Enrollment marketing has changed so much over the past 30 years that it would no longer be recognizable to recruiters who were in the business in the 1980s. An industry that has moved almost exclusively to the Internet, it can sometimes bewilder those who recollect another time. However, as one 30-year veteran recruiter says, “What makes it [enrollment marketing] such an exciting profession is the fact that it reflects the changes of our culture. To succeed, we need to be able to adapt to the changing technology and habits of our prospective students.”
So, how do colleges and universities adapt to the changing world in terms of enrollment marketing? Given the advancing technology, how does a college make the most of its marketing dollar? Obviously, the Internet is one of the most effective tools for reaching out to potential students. However, the fact that there is an Internet does not make enrollment marketing happen automatically any more than the fact that there were printing presses in the 1970s made it automatic then. Successful employment of the Internet and all of its possibilities requires vision and expertise in enrollment marketing.
Successful enrollment marketing requires coordinating web design, social networking, and admissions staff into a cohesive whole that effectively presents and sells a college or university in both an online and physical presence. Most institutions of higher learning contract with a marketing and web development team in order to insure a seamless marketing structure.
Because the demands of higher education marketing are unique, it is best for institutions to work with a team of marketing and web design experts who specialize in higher education marketing. This helps to ensure that both the website and marketing have the look and feel endemic to a university or college environment rather than that of a big business or government operation.
Enrollment marketing also relies on partnerships with social networking sites. A quality higher education marketing and web design company will have access to, and the ability to interact with, the major media and networking sites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, and Twitter. To be competitive in today’s world, it is essential that enrollment marketing be tied to all of these access points.
In addition to simply being present on social media sites, colleges and universities that experience successful enrollment recruiting train their admissions staff to interact with potential students through these networks. Just as in the old days of enrollment marketing, personal follow-up was required after sending a postcard to a prospective student. The new milieu of online marketing still needs that same personal touch.