A little pampering can go a long, long way — at least that appears to be popular opinion based on the rising demand for cosmetologists. Between 2018 and 2028, opportunities in the field are expected to grow by 16%, with manicurists and pedicurists experiencing a projected growth rate of 19%. This presents a huge opportunity for beauty and cosmetology schools around the nation. Problem is, there are over 1,900 of them, so the competition for students will likely continue to intensify.
To improve your school's student recruitment efforts, it all comes down to communication and marketing. You need to get the word out to prospective students about the opportunities available to them on your campus and beyond. How you go about doing this is entirely up to your school, as everything should coincide with an institution's mission, values, and goals. However, there are a few tactics that have proven to be beneficial. They often start with the following:
1. Review student personas.
Change, as they say, is life's only constant — and that includes changes to your student personas. Make a habit of regularly reviewing the personas used to reach and speak to future cosmetologists. Do the demographic details still hold true? Have their interests and behavioral traits changed? What about their attitudes, goals, motivations, barriers to education, and so on? More importantly, how does your target audience interact with your school?
Given enough time, student personas "outgrow" certain attributes, which means they might very well outgrow certain marketing channels and messaging. If you leave your personas unchecked, you might not be supplying potential students with the information they need to make an informed decision. Refer back to the data, refine personas if need be, and use your findings to build out more relevant content and identify the most commonly used channels for your audience.
Then test, modify, and test again.
2. Employ SEO and SEM to build awareness.
Search engine optimization has become table stakes to ranking on search engine results pages, and the foundation of any SEO strategy is keywords. Like your student personas, you might want to revisit the keywords you're using to drive organic traffic to your school's site. Once you've compiled a solid list, weave those keywords throughout the content — making sure to write for people and not bots. Doing anything otherwise could damage your ranking.
From there, turn your attention to optimizing images by using the best file format and working up alt text to describe the graphics (using keywords, of course). You should also check the load speed of the site, utilize internal linking, engage in some backlinking, and improve the overall user experience of the website. What that entails will depend on your goals, but it ultimately calls for logical navigation, visually appealing design, proper subheads, minimal popups, and so on. All of these elements can improve your SEO ranking.
With search engine marketing, attention will shift to increasing your school's visibility with paid online advertising. If you've already checked the SEO box (and that of your student personas, we should add), you've done a lot of the groundwork for SEM. Now, it's all about crafting the right messaging and weaving proven keywords into the content to serve targeted ads to future cosmetologists in search results.
And as redundant as this might sound, test, modify, and test again.
3. Target and retarget your audience.
No one needs to tell you that prospective students take a lot into consideration when choosing the best school. They're weighing a lot of different factors, and this can take some time. Don't fail to keep your school top of mind during this time by not launching a retargeting campaign. It's your opportunity to reengage with students who've shown interest, but have yet to commit. It's also a chance to provide them with the necessary information to make more informed decisions.
Just make sure to segment website visitors into your personas to serve them tailor-made ads that appeal directly to their interests, goals, and so on. And let's not forget to create dedicated landing pages for each of these ads. You don't want to redirect prospective students back to your school's homepage. Instead, perhaps take them to a page that speaks to whatever area of cosmetology they've shown interest in based on past interactions with your website.
Finding the Right Marketing Partner
Instead of trying to improve engagement and boost enrollment on your own, find a marketing partner like CMG Local Solutions with the experience and tools to reach those goals. Our cutting-edge, intuitive technology — coupled with our revenue-optimized marketing strategies — has been proven to drive twice the ROI of other agencies.
Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers in Orlando came to us looking to increase student enrollment for its different beauty programs. When we first started working with the school back in 2014, the focus was SEO. Today, we're emphasizing a multichannel approach with elements of SEO, SEM, PPC, and display. In the month of December alone, our search campaign delivered 67 calls to the institution, and 59 of them were unique.
If you'd like to learn more about what CMG Local Solutions can do to help your school, contact us today. A member of our team would be more than happy to answer your questions, explore your options, and develop a solution suited to your specific needs. Simply connect with CMG Local Solutions today.