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Prospective students with highly-involved parents have a greater chance of enrolling – if you know how to engage them! Here are 4 marketing strategies you can use now.

More and more we’re seeing how parents are getting involved in the college decision-making process.

There are many reasons for this, I’m sure. But among the top would have to be that college costs are rising. That’s reason enough for parents to get more involved!

If they’re helping foot the bill for an education that is becoming more costly, they’ll naturally want to help get their children into the right school the first time around.

In a previous blog, I shared how you can identify the prospective students who have highly-involved parents. Now, I want to move on to the obvious question:  What do you do once you’ve identified them?

Once you’ve identified these engaged parents, you’ve got to find ways to build brand loyalty in them so that they become one of your brand ambassadors

But how do you do that?

Strategies to Reach Parents 1. Create digital spaces for parents.

As the Internet has matured, people have started joining digital communities as a crowdsourcing tool, rather than a social outlet. 

In the past, people came for a sense of community. Today however…

People join digital communities to be informed.

This is especially true for moms. 

It’s no secret. Mothers tend to seek out good counsel and reviews from their peers before purchasing a product or committing to a course of action.

If you can provide these digital spaces, parents – most notably mothers – will have a place to go where they can get their questions answered by their peers.  

One of the great things about this strategy is that you can take the lead in the conversation as a group administrator. 

Digital spaces to consider creating:

    • Facebook groups (Lots of moms are on Facebook)
    • Webinars
    • YouTube channel for parents (Live streaming and general video content that produce conversations in the comment threads.)
2. Craft content specifically for parents.

As we’ve discussed before, content marketing is one of the best ways to build your education brand for the long haul.

Thankfully, this holds true for parents — who might even appreciate your content more than the students!

When creating content for parents, remember to produce both directly- and indirectly-consumed content. 

Direct content is content that you’ll send straight to parents. This is content you expect only them to read. 

In direct content to parents, you can dive deep into areas they’re concerned about, like.. 

    • Paying for college,
    • Campus security, 
    • Codes of conduct, 
    • Graduation employment rates, 
    • Spiritual development, and 
    • Testimonies from other student parents.

Indirect content is content you create for another audience (like prospective students) but you know parents will see the content from time to time. 

Although the content isn’t created solely for parents, you know you need to put elements in the content that address concerns parents would have. 

Here are some examples of how indirect content would work to cultivate parents.

    • In an ebook for students on campus life, include caption boxes with campus security tips.
    • In a video showcasing campus events, spend 30 seconds or so demonstrating spiritual life events.
    • In a brochure on the various majors, show off your graduation employment rates. 

The trick with indirectly-consumed content is to highlight the information parents will want to know. But with direct content, the idea is to dive into the details.

3. Put on activities for parents during recruiting events.

Recruiting events like college fairs or summer camps are often the bread and butter of recruitment strategies. 

When preparing these events for prospective students, don’t forget to include activities for the parents. Here are just a few ideas for you:

    • Host a parents’ luncheon with a Q&A
    • Stage a meet-and-greet with your school president
    • Put on a parents-only raffle where parents win prizes like golf accessories or Etsy gift cards
4. Keep parents in the comm flow.

This is a creative strategy that the school my oldest attends used on me – and it works!

My son’s school intentionally included Mom and myself in the comm flow. 

We were cc’d on all emails, which caused us to talk about the school and the content more in our home than any other school. 

Although our son didn’t choose this school simply because Mom and I liked it so much, the amount of time we spent talking about this school and his decision to attend there isn’t a coincidence!

Part of your goal as a marketer is to create conversations around your brand. 

Click to tweet

Keeping parents in the comm flow is a brilliant way to spark these critical household conversations!

Cultivating Parents

Reaching parents in your marketing has always been a good idea. But in today’s increasingly competitive environment, it’s more important than ever.

If you don’t have a clearly defined strategy to reach your prospective student’s parents, I encourage you to get your team together and brainstorm the many ways you can cultivate them through intentional content marketing.

And if you need help, feel free to contact us at Caylor Solutions to get the results you need from your education marketing.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by Monkey Business via Adobe Stock

The post 4 Creative Ways to Stand Out with Highly-Involved Parents appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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Over the years, parental involvement in the college decision-making process has grown significantly. Here’s my take on a study showing how to identify them and then what to do in your marketing.

The trend of parental involvement in a student’s college decision is growing.

Of course, parents have been an important factor in prospective students’ decisions for decades now.

But in the Millennial generation, we saw parental involvement rise from being a factor in the college decision to becoming almost a requirement. For Gen Z prospective students, this is becoming even more of a reality in their college decision.

That’s the difference between “I hope my parents like this,” and “I can’t go there because my parents don’t like that school.”

Why is this trend growing so quickly? I believe there are several factors involved.

First of all, the general approach to parenting is changing in North America to be way more “hands on.”

There is a big controversy surrounding this social trend. Some say “helicopter parenting” or overly involved parents harm children’s development. Others say more involved parents are the key to children’s success in today’s environment.

If you and I only think as marketers, it’s not really important if this trend is “good” or not.

What’s important is the reality that parents are more involved in their children’s life decisions than ever before.

Rather than trying to change the target audience, good marketers find ways to craft messages that resonate with the target audience in how they see the world.

Click to tweet

Secondly, the cost of college is going up.

And when the costs go up, parents want to be more involved.

Besides, for many parents, it’s their money that will be invested for the child to go through college.

How do you identify prospective students with involved parents?

This is an important question. Not every prospective student has parents who play a major part in their college decision.

According to a recent study, these are the signs you need to look for in order to determine if a prospective student, or one of your marketing personas, has highly-involved parents.

Technology

When you see a family with their attention on their smartphones instead of each other, it can be tempting to think that somehow they’re not involved in each other’s lives.

But that’s just not the case.

Parents today are more tech savvy, which means parents and children are much more connected than before.

Parents who are involved in technology add their kids as friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter or Instagram. They also keep up almost minute-to-minute through messaging apps and real-time geographical tracking apps.

So sure, family dinner can suffer when everyone’s checking their phone instead of having a conversation, but technology has been bringing families together in ways that education marketers need to be aware of.

Income

Families with higher sources of income tend to have highly-involved parents in the college decision.

Parents with higher incomes are more likely to be educated and wish for their children to follow in their academic footsteps.

Also, higher-income parents often have more discretionary time to help their children search for and decide on the right college.

One final thought here: Highly-involved parents tend to pay closer attention to the list price of their child’s education, regardless of their household income.

This makes a big difference for your bottom line, so identifying and cultivating highly-involved parents needs to be high on the list of priorities.

Gender

Come to find out, male students are more likely to have highly-involved parents in the college decision.

I’m not exactly sure why this is the case, but on the whole, female students tend to organize and plan their academic journeys a little earlier in life than their male counterparts.

Male students, generally speaking, require a little more parental involvement in the college decision to help them make a better choice for themselves and their families.

Ethnicity

The study found that “parents of white students tended to be more involved than parents of Hispanic students.”

This could be because of the income consideration that I mentioned above.

Many Hispanic parents are first-generation or second-generation immigrants who’re working hard to provide for their families. This might keep them from being more involved in their child’s college decision.

