Looking to increase the amount of applicants to your school? Whether you’re a small private high school or a large university, there are some simple marketing tactics you can utilize to start bringing in more applicants.
Below are the top eight strategies you can leverage to grow your schools tuition rate today…
1. Create an optimized website.
If you’ve done any research on marketing ideas or strategies for schools, you have probably come across sites mentioning the importance of having an optimized website. What does that mean? Well, there are three different ways a site can be optimized to bring in more applicants.
First, you will want your website to be designed in a way that showcases your benefits and walks the reader through the content on your website in a simple way. Overwhelming the reader with too much at once is a surefire way to get them to hit the back button and leave. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a clear call to action. Here are two examples: “Apply Now” and “Sign-up Here”. It’s important to place these calls to action in areas of your site where the reader is more likely to click on it and become an applicant. You might find that having the “Apply Now” button float on the readers screen increases the overall number of applicants you see from your website. This strategy is known as Conversion Optimization (and it’s something that we excel at).
Next, you will want your site to be mobile optimized. Just having a website isn’t enough these days. It needs to be able to load and be read on a multitude of different devices – tablets, phones, laptops, etc. If your website doesn’t load properly on these different devices or takes too long to load, your visitors are more likely to leave and never come back. The best way to build your site is by using a responsive design. This means that the website “responds” to any browser width. You can see an example on this website. Go ahead and shrink the browser by pulling in the corner and making the width smaller. See how the website changes its format to become more readable? You can learn more about how responsive design works in the video we created below.
The last aspect of an optimized site is Search Engine Optimization (also called SEO). This is the process of determining which keywords your target demographic is searching for so that you can strategically rank for them. By ranking for these keywords you will bring in more organic traffic, which will provide you with higher quality traffic – readers that are more likely to turn into applicants. Search Engine Optimization is a very broad and complex digital marketing strategy that incorporates website design, content creation, and public relations. To learn more about SEO and what it involves, click here or watch the explainer video we put together below.
2. Become more active online.
It may sound simple but becoming more active online can drastically improve your reach and thus your application rate. However, in order for this to happen, you need to make sure you’re being active in the right places online. Here are a few tips…
- Blog: Creating content is a great way to teach more people about your school, what’s going on, and how it differs from others. Not only that but it will help increase the amount of pages that search engines index, which will lead to more traffic. More traffic means more applicants.
- Guest Blog: Blogging on your site is great but to increase your reach even further you should consider guest blogging on other relevant sites. This is a great way to reach individuals who may not have known about your school before and it allows you to link back to your school website, which increases the SEO power of your site.
- Social Media: Using social media to target potential applicants could be the best way to increase your tuition rate. Why? With social media sites like Facebook you have the ability to target and show your ads to users who fit your exact demographic. Learn more about how Facebook marketing works here.
3. Host informative and engaging open houses.
Hosting an open house is an incredibly effective way to drive up applications. Nothing beats being able to tour the school, meet the faculty, and experience what it would be like going there firsthand. To make sure that your open house leads to a high number of applicants, you’ll want to be sure you make it informative, engaging, and fun. Yes, people are there to learn about the school and what it has to offer but if they feel bored by what they are listening to, there’s a chance they’ll “tune out” what you’re saying altogether. You can make your open house informative and fun by doing the following:
- Break up speakers with 10-15 minute breaks where people can get complimentary coffee or snacks.
- Make sure that the guides add energy to their tours by getting people involved and asking questions.
- Offer complimentary merchandise such as shirts, mugs, pens, etc. This will help keep your school top of mind when they are making a decision.
4. Invest in targeted mailings.
One “old school” marketing method that still works well for schools is targeted mailings. This is a tactic that involves hiring a marketing agency to determine where to send mailings that your target demographic are most likely to see.
On these mailings you will want to make sure you include a very specific call to action so that the recipient knows exactly what steps they need to take next. Example: “Sign up for our free open house today!”
5. Build relationships with lower level schools.
Networking is another very effective way to increase your application rate. Most applicants are referred to a school by a guidance counselor. It is important to reach out to each and every school counselor in your area (and surrounding towns) to make sure they know about what your school offers and what differentiates it from other schools in the area. Invite the counselors to your campus, give them free promotional material, and show them a good time when they’re there. These small gestures will go a long way when they are speaking with their students and recommending schools.
6. Give away free promotional material.
Giving away shirts has long been a marketing strategy that big businesses and startups use to grow. In fact, one entrepreneur used this strategy to make almost one million dollars in revenue.
By giving away shirts to current and prospective students you are, in effect, making them walking billboards.
7. Get testimonials from alumni.
Word of mouth marketing is, by far, the best type of marketing. We tend to trust what others have to say about companies or associations more than the companies or associations themselves.
Reach out to alumni of your school and ask them to provide you with a small testimonial regarding what they enjoyed about the school and how they benefited from going. Include these testimonials in promotional materials such as brochures, your website, etc.
8. Create an informative video.
In todays world people very rarely actually read anything. More often than not, they skim the content and just get the “gist” of what it’s about. This can lead to some serious miscommunications. To catch prospective students attentions and relay as much information about your school as possible, look into creating an informative video. Here are some of the benefits…
- You will be able to capture their attention for a much longer period of time.
- Visual content is much more appealing and shareable.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google). This means that the video will bring in more targeted traffic to your website.