Driving Higher-Ed Enrollment through Differentiated Marketing

For higher-ed marketers, the stakes have never been higher. From finding the best ways to communicate with students to balancing short-term challenges and long-term enrollment goals, teams are learning just how necessary it is to deliver differentiated and compelling messaging.

Facing a highly saturated market and an up-and-coming generation of students unlike any seen before, universities will need to develop digital campaigns that demonstrate value and drive action.  
Connecting with Gen Z
These students and prospective enrollments born from 2001 to the early 2010s represent one of the most powerful consumer forces in the market. According to estimates from Inc, Gen Z's buying power is approximately $44 billion — a number that expands to $600 billion considering the influence they have on their parents' spending.

When it comes to successfully connecting with this audience, it’s all about authenticity and value-driven messaging. Some of the factors that drive Gen Z’s purchase behaviors include:

Quality: This group wants to know they’re getting the most for their money. Leveraging alumni history, including graduation rates and post-grad employment, will help to get the value of your university across.
Identity: Generation Z asks whether a university fits their unique identity or if it reflects their own values. How does your university’s mission align with the long-term goals of prospective students?
Peers: Peer and micro-influencers are more important than ever before. Highlight students and alumni in your content and call attention to on-campus life.

By moving away from traditional content and emphasizing an inbound approach, universities can start to gain market share and drive results.    
How social media fits into the equation
Social media should be one of your primary forms of communication with current and prospective students.

As your team begins to create and execute messaging strategies that align with the values and interests of Gen Z, you’ll need to move beyond traditional measures of success such as engagement. Inside Higher Ed recommends the following metrics to keep tabs on how your campaigns are doing:

Total conversation volume: This number represents how many times your institution is mentioned online. Increasing conversation volume over time reflects an increase in word of mouth about your brand.
Earned conversation: This is the percentage of your total conversation volume that doesn't come from any campus accounts. As brand awareness grows, so should your earned conversation.
Voices: How many individuals contribute to the buzz about your campus? A unique and diverse mix indicates a healthy community and a shared affinity for your university.

Done right, your social media platform will help your team to recruit more students and build brand awareness.    
Partnering with a higher-ed marketing expert
For even the most experienced marketing teams, it can seem like a daunting challenge to connect with Gen Z and execute campaigns that speak to their unique values and interests.

At R2i, we can help simplify the process.

We work with universities to elevate their digital campaigns, demonstrating the value and credibility of their programs. Our team will help you eliminate boundaries in reaching target audiences to deliver the right message at the right time.  
If you’re ready to reach more students than ever before and create one-of-a-kind digital experiences that drive action, contact us today.

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