024

What Do Grad Students Want in 2024?

What Do Grad Students Want in 2024?As 2024 dawns, higher education institutions all across the country are hard at work preparing for the next wave of graduate school students with marketing and recruitment efforts. But what do grad students really want in 2024?

In order to recruit and retain the next class of students in 2024 and beyond, it’s important to have a strong grasp of their pain points, needs, concerns, values, and goals to successfully produce the marketing materials needed to connect with them. Here, we’ll take a more detailed look at what prospective graduate school students really want so you can better craft content and messaging that connects with them.

Flexible courses

The COVID-19 pandemic made virtual and hybrid learning commonplace for students. Even though the pandemic has receded and virtual learning largely with it, today’s graduate school prospects still value flexibility. To that end, make sure that your programs offer online and hybrid class options and that this is effectively communicated via your marketing to show you know what grad students want in 2024.

A commitment to inclusion

Prospective students today value diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) more than ever. To attract them in 2024 and beyond, recommit to DEI initiatives at your institution, build diversity into your marketing efforts, and make sure that your prospects know about them through social media, email, blogging, and other marketing channels.

An eye on the future economy

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.

That means your institution needs to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to offering courses and classes relevant to the emerging economy. Make sure that you’re incorporating new trends like AI, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, digital media, green energy, and the like into your curriculum, and communicate this to your prospects in your marketing materials.

Mental health support

Prospective students take mental health seriously. Don’t discount this – invest in mental health professionals at your institution and ensure that your students know that you value mental health as well.

Career readiness

Finally, emphasize career readiness at your institution too, not just gaining an advanced degree in and of itself.

All too often, graduate school students feel unprepared for the job market after graduating. However, your institution can make a difference for them through networking opportunities, job interview advice, internships, hands-on training, and other activities to maximize their employability after graduating.

Know what grad students want in 2024 to attract and retain students

The nature of prospective graduate school students is changing – will your institution change along with it?

By having a stronger grasp of how to connect with prospective students, you can tailor your content, marketing channels, and messaging to them more effectively. In turn, this can lead to improved recruitment and retention in 2024 and beyond despite a more challenging and complex educational landscape.

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | January 30th, 2024

Paid Search Best Practices and Strategies for Grad Schools

Paid Search Best Practices and Strategies for Grad SchoolsPaid search ads (also known as pay-per-click, or PPC ads) can be a powerful marketing tool for graduate schools for many reasons. How so? Paid search best practices and strategies for grad schools allow for specific demographic targeting based on specific criteria, can be turned on to generate leads almost instantly, and offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to crafting your messaging and marketing goals, such as boosting brand awareness, generating demand, or bringing in more qualified leads.

All of that being said, it’s important to have a strong grasp of how paid search marketing works in order to use it the most effectively. Below, we’ll examine a few strategies and best practices in detail so you know how to effectively leverage it. Let’s take a look.

Research and understand your audience very carefully

Before actually launching any paid search campaigns, always conduct thorough research of your target audience and understand their goals, demographics, and pain points.

This may seem obvious, but all too often paid search campaigns are launched by schools, businesses, and organizations without a clear understanding of who exactly they’re targeting. As a result, many of them waste their time and money on ineffective campaigns. To avoid this, have a strong grasp of who you want to target and for what reasons before budgeting for any paid search campaigns.

Conduct thorough keyword research

Conducting extensive keyword research is also crucial.

Focus on high-volume, relevant keywords with user intent in mind. For example, focusing on a general keyword like “MBA” is too vague and will likely result in squandering your budget, but targeting keywords like “best schools for an EMBA” are much more likely to connect you to the right target audience that’s seeking the programs you’re offering.

By targeting these longtail keywords based on user intent, your campaign will more effectively target the right audience and more effectively funnel leads directly into your specific programs.

A/B test consistently and for many variables

A/B testing is a great way to determine what’s working most effectively in your campaigns and help you optimize them by leveraging this information.