Of course, it could be cultural nuance, but that’s outside my realm of expertise.

The important thing is that this post is not a judgement on how different parents approach the college decision.

For you and me as marketers, there is no right or wrong way when it comes to how involved a parent should be in their child’s decision.

But we do need to know how parents of different ethnicities approach the college decision so that we can craft marketing messages that better resonate with them in their cultural context.

Religion

One of the last findings in the study was that parents who wanted their child to attend a faith-based school were much more involved in the college decision.

The primary example in North America would be parents of the Christian faith.

Many Christian parents believe they have a religious obligation to educate their children in the values and teachings of the faith. Therefore, they will have a much greater say in where their child goes.

And even inside the Christian faith, you might find that parents steer their children towards a particular Christian tradition.

For example, protestant parents are more likely to persuade their children to go to protestant colleges rather than Catholic colleges, and vice versa.

This means that if you’re a faith-based school, you should be producing content for parents. They are your strongest recruiters!

College Education

Parents who’ve attended college are more likely to be involved in their child’s college decision.

But not only that, they’re more likely to steer their child toward their alma mater.

In the study I’ve been referring to, these parents are called “legacy parents.” Legacy parents are parents “who want their children to carry on the family tradition of attending the school they attended.”

Legacy parents are much more likely to be involved with a prospective student’s decision –especially if they “have been active in alumni clubs or attend campus-related events.”

Immediately, I think about the parents who bring their children to college ball games to cheer on their alma mater. It’s a good possibility that these parents are going to be involved in their child’s college decision.

Improving Marketing Personas

While the online survey I’m referencing in this post isn’t as robust as I’d like it to be (only 506 students participated), I think the insights we have from it are accurate.

The question is then, do your prospective students have highly-involved parents?

Does the average prospective student you’re recruiting have these traits? If so, how will you change your current comm flow or marketing messaging to take advantage of that?

I recommend that you revisit your marketing personas and update them to include information on how involved the parents are in their child’s college decision.

And if you have highly-involved parents, keep an eye out for my next post! In it, I’ll share some strategies to build brand loyalty among parents.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by Andy Dean via Adobe Stock

The post Identifying Students with Highly-Involved Parents appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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One of the biggest opportunities for higher education marketers today is text marketing. Here’s a text marketing starter guide to get you going.

If there were one thing I wish more private colleges and universities were doing, it’s text message marketing.

You’ve probably seen this marketing tactic used in other sectors, but there are good reasons you should think seriously about launching a text marketing strategy for your higher education institution.

The first reason? So few schools are doing it.

And if they are, many are not doing it well (more to say on how to do it well below). That leaves this under-used tactic as a potential advantage for your education brand.

Another reason to get into text message marketing is that you can’t get much closer to your audience than through text. Take a look at these stats from my friends at Leadsquared.com:

  • The average American checks their phone 46 times a day.
  • The average Millennial sends and receives an average of 67 text messages per day.
  • 77% of students want relevant information from colleges via text.
  • 56% of students say a college can text them first.
  • 91% of people who use text say they prefer it over voicemail.
  • 91% of teens with cell phones actively text.

Just look at that statistic in the middle.

77% of students want relevant information from colleges via text.

That’s a large amount of your target audience that is open to receiving immediate communications from you!

Do you really need any more of a reason than that?

I have one more reason before we dive into how to make this work for your private college, school, or university:

Text message marketing supports your other marketing and recruitment efforts in a direct way. You can use text messages to remind students of upcoming recruitment appointments or special events, which enhances your event or meeting’s results simply by getting them there.

How can you use text message marketing?

You’re only limited by your imagination! And your marketing strategy.

Content Marketing. You can use text message marketing to cultivate prospective students through content marketing by sending out a text blast offering them a free ebook, video, devotional, or other type of content.

Conversion. You can also convert prospective students to enrolled students by sending texts that ask them to set up appointments with enrollment officers.

Event marketing. Get people on your list to sign up or register for your next campus or online event.

Reminders. You can send a text reminding prospective students of an upcoming enrollment meeting or even current students of important appointments they have with your school. Imagine how it would help remind students of payment deadlines, homework deadlines, etc.

Emergency alerts. This an important  safety feature for current students and their families. In the case of a natural disaster, storm, or security crisis on your campus, you can quickly notify people.

Contests. You could hold a contest and give prizes to random people who respond to your message or complete a student satisfaction survey or other desired behavior.

There are many more ways to use text messages in your marketing strategy.

But for me, the above reasons are why I wish more schools were taking advantage of this amazing tool!

So how do you get started in text message marketing? Choose a text message marketing service provider.

Like email service providers, text message marketing service providers not only give you the ability to send out massive text blasts, they also give you a good number of metric and reporting tools as well to know how your campaign is doing.

There are many text message marketing service providers out there, so make sure that you look through them to find the right one for you.

Keep in mind that you want a service that’s easy to use, offers good customer service, and sends out SMS texts.

SMS texts will reach audience members who do not receive email-based texts. This is the technology that text messages used before Internet-based texts came along with apps like the Apple Message app.

Decide on your shortcodes.

Some of your text message campaigns will need a shortcode. These are the shortcodes that students will text to the number that you provide when they respond to your message.

These shortcodes should have a clear connection to whatever it is you’re offering or sharing with your audience.

For example, if you send a text asking them to download your latest white paper on budgeting for college, choose keywords like ”budget” or “financialaid.” The student will then text this word to whatever number your text message marketing service provider provides them (something easy like 9999).

And keep it short. No one likes to text long words.

Plan when you’ll text your audience.

Not every text blast needs a response. Some texts can simply be reminders for appointments or special events.

The best time to send a text message marketing message is within a couple hours of when you want your audience to take action.

Click to tweet

Text messages have a very short shelf life, and so you don’t want to send them out much earlier than that.

Keep in mind that there are legal considerations with text message marketing that limit when you can send messages to your audience. You can only send text messages between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (local time of the recipient).

Grow your list.

Because text messaging is similar to telemarketing, there are many more restrictions on it that don’t apply to other marketing activities like email.

But again, this is a good thing because it reinforces good marketing practices.

In this case, you’re required to get the written consent of the people you’re sending text messages to. You can do this in both print and digital format.

Which means you can embed consent forms on your website, landing pages, online enrollment forms, or in emails.

You can also include opt-in language in your admissions packages so that when students give you their cell phone number, they can check a box to give you permission to send them texts.

As with all opt-in forms, make sure you use a clear message that tells them exactly what you’ll be sending them and why they’d be happy to receive text messages from you. Something like…

“Opt-in to our text message list and receive exclusive offers, special event info, and important alerts via text or SMS!”

Keep it natural.

Text messaging is a personal, immediate way to communicate. Don’t use academic or formal language.

Keep it casual and natural.

Measure your results.

Create reports on each text campaign you send and measure the results.

Find out what your students really want to hear from you and when. The only way to do this is by tracking your metrics as you try new things.

Get closer to your audience.

Prospective students are making one of the toughest and most costly decisions of their lives. Getting more personal in your tone or medium is one way that you can show them that you’re here to help.

