In a previous post about higher education marketing, we showed you how to attract college-bound students with targeted display advertising. Now, well take a look at how retargeting can be used to engage with prospective students who have already expressed an interest in your institution.
COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS: WHAT THEY WANT TO KNOW AND HOW THEY GET IT
According to a report by higher education consultancy, Noel-Levitz, what mattered to first-year students when they were deciding to enroll were cost, financial aid and academic reputation. Interestingly, personalized attention prior to enrollment (how they were treated throughout the admissions process) also played an important role.
Another Noel-Levitz study found that some of the most popular digital formats institutions use to recruit students are: email, online net price calculators, website recruitment pages, Facebook and videos on campus websites. Lastly, 94% of college-bound students said it was very important to speak with college representatives during the enrollment process, both before applying and after acceptance.
So, how does your school stay top of mind and create opportunities for personalized interactions with student prospects throughout their consideration process?
TARGETED MESSAGES: ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO LEARN MORE, APPLY AND ENROLL
Interaction with an institutions digital communications can give higher education marketers insight into what messages might resonate with student prospects while considering schools. By segmenting your prospects and using retargeting programs listed below, you can hit them with the right messages at the right time to learn more, apply or ultimately, enroll in your school.
Site Retargeting. A highly-effective approach is to segment your website visitors — to elicit action for those who have visited specific pages and to keep potential students engaged with your school. By simply adding a small piece of code to different pages of your site, you can show an ad with a targeted message specific to the prospects behavior.
For example, if a prospective student was browsing your financial aid section, you can create an ad that calls out specific financial tools and payment plans you offer.
CRM Retargeting. Noel-Levitzs survey found that nearly all respondents (high school seniors and their parents) will open an email from a campus they are considering. How can you boost engagement after youve sent informational emails? Show follow-up ads to the people who have opened those emails while they are browsing the web and encourage them to learn more about your institution.
FBX Retargeting. FBX stands for Facebook Exchange, the largest social networks real-time bidding advertising platform. Similar to site retargeting, if students leave your website or are, for instance, in the process of completing an application, you can deliver follow-up display ads to them when they visit Facebook.
Mobile Retargeting. Noel-Levitzs study found that 71% of college-bound high school students report having looked at a college website using a mobile phone or tablet, and many would fill out forms and request more information via mobile devices. With increasing mobile usage, your website should be responsive (it provides an optimal experience on any screen size). To target mobile users, you can show your ads to prospective students while they browse the mobile web or use their favorite apps.
Video Ads. Did you know a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Forrester Research? Videos can quickly show school culture, appeal to emotions and persuade students during their consideration process. For example, once students get acceptance letters and are carefully considering where to enroll, encourage them with videos of renowned alumni endorsements, student life or graduates talking about career success.
By adding retargeting advertising solutions to your marketing mix, you can reach prospective students with a personalized campaign to help them understand the benefits of enrolling at your school. As they go through the process of making one of the most important decisions in their lives, give them more opportunities to deeply connect with your school!