In the network of higher education institutions, community colleges are often overlooked, but they hold a vital piece of the educational puzzle. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, 46% of all undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges. People entering the rapidly changing world of work find that community colleges offer a great way to study and gain the skills they need.
But, despite the importance of these institutions, community colleges have been some of the worst hit by the pandemic. The spring 2021 enrollment term saw a 9.5% dip. These invaluable places of learning need a new approach to attracting, inspiring, and reassuring students and parents. Refresh your community college marketing strategy to seize the opportunities of post-pandemic recovery and get on track for future success.
Marketing Ideas for Community Colleges to Boost Recruitment
If institutions are going to bounce back from the pandemic slump, they need a community college marketing plan with a balance of digital and traditional strategies. Here are four community college marketing strategies to bring in more students:
1. Find the right balance of tactics.
Students and parents are looking for different things when it comes to education, and they're also conducting very separate searches. While you might need a traditional arm to wrap around the parent and reassure them of the quality of your institution, you also need to appear in relatable ways to prospective students wherever they are online. With a combination of digital platforms and traditional media, you'll reach a wider group of students and parents.
2. Target with social media and display ads.
Targeting is the most precise and powerful tool you have, and it will help you draw the right people to your institution — those young learners and parents who will love your college and be more likely to enroll. With targeted posts on social media and search engines, you can direct ads toward specific demographics. Thinks local parents who have been frequenting university websites or prospective students in a specific age group who have been searching for relevant keywords.
3. Use SEO to drive traffic to your website.
SEO is an organic method of driving more traffic to your landing pages and other content, helping potentially interested people find your institution. By embedding keywords that describe the experience of your institution into media-rich content, you'll start pleasing the algorithm gods and appearing higher up on search results, which will boost your credibility online even further.
4. Analyze campaigns in real-time.
Once you're equipped with some generative tools to attract potential students, you need a method for tracking how these strategies impact your goals. An attribution model will help you visualize the various online touchpoints people have with your college. A multitouch attribution model, in particular, can sketch a dynamic picture of where and when people are engaging and disengaging from your content. This helps you determine which channels and demographics to invest more heavily in to see results.
Improving Your Community College Marketing Plan
Determining which campaigns and messaging attract the right audience can take a lot of time and resources. Partnering with an expert marketing agency such as CMG Local Solutions takes the load off of your team so that they can put their energy into other business functions.
When Suffolk County Community College entrusted us to help them promote their "Late Start" program, we used a mix of social media and display campaigns to boost registration numbers in both the prospective student and parent demographics. Within a month of our campaign, the program received more than 300 new registrations, and Suffolk County Community College was able to pivot its strategies towards new goals.
CMG Local Solutions' knowledge of educational institutions and strategies that work in an evolving landscape empowers us to create unique, tailored community college ads and messaging to suit your needs.
Contact CMG Local Solutions today to learn more about how we can help you increase enrollment.