Text message marketing is one way you can not only drive results in your education marketing, but you can also make a difference for the prospective student who needs a useful, timely guide in this important decision.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by Andrey Popov via Adobe Stock

The post Text Message Marketing for Higher Ed: Getting Closer to Your Audience with SMS appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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The whole point to inbound marketing is to get your target audience to come to you, and upon arrival, perform the actions you want them to take.

Inbound marketing relies on fresh, consistently top-quality content that answers your audience’s questions (information) or piques their interest (entertainment) to draw your audience to your website and eventually to your front door.

If you’ve built a good set of what Joe Pulizzi calls “epic content,” then you can bank on the fact that they will come.

If You Build It, He Will Come - Field of Dreams (1/9) Movie CLIP (1989) HD - YouTube

So, here are 10 ideas for enrollment marketing to keep your marketing fresh and enticing. 1. Video replays of live events.

Special lecture series, choir and symphony concert series, sports, and other live events can be published throughout the year. Consider experimenting with Facebook Live or YouTube Live to increase engagement with your audiences.

2. Tweet at live events.

Use photos and group selfies at live events to generate buzz and fill up your Twitter feed.

3. Create student testimonial videos.

Short videos you can publish throughout the year on social media feeds. Record and edit multiple videos at a time and publish over time. Consider using content creation tools for an inexpensive way to create testimonials.  

4. Put on a photography contest of your campus on Instagram.

This works for all the student photographers on campus as well as all those who have a smartphone (which is all of them). Give out creative prizes for different categories of photos: “Best Selfie,” “Best Landmark Pic,” “Best Faculty Pic,” etc. Publish the pics on the school Instagram,Twitter or Pinterest accounts.

5. Start a student ministry team to visit churches and youth camps.

A successful strategy used by many faith-based colleges to generate leads and brand recognition is to assemble one or more student ministry teams and schedule ministry trips to churches, student ministries, or youth camps.

Basically, the idea here is to get your admissions office off campus and where prospective students are. Of course, there are many more options available to take advantage of this strategy.

If you already do this, utilize 1-4 as part of the ministry team’s communication plan.

6. Put a band/chorale/acting troupe of students together and tour local fairs, civic centers, and churches.

Much like the idea above, assemble student chorales, music bands, or acting troupes and schedule visits to local, public events where you can meet and talk to new prospective students. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the energy in these conversations as prospects are excited by seeing the talent and performance of your students!

7. Mobilize student volunteers to help at local high schools.

Mentoring programs, after school activities, tutoring, clean ups, or any events that need adult volunteers are a great way to get your students and admissions staff on high school campuses. These opportunities will allow you to really “live out your brand” as the public sees your organization giving back.

And, while they are volunteering, be sure to wear matching t-shirts with your school name, URL, and social media addresses. Use every opportunity to be living billboards.

8. Host a sports clinic.

Have a strong sports program? This idea may be for you. Organize a sports clinic for high school students. Help them sharpen their skills and knowledge of the sport while generating leads and boosting your brand recognition. Then follow up with these students on a regular basis after they have had a positive experience on your campus…even from a younger age than you typically would market.

9. Create and publish white papers answering common questions from parents and students.

In inbound marketing, this is a classic, go-to strategy. It’s simple, and when done right—it works.

Success in white papers begins with a solid understanding of the questions parents and prospective students are asking. Meet with your admissions staff to get a real feel for what students and parents want to know.

Once you know their questions, write out the answers in white papers (like an informal essay), checklists, or a numbered list. Here are just a few questions students and parents are asking:

  • What do I need to be ready for college?
  • How do I choose the college that’s right for me?
  • How can I afford college?
  • What questions should I ask on a campus visit?
10. Design infographics explaining topics potential students have questions about.  

Infographics are fantastic content pieces because they’re so easily shareable, and the visual element is powerful and memorable. Visually breaking down complex topics for your audience makes it easy for them to digest the information and come to view you as their source for insights on the topic of higher education.

Some examples:

  • The most popular fields of study and careers associated with them
  • Breaking down the application process
  • Detangling financial aid
  • The types of financial aid available
11. Host a video tour of your campus.

This is a list of 10 ideas—but here’s a bonus! Hosting a video tour is a compelling way to show prospective students the layout of your campus and some of the friendly personalities they’re likely to meet there.

Dorm room tours can be lead by RA’s or other student leaders. Classroom tours can be led by faculty. Campus grounds and hall tours can be led by campus staff leaders.

There are a number of inexpensive cameras that can do this for you without a major production. Be creative and innovative!

Bottom line is that your website and social media feeds should be dynamic sources of content.

So be creative and keep the content flowing. Websites and social media profiles are not one-off projects that you create and then walk away from. A website (unlike a viewbook) is not a one and out. It is living and breathing, and content is the fuel and the life blood of a successful website.

Remember to look at your website and other digital marketing channels as dynamic sources of content where you consistently post new content that answers your audience’s most pressing questions. Keep it fresh!

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured Image by gustavofrazao via Adobe Stock

The post 10 Content Ideas for Enrollment Marketing appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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Frustrated that Gen Z prospective students aren’t opening your emails? Buck the trend with these tips to improve your email open rates!

No matter what current email open rates might say, email marketing is far from dead.

As you can see in my post above, 99% of all consumers check their email every day. And when it comes to Millennials, 73% prefer email from businesses and organizations rather than other channels.

Of course, we don’t have near the amount of data on Generation Z prospective students as we’d like to have.

But it’s safe to assume that email is still the number one digital form of communication – even for those between 10 and 22 years of age.

If this is true, why is it so incredibly difficult to get Gen Z prospects to open their emails?!

Probably the biggest reason is inbox over saturation.

If your prospective students are anything like my Gen Z son, their inbox is absolutely flooded with emails from higher education institutions like yours.

Even if he opened every single one of these emails, he wouldn’t have the time to reply or fill out the enrollment forms for all of them.

This over saturation occurs in print marketing as well, with education marketers stuffing the mailboxes of high schoolers every year.

While over saturation isn’t going away anytime soon, there are proven ways to improve email open rates – even among the elusive Generation Z.

Here’s my top ten list on how to raise your email open rates.

Buy lists with caution.

I have no problem with buying a mailing list for direct mail acquisition campaigns. Done right, direct mail acquisition campaigns are part of a healthy lead generation strategy.

So why the caution with buying email lists?

Because prospective students view their email inbox as more personal than their mailbox.

Unwanted solicitations are much more annoying via email than direct mail. As a result, buying email lists can depress your email open rates.

Click to tweet

Why is email so much more personal to Gen Z?

Generation Z grew up with screens making up their view of the world.

They explored their world through screens in every room of the house, mobile devices in their pockets, computer displays on the refrigerator, school projects done completely online, and more.

For them, there’s no hardline separation between their online and offline lives. All of it is their real life.

What someone says online is just as impactful as if they said it offline to them. For many, their online friendships are just as deep as their friendships offline.

There’s also the fact that online relationships are much more controllable.

From blocking unwanted ads to unfriending those they don’t want to hear from anymore, your prospective students view their digital realm as a much more personal, intimate space than the mailbox where anything can happen.

Beyond annoying your audience, there are anti-spam laws to consider.

I’m not exactly where the line is between unsolicited emails and spam, so you might not get in trouble with the CAN-SPAM law of 2003.

