GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | September 18th, 2020

The secrets behind building and maximizing your higher education marketing budget

The secrets behind building and maximizing your higher education marketing budgetSay it’s the beginning of your school’s recruiting cycle and you’ve completed last year’s analysis—reviewing enrollment numbers, the impact of marketing on those numbers and even cost-per-seated-student. You’ve solidified your marketing budget, planning is underway and you’re feeling confident in your next steps. But then, you get the call from recruiting saying that they’ve added a new program or increased their enrollment goals. What do you do now? How do you build a media budget that can support your current programs while also making accommodations for these changes? Do you need to request more funds? How can you justify the additional funds, and more importantly, what’s your new plan?

The budget

Many marketing plans and budgets, regardless of industry, are all too often determined solely by a percentage of gross revenue. However, if you start with the audience in mind, you can propose a fundamental shift in the way your school develops a sound marketing and advertising budget that can serve all programs.

If you’ve created personas, you have a good idea of where your potential students get their news. Different programs – even under the same brand – have very different audiences with varying media consumption habits, so developing a strategy for each one based on where they spend their time is critical. Examine if your audience likes social media, shares videos, clicks on ads or visits news, entertainment or business sites. This can help you create a roadmap for the types of digital media you will consider in your strategy.

Your strategy

A solid higher education marketing strategy is made up of a combination of your enrollment goals and the resources it takes to achieve those goals.

First, examine the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each program you’re marketing – this will allow you to set targets and track progress against those targets. It will also help you determine the marketing toolkit you will employ.

  • Are you looking to cast a wide net and build awareness for a new program? Focus on garnering a high amount of impressions.
  • Are you looking to increase engagement with an existing program or new audience segment? Focus on generating content that will get more shares.
  • Are you looking to build quality leads and convert them? Focus on digital advertising conversions.

Here are some questions you can ask your recruiting and program team members:

  • How many enrollments do you need to make the program profitable?
  • How many leads do you need to yield your enrollment goal?
  • What has been your cost per seated student ratio for the past 2-3 years? What is ideal and realistic?
  • When is your key recruiting period and how do you see marketing supporting those periods?

The tactics

Once you’ve built your strategy and set your goals, it’s time to develop the tactical plan. This is the proverbial “where the rubber meets the road” and where the majority of media planning and budgeting happens. If you’ve appropriately examined your audience, clarified your goals and built your strategy, making a decision on which tactics to use will come more easily.

Start with listing everything out and deciding on the ones that bring the highest ROI (you can rely on last year to know what has worked well). Focus on the high-impact tactics first.

  • Higher investment – conferences and recruiting roadshows, travel, revamping your entire website, targeted and produced web video marketing, inbound digital marketing including banner ads and paid search, search engine optimization.
  • Lower investment (especially if they can be done internally) – blogging, podcasts, shareable assets like checklists and infographics, faculty research summaries, SEO-rich landing pages with information capture, admissions webinars and chats, and virtual meet and greet events

All of these tactics can help you create a digital identity to reinforce your visibility and brand.

Need help?

Your digital marketing plan will be more successful at achieving your set enrollment goals if your budget is formulated during a careful strategic planning process. If you need help creating a realistic higher education marketing budget that can help you gain more quality leads and seated students, GPRS can help.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | August 28th, 2020

4 things you might not know about higher education lead generation

4 things you might not know about higher education lead generationAs experts in higher education marketing and inbound marketing strategies, we are constantly tracking the trends our clients and their competitors are using to gain quality leads. Here we share 4 things you may not know about higher education lead generation and how you can add them to your media marketing mix.

Improve conversion with lead gen forms in social media

Social media lead gen forms are newer to the market and are becoming essential for lead generation, especially in higher education, because they allow the user to fill out a form directly within the social channel (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). This eliminates a step for the user because they don’t have to navigate to a landing page to fill out a form which can be arduous on a smartphone or tablet. It saves time for your prospect and increases the likelihood that you will capture their information because they can fill it out right away – taking advantage of the immediate gratification mentality. Using the platform’s autofill also saves time.

Mix it up with interactive content

Have you ever taken a quiz online? There’s just something exciting about getting your results and even comparing them to others. If there’s a way for you to create a quiz, a poll or a quick questionnaire for your audience, you might see higher engagement rates – especially if you keep it simple and allow sharing on social media. You can also deploy this interactive content as a part of your lead nurturing strategy by including it in your outbound emails and communications to your qualified leads.

