With the traditional enrollment cycle coming to a close in June, now is the time enrollment officers and admissions staffs turn their attention to planning for the fall season. But, before you plan, perhaps you should step back and make sure your higher education marketing plan is taking full advantage of everything available to you. So, before you purchase the same ad package, the same search list, and use the same email templates, consider the following.

1. Do you have a higher education marketing plan?

While this may seem silly to ask, many times schools may not operate with a true marketing plan. Yes, there may be budget allocations, specific fairs to attend, the typical communications flow, but do you really have a plan that is measurable and something you can adjust as you understand more data? Be sure to understand your goals and how you plan to achieve those in all of your segments.

2.  Are you marketing or building brand awareness?

Quite a few schools believe they are marketing when really they are simply creating brand awareness through advertising. There is a difference between seeing a billboard and engaging with a call to action that is in an email. Be sure you marketing plan takes into account the best practices that fit your budget. We have seen far too many schools spend too much on brand awareness to appease the board without adding students to the funnel.

3. Are you using the best practices in digital?

Digital marketing changes frequently. Recent changes to Facebook, Google, and Twitter have started to change the landscape. What you did last year might not produce the same results.  SEO has changed. Content is where you need to be. How are you converting the leads to your website and social outposts? Are you answering the questions prospective students and parents have? These call can be achieved best through digital marketing.

4. Are you following or innovating?

One of the biggest tragedies in higher education is the “me too” approach to marketing. Every viewbook seems so similar that they are ignored by prospective students. How can you stand above the noise and really tell your story? How can you innovate with the tools and budget you have to engage prospective students and help them discover how they fit within your institution?

5. Are you fishing where the fish are?

Recent studies have shown that teens spend more time on Youtube than any other media. Teens also have habits that are unique to their demographic and demands creativity. Is your marketing relevant to them and exciting, or predictable and skip-able? Is your higher education marketing strategy reflecting the reality of today’s market, or based upon what you have always done?

Next Steps

Consider using some of your remaining budget from this year to gain the confidence you need going into the fall for your higher education marketing plan. Caylor Solutions is offering a marketing review this spring, ranging from free to $3500. Contact us to learn more how you can gain the confidence you need in your marketing plan by having it professionally reviewed.

What are other steps you are taking? Add comments below.

Photo courtesy of striatic(CC Attribution)

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