However, if you send unsolicited emails and they are marked as junk by the reader, your email service provider can flag your account as a potential spammer. You DO NOT want this to happen.

For all these reasons, it’s important to gain permission to market to your Gen Z prospective students in such a personal way as email marketing.

Think about purging your list.

If you have a sizable email list of 1,000 emails or more, I highly recommend an email list purge.

Start by filtering your email list to identify those who haven’t opened your emails in the last year or so. (This should be simple enough with email service providers like MailChimp.)

When you find them, send them an email asking them if they want to stay subscribed or not.

For most education marketers, the idea of shrinking their email list is scary.

But sending email campaigns to addresses that haven’t opened your emails for a long time hurts your email open rates.

Plus, it gives you bad marks with ISP’s who can block your emails or send them straight to the junk email folder.

Commit to content marketing.

It’s hard to stress enough how important it is to commit to creating a steady stream of quality content.

To improve email open rates, prospective students must know you’ve got something in your emails worth reading.

Email announcements and other campus news is okay, but these news items should be coupled with content that serves your prospective student as much as possible.

Too many news-only emails without helpful content will lead to stagnate or worsening email open rates.

Don’t fret about the best date/time to send.

Have you ever been ready to send your email campaign, but then stopped because you didn’t know when the best date/time was to send it?

While I’m sure there are times when your emails are more likely will be read, I think people make too much of this mythical best time.

Finding the best time/date to send your email is like trying to find a unicorn.

If you want to pinpoint the absolute best time to send your email to get the highest email open rates, go for it. There are plenty of studies out there with different approaches on this.

But don’t let “analysis paralysis” get in the way.

Your audience is different than anyone else’s, so the studies, which show best send times, might not end up being true for your audience.

The bottom line is: The worst time to send is “never.”

Choose the best date/time that you can, and then watch the results in your email open rates. Then, pick another date/time, and see if you can beat those results.

After a time of sending and testing, you’ll get a feel for when your audience likes to receive your emails.

Avoid these words.

There are some words that email marketers have found to be detrimental to email open rates.

For example, stay away from words like free, help, and reminder. Other words to avoid include cash, quote and save.

Most education marketing has nothing to do with these words, so this shouldn’t be difficult, but you might be surprised how these words slip their way into your copy.

Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in.

Many education brands are nervous about saying anything with conviction, fearing that they might turn off someone or a group of people with their stand.

The result is they pretty much say little about anything important that could differentiate them from other brands.

But education brands should make a stand on their institutional values.

Some examples:
  • A brand can stand for excellence, which means they’re against mediocrity.
  • A brand can stand for environmental stewardship, which means they’re against careless waste.  
  • A brand can stand for creative innovation, which means they’re against playing it safe.

This can feel risky, but check out how this little community college did it.

And they’re getting great results.

Don’t be afraid to take a stand on what you believe. If your institutional values aren’t someone’s cup of tea, they have other educational options.

You can’t be everything to everyone — so be yourself!

Get personal.

There’s nothing that gets the delete button faster than emails that come from institutions.

Emails with institution names in the “from” line appear too cold and impersonal.

To improve email open rates, try sending your next email campaign with the name of someone your audience would know, like your president, VP of advancement, recruitment officers, etc.

People have relationships with people, not with organizations. So make your campaigns as personal as possible.

No Gimmicks.

This should go without saying, but everything in your email should be as true and accurate as possible.

Don’t exaggerate about alumni accomplishments or “claim” successful people as alumni who really only took one course at your school.

If you’re marketing a capital campaign, speak only of the buildings that are going to be remodeled or built, and be accurate in your description. If it’s only a remodel, tell them.

If part of your campaign is to go to another cause, like scholarships or your annual fund, be up front and show clearly what the priorities of the fundraising campaign are.

Gimmicks and unclear promises that never come true are the surest way to hurt your email open rates.

Think through your subject lines.

After the “From” line, the first thing readers see in their email inboxes is the subject.

Consequently, the subject line could be the most important copy you write.

You should spend considerable time thinking through your subject line – it’s that critical.

Keep subject lines…

  • Personal. Talk straight to your reader as a friend. (Example: “Can you make it?”)
  • Short. All email inboxes will cut off your subject line at some point. So keep your character count to +/- 25 characters in the subject, and +/- 85 characters in the pre-header text.
  • Useful. Don’t be afraid to tell them what’s inside the email. Don’t be so mysterious that your reader just deletes the email.
Use cliffhangers.

Cliffhangers are those moments in your Netflix series that make you watch the next episode instead of going to bed when you should.

Learn to write cliffhangers for your email subject lines, pre-header text, and social media copy to entice your readers to click.

Cliffhangers are a way of making your reader curious about a story you’re telling.

Good cliffhangers in email subject lines make readers wonder:

  • “What’s going to happen?”
  • “Who’s going to be there?”
  • “What happened to her?”
  • “What will I miss?”
  • “What’s in it for me?”

Here are cliffhanger ideas for email subjects.

  • “Angie couldn’t believe it!”
  • “He’ll never be the same.”
  • “Will I see you tomorrow?”

Cliffhangers like these are not gimmicks or bait-and-switch.

When readers open your email and they see the answer to the cliffhanger, your education brand loyalty will grow and email open rates will improve. They know they can trust you.

Improving email open rates isn’t impossible.

You might be struggling with this for some time. And that’s okay.

Email marketing is never done, and it takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Contact us today for help raising your email open rates.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

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Unicorn image by Catmando via Adobe Stock

The post 10 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates for your Gen Z Audience appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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Marketing shouldn’t stop when a prospect becomes a student. Here are ways to use education marketing to increase student retention and continue building your brand.

In education marketing, the emphasis is almost entirely on the prospective student with the goal of motivating them to enroll in your school.

And while it’s true that enrollment should always be the primary objective, education marketers also need to implement strategies that…

There are lots of good reasons for marketing to current students.

Cost Savings

Just like in any other business, the marketing cost for student retention is much less than acquiring a new student.

Brand Ambassadors

More importantly than the cost savings is the fact that current students will go on to become your biggest brand ambassadors!

Marketing to current students gives them opportunities to share their experience with others.

And one of the big factors in college decisions is knowing people who are currently in the school a year or two ahead.

So if you’re not marketing to current students, they’ll never become the ambassadors you need them to be.

Education Brand vs. the Department

While in school, students naturally form strong relationships and affinities toward the faculty, staff, and students of their department of studies.

This is great for forging long-lasting relationships – and it can produce transformational gifts in the future for those specific departments.

However, if you market to your current students, you can deepen their relationship with your education brand rather than just a love for their department.

This goes a long way when raising annual funds.

When donors believe in the vision of your entire educational institution — not just their department or degree program — raising undesignated funds like your annual fund gets much easier.

Cultivating future annual fund donors starts with marketing to current students.

Increasing Your Market Value

Marketing to increase student retention  will enhance your school’s market value. Think about it.

The more students you retain, the more students will graduate.

And higher graduation rates mean more value for your school.

When you rank higher, more alumni tend to give, and the perceived value of your education grows.

So while you shouldn’t let up on acquiring new students, smart education marketers find ways to market to current students.

Click to tweet

But how do you use education marketing to increase student retention?

