How to Increase Student Enrollment at Your Higher Education Institution

February 9, 2024 | By: Nick Dan-Bergman | 7 min read

In the dynamic world of higher education, attracting and securing student enrollment has intensified, particularly in the post-pandemic era. Students' priorities have shifted, necessitating a fresh, tailored approach. At LaneTerralever, we understand these complexities and champion a personalized marketing strategy. This approach identifies potential students and engages with them meaningfully, leveraging unique aspects like location, facilities, and programs to differentiate your institution.

A personalized higher education marketing strategy ensures your institution stays relevant and agile, adapting to the evolving needs of students. Here’s how we can work together to meet your enrollment goals:

1. Performing Market and Competitive Analysis

Grasping the nuances of the current enrollment landscape and understanding your competition is crucial. It's not just about knowing where you stand; it’s about identifying opportunities to shine. This detailed analysis forms the foundation of a unique value proposition that distinctly sets your institution apart.

Think of it as a deep dive into what makes your school unique – is it your innovative programs, the vibrant campus culture, or the notable achievements of your alums? These elements are more than just features; they are your institution's story. By highlighting these aspects, we can effectively tailor your offerings, ensuring they resonate with specific student segments seeking precisely what you offer.

But it's more than just listing attributes. This analysis involves understanding how your institution's aspects meet potential students' emerging needs and aspirations. It's about aligning your strengths with the evolving expectations of the student body. This alignment helps attract the right students and forge a deeper connection. It goes beyond academic offerings and taps into what they truly value in their higher education journey.

A thorough understanding of the enrollment landscape and competitive environment is a strategic tool. It enables us to craft a narrative that’s compelling and deeply aligned with your future students' needs and aspirations, making your institution the obvious choice for their educational journey.

2. Building Customer Personas

Once we've delved into the market and scoped out the competition, we'll have a clearer picture of your ideal student and insights into their families. Understanding your audience is the cornerstone of any effective brand strategy, and this is where developing detailed customer personas comes into play.

These personas, born from our research, are more than just profiles. They embody your target audience's typical characteristics, behaviors, challenges, and dreams. By crafting these personas with specifics — think names, ages, hobbies, and even job titles — we tailor our communication and what we offer to strike a chord with your ideal students and their families.

But remember, creating these personas isn't a one-off task. It's a dynamic process. As your target audience's needs, goals, and challenges shift, so should our strategy. Staying adaptable and responsive to these changes is vital to staying relevant and resonant with your audience.

3. Creating Engaging Content

A solid content marketing strategy is key to building your institution's credibility and highlighting its unique features. It's all about forging a strong brand identity and connecting with your audience meaningfully.

Imagine crafting content that truly speaks to your audience – blog posts, social media updates, eBooks, videos, and webinars, all packed with insights and information they care about. This isn't just about sharing facts; it's about engaging your audience with content that resonates with their aspirations and aligns with your institution's mission and values.

By drawing on the detailed customer personas we've developed, we can focus our content on what's most relevant to your ideal students. Whether celebrating student achievements, spotlighting faculty expertise, or sharing cutting-edge research, these stories build trust and position your institution as a leader in the educational field.

A solid online presence is crucial in today's digital world. Not only does it help draw in prospective students, faculty, and community partners, but optimizing your content for search engines also boosts your visibility, helping you reach a broader audience. Social media is another powerful tool in your arsenal. Sharing your content here can ramp up engagement, creating community and belonging around your school. A vibrant social media presence can pique the interest of potential students, drawing them in to discover all your institution offers.

Creating content that informs and engages isn't just about standing out in a crowded market. It's about building trust, showcasing your strengths, and inviting new members into your academic community.

4. Implementing Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Having conducted a thorough market analysis, crafted intricate and engaging customer personas of your ideal students, and initiated content creation that resonates with them on their favorite platforms, you're now superbly equipped to launch successful lead nurturing campaigns.

