Last year’s lessons are this year’s plans
Although you may be feeling some relief as 2020 is slowly fading away, don’t be so quick to banish the memories of the challenges you faced and how your team overcame them. After all, if living, working and recruiting during a global pandemic has given you hurdles, it has also given you the gift of forced change and the resulting flexibility that bred new strategies, stronger teams and innovations. COVID-19 required many universities to pivot their paths or risk sinking. As you reflect on what you’ve learned, lost and gained, we’d like to offer a roundup of some of our favorite lessons from this past year that may help you move forward with confidence into a new recruiting season.
Evaluating success in a year with altered benchmarks
Before you lock in your plan for the upcoming recruiting year, you may be staring down the seemingly impossible task of evaluating last year’s enrollment goals and marketing plan effectiveness. As you tackle questions about spending, engagement, quality leads, yield, cost-per-seated student and enrollment goals, how do you determine what worked and what didn’t in a year where everything turned upside down? Here are a few ideas on where to start.
Making admissions more personal
While you will most likely be placing more weight on transcripts and references in the coming admissions cycles, finding ways to assess a prospect’s ability to overcome challenges could become a new mainstay in your process — and you might even find something new and helpful to take away from the pandemic, too. Find ways to incorporate personal stories into the admissions process to connect with prospects on a deeper level.
Protecting your brand
In today’s hyper-sensitive environment, just one statement can polarize an entire group. 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. To enhance your brand promise and stay in tune with your prospects’ needs, here are a few suggestions.
Innovating in the face of forced change
While being forced into change isn’t always comfortable, it can breed new innovations and help you reimagine your approach. Marketing, admissions and recruiting teams had to find new ways to host events and generate and nurture leads. Still looking for new tactics to test? Here are a few ideas for going mobile, trying your hand at podcasts and expanding your social media reach.
Communicating in new (old) ways
With a challenging road ahead, you may wonder how you will generate leads, fill classes and communicate effectively. Although many things have changed, the fundamentals of human connection remain the same. Here some tips on how to use the basics to carry you forward even during a time of uncertainty.
Planning for another uncertain year
Although you may be staring down challenges to your planning process that include financial pressures, demographic changes and technology innovation, it’s important to realize that the opportunities to reshape your school’s recruiting process are abundant. While developing your projections, enrollment goals and strategic marketing plans, here are ways to prepare for the next recruiting cycle.
If you’re looking for ways to integrate new recruitment strategies into your enrollment plan, GPRS can help. With years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing your message for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.