1. Launch a welcome campaign.

When a prospective student enrolls, it’s time to solidify your relationship with a welcome campaign.

New student welcome campaigns should be viewed as a marketing and a student life project.

On one hand, your welcome campaign should reinforce your education brand’s marketing message. But it should also serve a practical purpose.

The welcome campaign should help incoming students orient themselves to life at your school so they can get as much as possible out of their new experience.

Welcome campaigns should cover basics such as…

  • Getting around the campus,
  • Accessing databases and libraries,
  • Where to get help,
  • Important dates and deadlines, etc.

This is a time to create a real emotional connection between the student and your education brand as you welcome them and show them just how much they mean to your college or university.

So, should this be in the hands of the marketers or student life services?

Both, if possible.

Since new student welcome campaigns touch both the responsibilities of student life and marketing, I recommend that both departments collaborate as much as possible on this campaign.

2. Brand all of your student life services messaging.

Current students will constantly be interacting with the student life team for events, news, general information, and personal development.

The student life team should certainly be running the show when it comes to these communications, but they need to be informed of your school’s messaging strategy.

All student life communications should carry your educational institution’s branding.

And each communication should use the slogans and language you’ve crafted to express your school’s value proposition.

This way, you’ll remind current students of the value they’re getting from their education every time they receive communication from the student life team.

3. Send regular marketing newsletters to current students.

Every current student should automatically be subscribed to your school’s email newsletter to keep them informed and curious about what’s happening throughout the campus and the various programs you have.

Send announcements to current students about…

  • Newly launched academic programs,
  • Interesting speakers coming to campus,
  • Student testimonials,
  • Alumni testimonials,
  • Campus upgrades,
  • New policies that make student life better,
  • Messages from the president or other executives, etc.

Basically, use email marketing to continue an ongoing conversation between your school and the student.

Otherwise, they’ll get tunnel vision and only experience what’s happening in their particular department.

4. Ask for opinions.

Every now and then, send out student surveys to gather feedback from your current students.

This not only provides your faculty and staff with valuable information on the quality of their academic programs, it will give you good insights into what makes your school so special.

You can use this feedback to enhance your marketing messaging and strategies.

And of course, asking for opinions is a way to show current students that your school is listening to them.

They matter.

Their experience matters, even if you can’t fix every problem or give them everything they’re asking for.

5. Create content pieces just for current students.

We’ve talked a lot in this blog about using content marketing to attract and cultivate new prospective students.

But you can use content marketing to reach your current students as well!

Here are ideas on content pieces you can create that will help you with your student retention goals:

  • Infographic on better study habits,
  • Video series on how to develop strong friendships while in college,
  • Blog posts discussing the history of school traditions or programs,
  • White papers explaining the differences between your degree offerings, or
  • Podcasts from your executive leaders about issues your education brand cares about.

These are just a few of the ways you can use content marketing to build your brand’s relationship with your current students.

6. Ask for student help in your marketing department.

So many students are looking for ways to get real-world experience in their chosen fields.

Choosing students who’re interested in marketing for your team can be an incredible win-win.

Of course, you can ask them to volunteer their time, but I highly recommend that you compensate these intelligent student helpers with whatever your budget allows.

But even if you’re running things on a shoestring budget, you can still compensate your student staff with a work-study scholarship for working in the marketing department.

7. Feature current students in your marketing.

Another way to increase student retention is to feature current students’ experiences with your school in marketing campaigns.

Student testimonials, especially in video format, are powerful content pieces.

And the good news is that your video marketing doesn’t have to break the bank!

For the prospective student, there are few things as convincing as hearing from a student close to their age sharing about what life is like in your school.

But there’s also something in it for the current student.

Being featured in a video or other form of content makes your current student feel that they play a special role in the life and success of your school.

They need to know they matter to you – and featuring their story is one of the best ways to do just that while serving your marketing goals.

Better Student Retention through Marketing

Student retention is a big deal.

And it’s not just a job for the student life services team or the faculty.

As an education marketer, you’ve a part to play in motivating students to stay until graduation and building their loyalty to your education brand.

So don’t wait for graduation to begin marketing to your current students. Now is the time to begin building a life-long relationship with each and every student!

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by Syda Productions via Adobe Stock

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It seems a new marketing method comes on the scene nearly every day. Many of those are well worth our time and effort to explore and use. But let’s not forget a method that is tried and true: email marketing.

Who still reads their email?

The short answer is everyone. Even those in Generation Z. While it might not be their heaviest patrolled social channel, Len Shneyder of MarketingLand says email is still the world’s number one method of communication – even those between the ages of 10 and 22.

In addition to the traditional audience for colleges, universities and independent K-12 schools, email is widely read by the target audience for adult, graduate and seminary degrees.

Click to tweet

According to Hubspot, 99% of all consumers check their email every day. In addition, 73% of the Millennial Generation prefer email from business and organizations over other methods of communication.

And one more statistic to win you over — 77% of people would rather receive promotional communication through email than social media channels or SMS.

There’s another critical truth about email marketing we must address, which is how many users open and click through email content on mobile devices.

The importance of mobile-first

We live in a mobile-first world, and email marketing is no exception to that rule. More than half of emails are opened on mobile devices. When developing your email marketing campaign, it’s imperative you choose a layout and format suitable for a mobile-first view. Here’s how:

  • Imagery first: A person opening email on their phone will always be more drawn in to a visual first. It could be a static image or a video file.
  • Personalization: Statistics show that emails with personalization in the subject line are 26% more likely to be opened. Not many of us enjoy reading an email that is clearly not personalized saying things like “Dear Sir or Madame.” Using videos inside email marketing campaigns personalizes it even further. I’m a big fan of BombBomb. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a software allowing you to send simple video to your audience in the email body itself. I’ve used it a lot recently and had excellent results. Here’s an example.
  • Most important content: Think about the inverted pyramid style of writing. The most important information needs to come at the top/beginning of your email.
  • Consider color: The bottom line is there’s psychology behind colors. While there is no right and wrong answer, it is important that your calls to action and your buttons contrast dramatically with the background color to encourage clicking through.
  • Keep content minimal: The ideal situation is for your user to either click through to your website or take some other form of action. Therefore, point them in that direction in as concise a manner as possible. According to Hubspot, the ideal length for a marketing email is between 50 and 125 words.
Know and segment your audiences

I’ve written in the past about the importance of knowing your audience when it comes to a successful email marketing campaign. Specifically in higher education, you could be emailing to prospective traditional students, prospective adult, graduate and seminary students, alumni and friends of the college or university.

When segmenting these lists for the appropriate emails, think about what questions they might be asking. And, then answer them. It’s really that simple. The power of the content in your email comes from you understanding the audience and its needs.

Since you are dealing with such a variety of audiences, take some time to tap into the departments at your school dealing directly with them each day. This will help you come up with a list of questions they’re asking. When you answer them in your email marketing campaigns, you become the expert in your field – which is exactly where you want to be.

How and when to send your emails

It matters. And, while evidence shows certain days of the week and times of the day are more successful for email reading rates, it will likely differ per college, university or independent school.

Using automation for your email marketing campaigns is a must. Be it Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Drip, or others, the reporting aspect of each can help you be very pointed about when you send emails. And, you can bank on the fact that each of your segmented audiences will open their emails during different peak times. Pay attention to these and adjust your campaigns accordingly.