Articles are still super-influential

According to interesting content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on social media. Taking it a step further, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an ad. Why is this extremely relevant for higher education? Articles written by current students showcase an experience – they allow the prospective students to see themselves attending your school and participating in the classroom. Articles written by faculty enhance credibility so prospective students can get a taste of who they will be learning from. Articles written by admissions staff provide helpful tips that are unique to your school and give prospects the feeling of having an “insider’s perspective” they can use when making decisions and preparing to submit an application.

Gated content

Although this concept certainly isn’t new in higher education marketing, you may not be aware of the full extent of its benefits. Gated content is when you require a reader to enter their contact information before accessing a piece of premium content that is not available anywhere else. This premium content is intriguing to prospects because it gives them the feeling of having a competitive advantage over their peers – they may receive unique insights that will give them a leg up in the information gathering or application process. Examples of premium content include a white paper, a faculty research synopsis, a deeper dive into a topic of interest, an eBook, a podcast or a webinar. It may also give early access to apply, complete an interactive assessment or attend a class. Gated content is a win-win for both you and your prospects. You gain information from quality leads and they gain valuable content.

Interested in exploring more?

As you look for new ways to engage prospects through your digital advertising strategy, lean on partners who have experience in developing unique ways to meet higher education enrollment goals and convert leads with success. GPRS can help you evaluate ways to add to your media mix with new tactics and strategies.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | August 19th, 2020

Increase enrollment without taking on extra risk

Program investment partnership: Increase enrollment without taking on extra riskDuring a time when many schools are being forced to stretch their marketing and operations dollars, you may be looking for a creative solution to meeting your enrollment targets. A new approach could be seeking out a shared risk relationship with a digital marketing agency that gives you more freedom, not more restrictions.

What does an investment partnership look like?

It boils down to trust. This type of partnership gives options to schools that need to increase enrollment, but don’t have enough resources to move the needle. A program investment partnership allows for an integrated approach to executing the ideal marketing plan. No longer will you have to cherry-pick individual services from the strategy based on your limited budget.

Studies show that when a school can fully execute the best-case comprehensive marketing and recruiting strategy put forth by their agency – including branding, lead generation, social marketing, communications lifecycle management, data analysis and testing – there is a better chance of succeeding than with a fragmented approach. When you have the right partner, you won’t have to choose the pieces you can afford. You will get best possible approach that can produce the strongest results.

How does this create a win-win for everyone?

Schools can focus on what they do best while the partner organization focuses on media strategy, recruiting optimization, drip marketing, maximizing CRM, developing creative, and diving into data analytics with advanced technology. Schools get the freedom to explore new tactics, while the partner focuses on executing the fully planned strategy and sees it through to its completion, optimizing along the way.

In this scenario, everyone has accountability to meet enrollment goals and compensation is determined as a percentage of enrollment revenue. Quite simply, this is a shared risk/shared reward relationship.

How does GPRS’ Program Investment Partnership work?

As your partner, our goal is to offer you a breakthrough solution to help lower your marketing and operations costs. We’ll shoulder the costs of top-of-funnel and mid-funnel optimizations so you can explore new opportunities and benefit from more efficiency.

Our powerful lead generation services help increase market awareness of your program while building a steady supply of qualified candidates. Working with your internal team, we’ll develop the best possible plan to help you meet your enrollment goals.

Interested in exploring further?

As you navigate this time of great uncertainty, lean on partners who have experience developing unique ways to meet enrollment needs. GPRS can help you evaluate whether a program investment partnership could work for your school. Let us help you lower your costs with shared risk and accountability.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | July 29th, 2020

Why mobile is the way to go during the COVID era

Why mobile is the way to go during the COVID eraWhen was the last time you put your phone down? Have you recently made it through a day only to have a sharp pain in your neck from looking down at your mobile device to text, FaceTime, check emails or browse the news? Have you ever been on a Zoom call while also scrolling through your phone at the same time?

You’re not alone – a recent study shows that 39% of people have been using their phones more during COVID-19 and that 54% are relying more on WiFi.

Although you may have used your mobile devices a lot before the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount you are using them now may have exponentially increased. Here are some reasons:

  • You’re working from home, but you’re not forced to put your phone down for in-person interactions.
  • You have free time between virtual meetings or conference calls, but don’t have enough time to take a walk or grab a snack, so you might pick up your phone for a few minutes and check social media.
  • If you’re a parent or caregiver, you may be using children’s learning apps.
  • You may be using your phone more to order food, have work calls, check your email and stay in touch with friends and family.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, mobile usage will continue to rise as people use phones and tablets for everything from ordering groceries, attending telehealth appointments, hosting virtual happy hours, ordering takeout and even using contactless payment apps when venturing out.

