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4 Ideas for High-Converting College Enrollment Marketing Campaigns

Well organized campaigns are a key component of your content marketing strategy and overall inbound marketing approach for your college or university. In this article, we’ll cover four ideas for high-converting college marketing campaigns, including content that is focused on:

  • Long-Term Goals
  • Student Life
  • Campus Culture
  • Specific Academic Programs

Note: This article was originally published on the Pepperland Marketing Blog, and has been republished here with permission.

Although a lot has changed in 2020, the power of inbound marketing is still exceptional, especially in the world of higher education. Once you’ve bought into the benefits of content marketing for higher education and you’ve woven it into your enrollment marketing plan, it’s time to get creative and start planning your campaigns.

The key to creating high-converting campaigns is not only focusing your content on topics that your audience is interested in and actively looking for, but also being sure to include opportunities to capture leads while still providing value to the audience. If you need a refresher on what a great inbound marketing campaign looks like today, check out this resource:

What Does an Inbound Marketing Campaign Look Like in 2021?

To get started with your campaign, you’ll first need to identify a central theme or set of topics that will tie each individual piece of content into a cohesive topic cluster. Below we’ve compiled four content ideas to inspire your next campaign.

4 Content Ideas for College Marketing Campaigns

1. Goal-Focused Content

Generally speaking, most students don’t go to college just for the sake of going to college. Although the college experience certainly plays a role in the decision, the overarching goals of pursuing higher education include starting or advancing a career, increasing earning potential, contributing to research, building a network, gaining professional experience, and the like. Using your content to help prospective students reach these goals is a great way to provide value to your audience while educating them about your programs in the process.

To identify these goals, consider creating student personas to get a better understanding of who these students are. By conducting interviews, leveraging existing data, and working with members of your admissions team, you can learn about what truly motivates these students to earn a degree from your university.

Think about the long-term benefits of completing a degree at your college or university and how they translate to these overarching goals. What does the prospective student hope to achieve by completing their degree? Are they looking to join a network of leaders in their desired field of study? Do they aspire to earn a particular job title? Are they simply passionate about the subject matter?

Creating content that speaks to these goals can help prospective students realize that they are attainable and learn how your institution can help through the process. This content can be in the form of blog posts, downloadable guides and checklists, tools and calculators, and so on.

Don’t forget to provide the reader with a path forward. Include calls-to-action (CTAs) that prompt them to download a related guide or brochure, sign up for a newsletter, or schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor. Whatever the case, make sure that the CTA is relevant to the content and valuable to the reader.

2. Student Life

A great way to build a relationship with prospective students is to create content that helps them understand what their experience at your university could be like. Leveraging student success stories, student spotlights, or student contributed blog posts acts as social proof and gives prospective students a chance to learn about your school through people they can relate to.

As always, it’s important to keep your content marketing goals in mind when creating or sourcing these posts. If your goal for this content is to drive organic traffic, for example, you will likely need to optimize a given article around a targeted keyword to improve your chances of ranking among the top search results.

On the other hand, student success stories and contributed posts can be used in lead nurturing email campaigns to build stronger relationships with prospective students and demonstrate the achievements of current students and alumni.

3. Campus Culture

In the time of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures that come with combating the global health crisis, colleges and universities can find success in creating content that highlights the unity of the school community.

Given the uncertainty and the changes to traditional on-campus learning that the crisis has brought, many current and prospective students have questions about how this will impact their college experience and the overall value of their education. For institutions that are planning to deliver partially or fully remote instruction, the community of students, staff, and faculty who support each other is a key component of that value.

To help ease your audience’s concerns regarding the challenges brought by the pandemic, use your content to highlight the aspects of your campus culture that make your college or university special. Although you can’t be together face-to-face, it’s the students, educators, and other key players who define your school community. Consider using blog posts, video content, and social media to highlight the ways the community is staying connected despite these challenges.

4. Program-Specific Content

To help drive enrollment for a particular degree, explore the opportunity to run a program-specific campaign featuring content that is relevant to that particular audience.

Awareness stage content could include blog posts exploring new research topics and highlighting the department’s work in the area, or even a video sharing a faculty member’s insights on a related issue in the field. Consideration and decision stage content might include a blog post detailing key features of the program or an admissions requirement checklist.

Although the content may tend to be more academic in nature, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. For example, faculty- or student-led podcasts are a great way to share information about relevant topics in an interesting and engaging way.

A faculty member from the MBA program, for instance, might record an episode about the top qualities managers look for in job candidates—a topic that your target audience would find interesting. In doing so, the podcast shares valuable insights while spreading awareness of the program and building a relationship between the speaker and the audience.

Putting Your Plan Into Action

With the theme of your next campaign in place, you can begin to identify targeted keywords, researching and compiling student personas, developing an editorial calendar to track your timeline, and establishing goals to measure your progress.

From there, you can focus your efforts on executing your plan, placing meaningful CTAs, capturing and nurturing leads, and fueling your enrollment funnel.