Ensuring a quality landing page

It doesn’t do much good to create a beautiful, well thought-out email if what the user ends on is not effective. They’ll just end up shaking their heads.

If you’ve taken the time to point your user somewhere, make sure it communicates exactly what you want them to do next. And, make it easy on them. Just like everything I’ve said so far, that landing page needs to be mobile-responsive and user-friendly.

Here are a couple of examples
  • You recently sent an email to alumni regarding your Fall Homecoming events. Your objective behind the campaign is to get people to sign up to volunteer. When adding a “click here” button to this email, it should point the user directly to a sign-up form to volunteer. That sign-up form should be mobile-ready and easy to fill out.
  • Another example would be when you’ve targeted high school juniors (and their parents/guardians) in your enrollment and marketing funnel. The purpose of the email is to promote an upcoming financial aid seminar you’re holding on campus. The email itself should give “teasers” about the upcoming event and should then point the user to sign up. The landing page should then have all the details of the event along with a very brief and easy-to-use form.
There’s more life to email marketing

A lot more life. If your school isn’t already including email marketing campaigns in its mix, it’s time to bring it back. If you’re already using it, it’s time to use it even more effectively.

To schedule an in-depth audit of your higher education email and digital marketing efforts, please give us a call or send us an email today!

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured Image by adiruch na chiangmai via Adobe Stock

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With every generation, education marketers must consider changes in culture. Especially when marketing to multiple generations, you’ve got to mark the cultural differences well.

For years, Millennials have dominated the minds and strategies of education and enrollment marketers.

They are a large generational cohort, and so there have been enough of them to market to as traditional undergrad students as well as adult students.

But now there’s a generational shift happening. The first members of Gen Z are coming of high school and college age.

And this has significant implications for how enrollment markers should approach their brand messaging to traditional undergrad students.

But adult and online students who are returning to finish, further, or begin their higher education will still be in the Millennial generational window.

This generation gap will force enrollment marketers to begin marketing to multiple generations for the next four to five years.

Marketing to Multiple Generations Begins with Personas

If you haven’t gotten serious about identifying your marketing personas, now is the time to do so.

Well-defined marketing personas will help you and your team create laser-focused content for both your Gen Z, traditional undergrad (TUG) students and your Millennial adult and online students.

In my experience, the best marketing personas go beyond raw demographic data.

Take your stats, like “45 – 60 year-old female,” and craft something more personal like…

“Sally, a stay-at-home mom who worries just as much about her children now in college as she did when they were home—maybe more.”

Although “Sally” is fictional, this kind of marketing persona allows your creative team to create relevant, compelling content for audience members in that demographic.  

Personas like this help us put a face to the data so that we can create emotive, or emotionally compelling, narratives that draw our target audience into our content.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when creating your TUG and adult student marketing personas.

Gen Z: What We Know

Unfortunately, we don’t know very much.

But we do have a few insightful studies and observations showing some emerging trends.

Digital Natives

The digital world is so embedded in the daily activities of a Gen Z prospective student, it has become essential to their experience of the world and their expression of themselves.

In particular, social media is very important to Gen Z because it is the digital equivalent of social life.

Getting serious about social media by creating a social media marketing team will become more and more necessary for education marketers to stay relevant with Gen Z prospective students.

Click to tweet

Realistic

They are the only generation not to know what the world was like before 9/11. They’ve never known a day without a 24-hour news cycle.

They’re also growing up in homes that were significantly affected by the Great Recession that started in 2008.

All of this means that you need to keep your messaging grounded in the realities of life so that it doesn’t come across as inauthentic.

Independent

Having grown up with the wonders of the Internet, Gen Z prospective students are not used to relying on any kind of institution for help.

If they need to know how to fix something, they don’t go to the hardware store, they go to YouTube.

If they need to study, they don’t go to the library, they go to Wikipedia.

This kind of knowledge independence means that Gen Z prospective students are looking for private colleges and universities to provide them something different.

Mentorship, character-building experiences, helpful social networks – these are just a few of the  benefits of higher education that Gen Z will be more attracted to.

In short, don’t compete with Google in your marketing.

Security

Gen Z is looking for security.

They want you to reach them digitally, because that is the world they know and are comfortable with.

Their realism can sometimes border on pessimism, leading them to distrust any messaging that is too optimistic or cheery.

And their independence can be caused by their distrust of institutions rather than a pioneering spirit.

In other words, they’d rather find out for themselves because they don’t trust that traditional institutions are going to give them real answers.

When crafting your messaging for Gen Z, it’s important to show them how their investment in their education at your institution will bring them a return.

Present information like job placement rates, alumni stories, and career-oriented programs to Gen Z students so they know that choosing your educational institution is a rational choice supported by real data.

Millennial Adult and Online Students

When you market to adult and online students, Millennials, you’ll have to approach them a little differently.

Marketing to Millennials as adult and online students is different than marketing to Gen Z prospective students for two main reasons:

  • Millennials are a different generation with different behaviors, and
  • Millennials have responsibilities like raising children and careers that shape their fears, needs, and desires.

So here are the main characteristics I recommend for your Millennial marketing persona:

Digital Immigrants

Older Millennials remember a time without high-speed Internet and instant connectivity.

Their childhood saw the beginning of computers in classrooms, the rise of the big social media platforms, and the shift towards digital content marketing.

Like Gen Z, make sure you’ve got your digital marketing covered. However, there will be a few differences.

For example, consider increasing your presence on more career-oriented social media sites like LinkedIn.

Professional Millennials are also active on networking sites like Meetup, so make sure you are posting events for adult and online students there.

Freedom

Location-independent. Flexible. Freelancer.

Millennials have been breaking the mold of what it means to have a career in today’s modern economy.

When marketing to adult and online students, be aware that many of them are not going to be looking for traditional, 9-to-5 jobs.

Many of them will be coming back to school or continuing their studies because they want to do work that brings them freedom for their lifestyle.

Show the lifestyle freedom your education programs can bring by emphasizing flexibility in your messaging.

Enforce this freedom motif through images and video that show Millennial professionals taking their work around the world.

Entrepreneurial

Millennials are famous for their entrepreneurial spirit.

Most of them are optimistic about the future, and they want to carve out their own identity and future.

Stress the aspects of your business and professional programs that can help Millennial adults achieve their entrepreneurial or startup dreams.

Responsibilities

Millennial adults are beginning to feel the weight of their responsibilities like never before.

Many of them are becoming parents for the first time. Others are changing careers. Others are facing mortgages and hefty student loan debt.

No matter what generation we’re a part of, growing up will always make its way to us at one time or another.

When marketing to your adult and online students, don’t forget to touch on the fact that your program is an investment, not a cost.

They are investing in their careers and their families.  

Use all of these areas of responsibility to show how your Millennial prospective student can make an investment that will pay off dividends in the future.

Your adult and online students understand that life’s not all about them.

Now their personal desires are starting to involve more and more people like their spouses, children, churches, and communities.

So your marketing needs to touch on these important themes when reaching out to your adult students.

Times are a’changin’…

As an enrollment marketer, these generational shifts are important.