With all of these things in mind, think about how your prospects are consuming media right now – you may need to adjust the way you are communicating and offering information to them to keep them engaged and focused on furthering their education.

The data on increased mobile usage

A recent study done by Valassis, a leading marketing data and research firm, shows that people are modifying their online behaviors:

  • Usage is up during working hours, showing reliance on both smartphones and desktops.
  • Mobile usage is more prominent in web browsers than apps.
  • Consumers are seeking more serious topics like finance, the economy and healthcare, while cutting back on entertainment.
  • People are focusing on books and news, electronics and food as they are at home more.
  • Consumers are seeking a normal routine.

There’s no better time for the higher ed industry to connect with prospects who are seeking a sense of normalcy. Schools can use this data to modify their communications as they shift largely toward a mobile-first mentality.

Ways to go mobile

As you evaluate your marketing strategy, you may find ways that you can optimize your marketing budget with cost-effective solutions that target your prospects directly.

Choosing the right digital advertising platforms has never been so important. As consumers are shifting more toward a mobile mentality, you’ll want to examine your advertising strategies that are intended to target specific prospects on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Google Ads. You’ve got a captive audience so using your platform to connect with prospects on an emotional level can go a long way.

Optimize your website for SEO. When keywords are done right, you can increase the quantity and quality of organic (unpaid) traffic to your site. Be sure that you are constantly updating your keywords and website content with COVID-specific terms and questions that relate to what your prospects are asking about in the current landscape. This will boost your visibility while at the same time reassuring your prospects that you are focused on them and their needs. Also be sure that your website is mobile optimized and can be viewed consistently in a variety of browsing capacities.

Continue hosting (and marketing) virtual events that can be attended from a phone, tablet or desktop. Leading up to your final application deadlines it’s important to meet your prospects where they feel comfortable. Providing alternatives to meet online to get their questions answered can provide a sense of safety and give them the confidence they need to make decisions.

As you navigate this time of uncertainty, don’t hesitate to lean on partners who have experience in developing mobile messaging in the higher ed industry. GPRS can help you evaluate the industry trends, quickly shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to pivot your messaging to connect with prospects as their media habits are changing.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | July 16th, 2020

Admissions testing: What you communicate is as important as the decisions you make

Admissions testing: What you communicate is as important as the decisions you makeAs many schools are finalizing their incoming class rosters for the Fall, several questions are looming for prospects, admissions staff, faculty and administration alike. As part of the admissions process, you’ve likely been trying to remove as many barriers as possible for your students. You want them to feel comfortable attending your program, whether in-person or virtually, in the Fall. One such question is admissions testing.

Regardless of whether you’ve waived the testing requirement, delayed score submissions or started offering new testing options, it’s been a series of tough decisions. But the communication surrounding it can be even trickier as it relates to protecting your brand.

Addressing concerns in your communications

Admissions testing is valued by the many stakeholders of your program, your brand and your school. While altering your admissions process may seem risky, well-crafted internal and external communications can address everyone’s concerns. Let’s examine some of them here:

  • Alumni see the test as a rite of passage. It’s a value indicator for the quality of students who are admitted and graduate into the network.
  • What about current students who just last year took the test as a requirement of the admissions process?
  • Faculty and administration see the admissions test as a predictor of self-discipline and success in some courses.
  • What precedent are you setting for the future? What are the long-term implications?

Admissions testing reality: Executive Assessment, GMAT, GRE

In March and April, Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT and GRE testing was cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19. In late April and May, online testing became widely available and it continues to be an option. Some test sites are beginning to open with safety measures in place. The online versions are designed to support candidates working to meet upcoming application deadlines. All fees for rescheduling tests have currently been waived to give greater flexibility to students and institutions alike.

Although these options offer a stop-gap and a way to continue to screen students within the admissions process, you may not have known these would have been options when you were forced to make hard decisions during the height of the Spring stay-at-home-orders. Regardless of what your program decides, it’s important to continue delivering a clear, consistent message to your prospects and stakeholders covering the why’s and how’s of what’s next.

