What is the best way to communicate with today’s prospective college students? Do you still need to send them viewbooks and other publications, or will communicating through email and social media suffice? What about the phone? Can you call their cell phone or send them text messages? These questions come to mind often for many enrollment management professionals as they strive to meet enrollment goals in an ever changing and increasingly competitive environment.
With more students applying and more competition from other colleges and universities, strategic enrollment marketing can make an institution stand out from its competition and put it in a strong position when prospective students do make contact. While new marketing methods and communication technologies need to be integrated into campus campaigns, traditional marketing methods still provide a lot of value when used properly.
Strong marketing and communication plans begin with an understanding of the institutional image and brand. Branding is generally a campuswide initiative that involves university relations and enrollment management (at the very least) and should also be part of institutional strategic planning initiatives or discussions. While branding includes the development of consistent, uniform visual images (i.e., logo, standard colors, and fonts) and often a phrase or tag line, it is much more. Branding is what an institution is known for or wants to be known for–what makes it unique and distinctive. For branding to be effective in new student recruitment, an institution must continually assess how to deliver on the promise of its brand. For example, if a brand communicates “student success is our business,” then graduation rates must be well above average, retention initiatives must permeate institutional planning priorities, and alumni successes must be well tracked and documented. [Read more…]