And when marketing to multiple generations, it’s even more critical that you understand the nuances between how your TUG students and your adult students think and feel.

Have any thoughts you’d like to share about these changing generations? A question?

Share them in the comments below!

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by AboutLife via Adobe Stock

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Higher ed enrollment marketers have had their sights set on Millennials for a while now. But it’s time to change your strategy to reach Gen Z prospective students.

According to William Strauss and Neil Howe, authors of Millennials Rising, Millennials are anyone born from 1981 to 2004. Others, like the Pew Research Center and Ernst & Young define Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996.

Either way you slice it, you get the picture.

Millennials are those who have one foot in the passing analog world and one in the new digital world.

Older Millennials remember when phones were on walls and had cords.

They remember having to wait for their favorite program to come on TV.

They remember the horror of realizing their favorite album was too scratched up to play in their CD player.

But while these nostalgic characteristics of Millennials are fun to think about, education and enrollment marketers really didn’t have to focus on that.

The truly important thing for education marketing was Millennials’ psychographics, the way they view themselves and the world.

The World of Millennials

Millennials grew up in a positive and growing economy and have an incredibly high amount of buying power.

However, their risk tolerance was curbed by events like the 9-11 terrorist attack and the 2008 recession.

When Millennials started coming of age, technology had gotten to the point where the costs of starting a business, especially online, were becoming much more accessible by more people.

You've Gotta Love Millennials - Micah Tyler - YouTube

So between all of these factors, Millennials started the trend towards a location-independent, freelance-style economy.

This is often called the “gig economy,” because the work centers more around the current “gig” than on a career with a certain employer.

Millennials also tend to have a positive outlook on life, focusing on areas of social justice and advocacy.

They’ve become accustomed to a 24 hour news cycle, and this fuels their view of the world.

Marketing to Millennials

Once education marketers realized in the early 2000’s that we were marketing to a new generation – Millennials – we began to change our messaging strategy to fit their way of seeing and interacting with the world.

We started to create digital strategies that would get our marketing messages where they were hanging out.

We began doubling down on content marketing, knowing that they were more likely to trust brands that answered their questions rather than simply shouting at them with ads.

All of this was good, and brought in great results. We see that these strategies will continue to be successful.

But education and enrollment marketing will now have to shift again as we meet the next wave of prospective students – Gen Z.

Meet the New Prospective Student, Gen Z

According to many sociologists, Generation Z or “iGen,” were born after 2001. 

So that means anyone 18 or younger (as of the date of this article in 2019) could be considered Gen Z.

We’ve already seen that content marketing works very well with this young marketing persona, especially when done through authentic channels like live video and email video channels like BombBomb.

But a recent study, analyzed here by Bloomberg, just came out that brings to light some new information I feel is very important for education and enrollment marketers.

There are fewer prospective students than before.

You’ll probably hear in the years to come that Gen Z has surpassed Millennials in number.

Be careful with this statistic.

It makes you think that you’ll have more students to market to, and therefore, more students who will enroll at the end of your enrollment funnel.

But Gen Z outnumber Millennials globally – not nationally!

Here’s where they’re getting this idea of a generation boom though. Gen Z now takes up 32% of the world population according to UN statistics.

But that’s referring to world-wide population, which probably does not affect you as an enrollment marketer so much.

In the study, Bloomberg points out the fact that in the largest economies, this global figure doesn’t reflect the market reality.

“Millennials will continue to represent the bigger proportion in the world’s four largest economies: U.S., China, Japan and Germany. The combined population just shy of 2 billion in those four countries will have a ratio of 100 millennials for every 73 in Gen Z next year.” – Bloomberg

The ratio of Millennials to Gen Z is going to present a massive challenge to higher education enrollment in the future.

If there are “100 millennials for every 73 in Gen Z,” that means there are fewer prospective students to market to.

And if you have fewer people to market to, you’ll have fewer people who’ll end up enrolling in your private college, university, or independent school.

I don’t want to scare anyone. That’s not the point of this article.

There’s no end date on this generation yet, which means there’s a slight possibility that things could change in unexpected ways.

But these trends have enough time and data behind them that it’s fairly well set.

So if these statistics remain true, it means that many education brands will struggle over the next ten to twenty years with low enrollment numbers.

In the coming years, enrollment will not only be affected by a school’s level of marketing savvy, it will be hit hard by sheer mathematics.

At this point, there are and will be fewer people in the higher education student market than there has been in the last two to three generations.

And that will most likely affect enrollment numbers no matter what you do.

While I hope the data changes, as it stands, educational institutions must prepare for this unavoidable reality. 

While you still have the resources to invest, put your efforts into low-cost, high-results strategies like inbound, content marketing. 

Gen Z’s self-reliance will affect their relationship with education institutions.

You might have seen this coming with younger Millennials and their general distrust of established institutions.

This is what has sparked a real entrepreneurial spirit in a lot of Millennials.

For example, a higher percentage of Millennials are choosing to start a business or go freelance than Baby Boomers or Gen X’ers.

But Gen Z takes this self-reliance to a whole new level.

Millennials were introduced to Google and other search engines when these online site indices were in their infancy.

You had to physically go to a computer workstation, turn it on, navigate to the search engine, and type in your question.

Contrast that with today.

Prospective students in Gen Z are growing up with search engines as their personal virtual librarians.

Many of them will be growing up asking Google Assistant and Alexa for answers to their questions.

Beyond the rise of voice-activated search and 24 hour connectivity, Gen Z prospective students are growing up in a world where self-directed, online learning is becoming more popular… and offers a  better quality learning experience.

Online, paid courses like MasterClass, Teachable, Udemy, and Skillshare are innovative education platforms that are shaping how Gen Z students understand the learning process.

Sure, these aren’t academically equivalent to a private college or university education – but they will form the expectations of prospective students to come.

Online courses and constant connectivity to virtual assistants are creating a culture of self-reliance in Gen Z prospective students.

In a report by Ernst & Young LLP, Marcy Merriman, one of EY’s executive directors, stated that while Millennials “looked to others, such as the companies they did business with, for solutions,” Gen Z “naturally sought to create their own solutions.”

What does that mean for education and enrollment marketers?

It means that Gen Z prospective students will look less and less to your educational institution as the authority on anything.

They will no longer automatically look to your education brand to guide them as they “naturally” go about creating “their own solutions” for their career, calling, or job training.

Content Marketing is KEY

To stay relevant to Gen Z prospective students, education marketers have to master content marketing.

Click to tweet

Education brands that use quality content will be able to establish their authority and attract students through search engine optimization – which is getting more and more favorable to good content.

You can leverage Gen Z’s self-reliant bent by publishing content that seeks to answer prospective students’ questions about the issues that your education brand is known for.

When a Gen Z prospective student asks his or her Google Assistant a question, you’ll be more likely to show up in the results if you’re consistently publishing content to answer those questions.

Now your brand authority is backed up by the quality of your content and your search engine ranking rather than your historical prestige.

If trends continue as they are, prestige will become less and less of an attraction for Gen Z prospective students.

They’re looking for a brand that will help them solve their own problems.

Utility and helpfulness will be the trademarks of successful education marketing to Gen Z.