How schools are handling admissions testing

By doing a scan of your competitors and speaking with your peers at other schools, you can find out what others are doing. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • Test waivers on a case-by-case basis
  • Online test options for EA, GMAT and GRE
  • The option to submit expired scores (within the last 5 years)
  • Offering conditional admission, pending a test scheduled in the future
  • Giving the option to submit current test scores (even if not within the required range) and apply for a waiver
  • One-on-one consultations to discuss admissions requirements

Communication tips

While marketing has always been a key pillar in your recruiting strategy, it is even more important now. As you are making decisions about the admissions process that impact multiple stakeholders, here are some key ways to shape your communications efforts via email, digital advertising, your website and social media:

  • Stay consistent. If you’ve made a decision on new testing requirements, continue that message through the end of your current recruiting cycle. For example, if you waived a test, or changed a test type and have admitted students with those new requirements, continue on the path vs. changing the requirements now that new options are available.
  • Explain your reasoning. It’s important to communicate why you have required a test in the past, why you are changing your stance in the current environment and what you are doing to maintain the integrity and rigor of your admissions process.
  • Acknowledge that the future is unknown. While you can’t make guarantees for the future, you can reassure your stakeholders and prospects you are doing all you can to assess the current situation and you will be adjusting your plans carefully. Although you may be concerned you are setting a precedent, it’s important to reiterate these are “unprecedented times.” Your goal is to ensure quality while the entire higher ed industry has been upended.

As you navigate this time of uncertainty, don’t hesitate to lean on partners who have experience in branding, digital marketing and messaging. GPRS can help you evaluate the industry trends, quickly shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to pivot your messaging to protect your most valued asset – your brand.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 30th, 2020

Protecting your brand in a time of judgement

Protecting your brand in a time of judgementAccording to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

And at the moment, most of us are not “in the room” together. So how, during this pandemic, can higher ed institutions protect their brands when electronic communications are replacing in-person interactions and it’s more important than ever to “get it right”?

A brand identity is a delicate balance of your values, personality, promise, communications and what you want people to feel when they interact with you. Most importantly, it gives people a reason to trust you. But that can change quickly.

In today’s hyper-sensitive environment, just one statement can polarize an entire group and all eyes are on how we react online, in communications and on social media. The brands succeeding are pivoting their communications to address adversity, lead with confidence and emphasize commitment to their students.

Re-evaluating (and enhancing) your brand promise

Although your brand promise can help you sell an educational experience, career development, a network and personal development, right now, it also needs to:

  • Display your resilience
  • Illustrate corporate social responsibility
  • Convey a promise of safety

Brands right now need to go above and beyond. Higher ed institutions are no exception. Returning to the basic tenants of branding with a SWOT analysis can help your school make the necessary communication shifts needed.

  • Strengths – positive things that give you an advantage in the market
  • Weaknesses – challenges that give you a disadvantage or areas for improvement
  • Opportunities – ways you can adapt to capitalize on change
  • Threats – things that cause you problems on a larger scale

You may need to expand upon your brand promise and take it a step further to relate it to the current situation. For example, brands in higher education tend to focus on belonging, advancement, personal scale and continuous learning. In a time where prospects are looking for a safe space where they can accomplish their goals, reiterating these ideals can go a long way to strengthen the relationship.

Re-evaluating your target’s needs

What mattered to your audience a few short months ago has most likely changed. Although their core values may remain the same, the situation has dictated an extreme pivot in priorities. If education and career development isn’t on their priority list, your communications can sound tone deaf if they are not addressing their needs. The tricky part is that there are so many opinions swirling around right now relating to COVID and recent events that it’s really difficult to tell where people fall. They may have lost their jobs, may be caring for a family member, homeschooling, attempting to work from home and struggling with uncertainty.

If you don’t want to lose them, a fair dose of empathy and confidence can go a long way. People are being inundated by communications from everywhere. They can check out and unsubscribe if it’s too much. Less is more. Try addressing your prospects’ concerns in a neutral, informational fashion vs. giving opinions – and keep the focus on them.