When A/B testing, focus on variables like ad copy, keywords, landing pages, calls-to-action (CTAs), and visuals in both the ad if applicable and landing page. The more information you can glean from A/B testing, the better optimized your campaigns will be, leading to higher conversions without wasting precious dollars.

Determine your goals and KPIs

Setting up specific goals and KPIs early on is critical too.

Without a clear goal and KPIs to track in mind, your campaign will be aimless and end up wasting a lot of time and money. Instead, map out what your specific goals are and the metrics needed to track them before launching a campaign. For example, you may want to set a goal of increasing leads 25% before the start of the next semester. Whatever your goals and KPIs are, be sure that everyone on your team is aware of them and is working towards them with the correct metrics and timelines in mind.

Avoid contact forms that are too long and complex

Finally, avoid contact forms that are too long and complex for your ad landing pages.

While paid ads are great for generating leads and increasing conversions, your efforts may go to waste if your landing page contact forms are too long, overly complex, and invasive in terms of privacy. Instead, keep your contact forms simple, concise, and avoid asking for too much personal information, as many people may be reluctant to give that out early on.

Leverage paid search best practices and strategies for success

By keeping these paid search best practices and strategies for grad schools in mind, you can better optimize your paid search campaigns for your grad school programs. Whatever your goals are, paid search can be a powerful tool when it comes to accomplishing them – if you do it well!

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | January 17th, 2024

Effective Grad School Email Marketing

Effective Grad School Email MarketingAlthough social media has been all the rage over the past few years when it comes to marketing to prospective graduate school students, email remains a very cost-effective and reliable method for communicating with prospects. As with all forms of marketing, email marketing has changed a lot over the years, meaning that higher education institutions need to know the current best practices and strategies to ensure that they’re using it effectively for grad school email marketing.

So, let’s examine some email marketing tips for higher education institutions to help supercharge your marketing campaigns!

Segmentation and automation are key

When email marketing to prospects, be sure to segment your campaigns based on factors like funnel stage, anticipated start date, and persona match. This way, you can better tailor your messaging and content to the right audience simply and effectively. Using automation tools like HubSpot or Constant Contact is something else to keep in mind, allowing you to fully automate your campaigns so you can focus on strategy, creating content, and other more productive tasks as opposed to time-consuming manual work.

Personalization is a must in grad school email marketing

Likewise, personalization is key nowadays too.

A mass email addressed to prospects is unlikely to get their attention, but including the specific names of individual recipients in the subject line and body is a simple yet effective way to increase open rates and conversions. Similarly, including the signature of an actual staff member, such as the Dean or Director of Recruitment, can add an additional personalized touch to each email, creating a human connection with prospects.

Optimize for all devices

When email marketing first started in the 1990s, marketers only had to worry about how their emails looked on desktops. Today, the media landscape is much more diverse, with recipients regularly checking emails on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices.

To that end, make sure that your emails are fully optimized for all devices, especially mobile. This can be done with thorough testing to ensure that your content reaches its recipients visually represented like you wanted it to.

Ensure brand consistency in email marketing

Consistent branding and imagery is important when designing your emails so that the recipient can identify your institution quickly and easily. Including your logo, branding colors, and a consistent voice can build trust and a stronger connection with your prospects more effectively.

Convey engaging stories to your prospects

Finally, use email marketing as a storytelling medium to boost engagement with your prospects.

Email can be used to convey student and alumni success stories, testimonials, interviews, and other forms of content that focus on personal stories. Doing so is a great way to add a personalized, human touch to your program, boosting engagement and conversion rates in the process.

Use grad school email marketing to reach and engage prospects

Indeed, email marketing may not be new or flashy, but it’s a tried-and-true marketing channel that continues to pay off today – and for years to come. By using these grad school email marketing strategies and best practices, you’ll be able to better reach and engage prospects with valuable and useful content, boosting your recruitment efforts over the long term.

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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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