Here to Help

To sum up the two data-based characteristics we see in Gen Z:

  • There will be fewer prospective students to market to in the immediate future.
  • Current and future prospective students are looking for helpful tools to create their own life solutions, as opposed to sage guides telling them how to do it.

Because of these new studies, I’m passionate about preparing private educational institutions for the future of education marketing.

If you need any help navigating these new waters, we’re here to help.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by Jackfrog via Adobe Stock

The post Two Things about Gen Z Prospective Students Every Marketer Must Know [New Study] appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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Content curation for education and enrollment marketing is a must-have in your content marketing strategy. But what kinds of content should you curate?

To be successful at content marketing for your educational institution, you’ve got to publish a lot of quality content regularly.  

For best results, you should create original content as much as possible.

However, many education marketing departments just don’t have the resources to create the large volume of original content necessary for content marketing to work.

This is where content curation comes in.

Why You Need to Curate

Content curation is like art curation. The content marketer searches all media outlets for content related to their industry and relevant to their audience.

Once you have the content you know will serve your audience well and align with your content marketing goals, you need to modify the content so that it reflects your education brand’s value proposition or point of view.

It’s not entirely original, but it’s certainly not plagiarism!

Content curation has a very practical advantage. It gives you more content you can publish because you don’t have to come up with every topic that could be relevant to your audience.

Click to tweet

But there’s an even more strategic advantage to curating quality content.

Content curation shows your audience that your education brand speaks with authority in the conversations that are happening in your audience’s world.

In his book Content, Inc., Joe Pulizzi shares the definition of content curation that his firm, Content Marketing Institute, came up with:

“Content curation is a means by which we either supplement or promote our brand’s point of view to our specific audiences within the context of how the ‘world’ is talking about that particular topic.”

Joe Pulizzi. Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses

Content curation promotes your brand’s “point of view” to your “specific audience within the context of how the ‘world’ is talking about that particular topic.”

That means you’re showing your education brand’s authority by displaying the thoughts of others (sometimes even your competitors) and answering with your brand’s perspective.

So how do you curate content?

If you consider the millions of content producers on the Internet, curating content can feel like drinking the ocean.

But the reality is that you wouldn’t really use the content that most Internet sources would publish.

It’s far more likely that you’ll have a list of ten to as high as thirty content sources that match your target audiences, produce content that you trust, and are relevant to the concerns of enrollment marketing.

Yet even then, do you have time to go to each website and check to see if they’ve published a new article, blog, or video?

Yeah. Me neither.

And I’m really not a fan of signing up for all of their newsletters (although you can certainly do that).

That’s why I recommend that enrollment marketers use feed readers like Feedly, The Old Reader, or Inoreader.

Feed readers aggregate the latest content from the sources you choose using technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

Feed readers like Feedly make content curation for much easier for enrollment and education marketing.

Each time one of your sources publishes a new piece of content, your feed reader receives it and shows you the whole article or a summary.

Feed Readers vs. News Aggregators

By the way, feed readers are not the same as news aggregators like Apple News or Microsoft News.

News aggregators curate content they think you’ll like from sources they know and trust.

On the other hand, feed readers receive and show you all the new articles from the sources that you’ve already chosen.

That means you’ve curated the sources you want, so now all you need to do is curate the content pieces that come to you from your chosen sources.

Content Education Brands Should Curate

Now that you’ve got the tools to almost completely automate curation, what content should you be curating for your marketing personas?

Here’s my list of great content you should be curating for your education marketing audiences:

School Content

Education marketers should aggregate the various content being published across the school’s departments or programs.

In any independent school, private college, or university, there are multiple departments or programs in the school that will be creating content for your target audiences.

Therefore, the first place you should look when curating content for your education brand are the content pieces your school is producing.

School News

Find out which departments of your educational institution are producing and publishing content.

For smaller institutions, this may be as quick as jotting them all down from memory. But if you’re a larger institution with any kind of history, you’ll need to ask around in meetings or around the water cooler to find out which teams or departments have a process of publishing news content.

Collect the URL’s of the blogs, sign up for their email newsletters, or follow their social media platforms to keep up with all the latest news from your fellow departments. Then, distribute their news through your marketing channels.

Executive, Faculty, or Staff Blogs and Articles

It’s very likely that you have staff or faculty who are publishing content somewhere.

Again, ask around and find out where your on campus “experts” are publishing their latest thoughts, aggregate their content as we’ve already discussed, and then distribute their content on your marketing channels.

Just remember, you should include your education brand’s point of view when you redistribute their content.

Even though they are staff, it’s still their content unless it was published by the school. So be careful not to plagiarize.

School Sports News

Many prospective students and their families are highly interested in your school’s sports program. Find out where your sports program publishes its news, aggregate their content, and republish it on your channels.

Alumni Association Content

Alumni development departments or associations do a great job of creating content to cultivate relationships with your school’s alumni. This is a great place to find content that would be interesting to your other marketing personas!

Exterior Content Scholarship, Trusts, and Foundations Information

Finances are among the top concerns of most prospective students. Curated content from scholarship sources like private trusts and foundations or even government scholarship or grant sources will be a big attraction for your education marketing audiences.

Education News (both higher education and primary)

Every now and then, news or developments that interest us in the education space can interest prospective students.

But be cautious with this one!

Students and their families don’t care much about the inner workings of the education sector. If you curate too much of this content, you’ll likely bore your audiences.

Child/Student Development

Psychology content producers often write pieces about how children grow or how to best guide your student as they mature and develop as a human being.

These kinds of pieces are content gold for the parents you want to motivate towards choosing your school.

Learning and Study Strategies

When it comes to the prospective students themselves, they’ll be very interested in any content that shows them principles, hacks, or new insights into how they can be a better student or get better grades.

Job/Career Development

Content from trusted sources relating to career development will ring true with older prospective students looking to come back to school. Popular sources like Forbes are a great place to find good articles in this area.

Topical News and Content that fit your Education Brand

One of the reasons I love working with private colleges, universities, and independent schools is because of the variety.

Private education is all about customization!

There are private institutions that have innovative programs in environmental studies, outdoor recreational leadership, ministerial training, and many more.

So I recommend you curate content related to the specific area that your school specializes in.

Bible schools should curate content from pastoral, church, or religious news sites.

If leadership is a big part of your brand, then hunt for content wrapped around leadership.

If the environment is what you’re all about, then curate content related to environmental issues and breakthroughs.

Although the content you curate will not always relate to the specific details of enrolling at your school, it will establish your school’s authority in the areas your brand wants to speak into.

Market More. Spend Less.

Set yourself free from your shrinking marketing budget with my new ebook Marketing on a Shoestring Budget! This ebook is jammed with practical ways to produce high-quality marketing on the cheap.

Inside, I’ll show you proven marketing tactics like…

  • How to leverage low-cost technologies to reach your target market,
  • How to craft a content marketing strategy on a bare-bones budget,
  • The number one thing your website needs to do,
  • The key to getting free, organic traffic to your website, and more.

No hype. No pie in the sky. Just real solutions for getting the job done with the budget you’ve got.

Download your copy today!

Featured image by georgejmclittle via Adobe Stock

The post Content Curation for Education: What Kinds of Content Should Education Brands Curate? appeared first on Caylor Solutions.

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