Communication tips for protecting your brand

  • Minimize polarization by keeping things neutral and informational
  • Put a hold on opinion pieces right now
  • Avoid attachment to political stances and public figures
  • Avoid making negative statements – replace with authentic positivity
  • Reinforce your brand promise
  • Avoid information overload
  • Address adversity confidently
  • Reassure students, prospects and influencers you are focused on safety
  • Use social media carefully

As you navigate this time of uncertainty, lean on partners who have experience in branding, digital presence and messaging. GPRS can help you quickly shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to pivot your messaging to protect your most valued asset – your brand.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 18th, 2020

The boom in online executive education and how to jump on board

Online learning: Executive Education boomWhen COVID-19 upended the higher ed industry, executive education received a great opportunity on a silver platter. With people at home, conferences being cancelled and more time for professional development, schools offering online learning are successfully finding ways to make up for lost income in other areas. This article in Poets & Quants, highlights the new generation of students taking online executive education courses, how individual learners are driving growth and how online programs are growing exponentially as schools rush to replace residential content with online options.

With many schools facing the prospect of losing revenue if they don’t innovate, executive education is in a unique position. By migrating classes people have already paid for (so they don’t ask for a refund) online and adding new digital offerings, business schools are aiming to cover the gap of revenue that residential programs may be losing. Schools also recognize that online learning and working from home are going to persist, so next year’s projections may look very different.

Reasons why executive education is popular right now

In addition to the fact that executive education doesn’t necessarily need to be delivered in-person, the same immersive experience can be offered to students since technology lends well to presentation, discussion and even small group breakouts. Here are some other reasons why executive education programs are booming right now:

  • People are working from home and more able to focus on professional development
  • Workers need new skills as they tackle digital team alignment
  • Managers are looking for new ways to address team dynamics
  • Those transitioning to different roles as a result of the pandemic are brushing up their resumes
  • Some companies are giving allocated time and budget to spend on personal growth
  • Conferences are cancelled (or offered in a scaled-back format), so online learning and networking are ideal
  • Programs not already online can transition with fewer logistics than degree programs
  • Content can be delivered as-is; although instructional design is helpful, it isn’t required and professors can deliver using technology

Ways to take advantage of the market boom with online learning

If your school currently has online offerings, or you are in the midst of developing a digital delivery plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind for your marketing strategy to organizations and individuals. You may even consider expanding your reach to students who wouldn’t normally be able to attend your school due to geographic limitations or time constraints.

B2B marketing tactics

  • Team with a company to become their online learning partner
  • Market online executive education as a way to responsibly provide your employees with opportunities for professional development
  • Showcase the need for learning how to manage change, cope with adversity, pivot management strategies and learn how to conduct a digital team

B2C marketing tactics

  • Market online programs as resume-boosters if COVID-19 has driven a job shift
  • Discuss benefits of learning to work in small digital teams
  • Promote programs aimed at helping people overcome obstacles
  • Point out now is a great time for professional development following conference cancellations
  • Highlight networking, lower costs (if applicable) and the opportunity to participate in programs they couldn’t attend before
  • Show flexibility allowing them to earn credentials from a university they couldn’t attend in person due to geographic limitations

As you navigate these uncertain times, lean on partners who have experience in marketing executive education and online programs. GPRS will help you shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to take advantage of unique opportunities in the market.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 29th, 2020

Addressing your prospects’ barriers to decision-making

Addressing your prospects’ barriers to decision-makingOn any given day, your prospects are facing many barriers in the decision-making process of pursuing a graduate program. And now, with the market uncertainty COVID-19 has created, there are even more weighty questions surrounding their ability to experience your campus and gain networking and internship opportunities.

So how do marketing and recruiting teams bridge the gap and find ways to address these barriers? It’s all about connection and communication approach.

Here we examine common barriers, how to tell when a prospect has questions and ways to address them head-on.

What are the common barriers for graduate program prospects?

Many prospects who are considering a graduate program have similar questions in common regarding cost, time commitment and admissions requirements.

And for those considering an MBA or Executive MBA program, they may have the added pressure of current job responsibilities and family commitments.

Enter COVID-19, and prospects are now overwhelmed with market uncertainty, confusion over program format in the age of social distancing and travel restrictions for international students and programs. In addition, many of the reasons people choose to attend business school are now at risk, including the ability to join student clubs, build strong networks by interacting with diverse and accomplished peers and forging relationships with faculty.

How can you tell when a prospect has a barrier?

Prior to your prospects entering your funnel, they have questions that you can address in your digital advertising, website and corresponding marketing materials. Offering direct messaging that acknowledges their hesitations can be done with provocative questions like, “Is now your time?”; or reassuring statements like, “We know you have questions, let’s chat.” You may even carve out a portion of your ad campaign or website to listing the barriers which often go unsaid during the admissions process. By doing this, you are inviting the conversation and instilling comfort and confidence in your prospects.

Once they have entered your funnel, the most critical data you have about your prospects’ interaction comes from your CRM engagement report.

  • If certain groups aren’t opening emails about application deadlines, they may need more information before they’re ready to take the next step.
  • If your leads are opening your emails but not clicking, try varying your calls to action and including different ways for them to interact like a video, an online chat or phone conversation.
  • With inactive leads that haven’t interacted in six months to a year, you can create a re-engagement campaign using an enticing offer to spur action. Some examples include a giveaway or a personal invitation to a value-added webinar.

How do you address your prospects’ barriers?

Instead of altering your strategy, try employing new communications tactics and language that is direct, caring and confident. Consider:

  • Carousel digital ads listing barriers and ending with a call to discuss them
  • Email campaigns aimed at personal consultations to address questions
  • Webinars that encourage investment in personal development
  • Connecting prospects with alumni to discuss initial fears
  • A dedicated portion of your website aimed at the decision-making process
  • Virtual admissions test prep for applicants

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to address these barriers head-on because you don’t want to call attention to them, encouraging honest conversations can go a long way. By offering ways for prospects to connect with you in conversations where they “get real”, you may find that people are more comfortable and therefore more likely to continue to engage.

If you need more ideas on how to use your CRM to nurture your business schools leads through your system or develop communication that addresses your prospects’ barriers, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a digital strategy to give your prospects clarity and confidence in the decision-making process.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 27th, 2020

GPRS Special Report: The Impact of COVID-19 on Graduate Business Enrollment Marketing

Graduate schools must maximize resources in the new normalLike many organizations maneuvering through the intricacies created by the global pandemic, GPRS has been meticulously monitoring graduate program trends, performance data, media impressions and the overall health of the higher ed market. You may be surprised to learn that even in a time of great uncertainty, graduate business programs are experiencing greater engagement with their digital advertising, as well as increased inquiries. What are the secrets for the schools that are thriving rather than simply surviving? Read on for a special report that compiles aggregate data from across our portfolio of business school clients – and sparks ideas to shift your school’s strategies and goals as you navigate the “next” normal.

Click to Download a GPRS Special Report: How COVID-19 has impacted graduate business marketing, and strategies for positive enrollment outcomes during challenging times.

Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions you may have. GPRS is here to help.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 13th, 2020

Maximizing resources in the new normal

Maximizing resources in the new normalAs you are settling into the “new normal” that many graduate schools are facing, you are most likely still dealing with the shockwaves that COVID-19 and its impact have created for your institution, the economy and even the mental state of your team, your current students and your prospects.

While you are navigating possible budget cuts, rethinking your enrollment plans and completely altering the objectives you had just a few short months ago, it may seem like there is no end in sight to managing inevitable change within your programs. It’s important to remember the resources you had before the pandemic may still be salvageable. You can leverage them during this time to prepare for what lies ahead. Even if it means your priorities and strategies need to shift.

Here are some tips for making the most of your current resources to weather the storm.


Although your marketing spend might be in danger of budget cuts, it’s actually your most valued asset at the moment. Think of your ads, your website and your emails as the frontline communicators to your current and prospective students. As you are assessing current marketing resources and communication plans already put in place, consider:

  • Reallocating budget planned for events (and the travel most likely associated with them) to a new advertising strategy. Emphasize how you are pivoting your programs and admissions process.
  • Adapting your tone in all communications to appeal to your target’s mindset; they may be worried, so focus on the positive aspects of education that can help them look toward the future with hope. This also includes being mindful of the imagery you use and potentially incorporating the concept of social distancing.
  • Testing different channels, with an eye toward social media, as usage is trending upward with everyone at home.

Enrollment & Yield

By now, many graduate schools are coming to terms with the fact that the yield and enrollment goals they set before the pandemic may not be realistic for the fall or even the following year. Whatever your new goals are, here are a few things to keep in mind for utilizing your existing resources to meet them:

  • Tasking your recruiting team with finding unique ways to connect with prospects at all levels of the funnel – especially the often overlooked top of the funnel.
  • Maintaining strong relationships with applicants through personal communications that show your commitment to them.
  • Using your current recruiting event strategy, but pivoting it online to host webinars, chats and even happy hours (where applicable).

Although change can be stressful, leverage your team’s expertise and resources to help you move forward with confidence.  

Are you searching for expert guidance on ways to manage the change in your marketing, recruiting and online program management? Do not hesitate to reach out to GPRS. We are here to help.



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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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