This stage is pivotal. When prospective students show interest in your institution, fostering this budding relationship is critical to converting interest into enrollment. Regular, targeted communication plays a vital role here. By consistently providing relevant, tailored information about your school, you maintain a presence in their consideration set and deepen their connection with your institution.

Effective lead nurturing is about timely and meaningful engagement. It involves sharing updates that align with their interests and aspirations and showcasing aspects of your institution that resonate most with their personas. This could be program highlights, campus life experiences, success stories of alumni, or even updates about new initiatives and developments at your school.

The goal is to keep your institution at the forefront of their minds, gently guiding them through decision-making. This approach ensures that when the time comes for them to choose their education, your institution stands out as a top contender, not just as a choice but as a community they feel connected to and excited about joining.

Email Nurturing 

Email nurturing programs are a strategic way to maintain a constant yet unobtrusive line of communication with potential students, guiding them smoothly from initial interest to enrollment. These programs go beyond primary email blasts; they create a personalized journey for each prospective student, delivering content that resonates with their specific interests and needs, as identified in their detailed personas.

Each email in the sequence is an opportunity to engage and inform. Starting with a warm welcome, followed by tailored messages that showcase your institution's unique programs, vibrant student life, accomplished faculty, and success stories, these emails keep your school prominently in the minds of prospective students. They provide updates and weave a compelling narrative about your institution.

The beauty of email nurturing lies in its balance of personalization and timeliness. Automated yet crafted to feel personal, these emails can offer key information like application deadlines and event invitations, aligning with where the student is in their decision-making process. This approach ensures a seamless and engaging journey, leading prospective students from curiosity to commitment.

User-Friendly Website

A user-friendly and informative website is essential in today's digitally-driven world, as most prospective students begin their educational journey online. A well-designed website not only makes information accessible but also enhances the user experience, ensuring that students can easily find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently.

Our collaboration with Universal Technical Institute is a prime example of the impact of a student-focused website. By partnering with LaneTerralever, UTI developed a website tailored to its core audience, leading to a staggering 98% increase in student inquiries and doubling conversions from organic search traffic. This success story underscores the power of a digital platform that resonates with its audience.

Effective lead nurturing is an ongoing process, not a one-off campaign. It demands continuous research and strategic planning to maintain prospective students' engagement and interest. A comprehensive lead nurturing strategy is vital, guiding potential students from their first interest to their final decision to enroll.

5. Expanding Your Digital Marketing

In an age where digital dominance is the norm, having a robust digital marketing strategy is crucial, especially in the competitive arena of higher education. As businesses and institutions vie for attention in the digital space, standing out requires innovative and strategic approaches.

This is where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns become vital. SEO enhances your institution's online visibility, ensuring your website ranks highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). This makes it easier for potential students to discover you during their online search. On the other hand, PPC campaigns offer targeted advertising, allowing you to precisely reach specific demographics and interests and ensure your ads are seen by the right audience on the right platforms.

Each digital platform has its unique audience and strengths. Tailoring your digital marketing strategies to align with these platforms is key. By understanding where your ideal students spend their time online, you can craft campaigns that effectively reach and engage them, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts.

6. Leveraging Data Analytics

Leveraging data analytics is a game-changer in understanding and optimizing your marketing strategies. It offers many insights into user demographics, behaviors, and the digital platforms they frequent. By analyzing enrollment data, you can uncover trends, assess the success of your campaigns, and fine-tune your approach, ensuring that your strategies are always aligned with the needs and preferences of your target audience.

Tools like Google Analytics are instrumental in this process. They allow you to track website traffic, monitor visitor behavior, and gather crucial insights into how your audience interacts with your online content. This level of understanding is invaluable in crafting a marketing strategy that resonates with your prospective students.

The power of data analytics lies in its ability to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts with precision. By delving into this data, you can identify what's working and what's not, allowing for targeted improvements and data-driven decision-making. This continuous analysis and adjustment process is vital to maintaining a dynamic and effective marketing strategy that consistently engages and attracts prospective students.

7. Building Social Proof & Community

Building social proof and fostering community influence prospective students' decisions. Testimonials, reviews, and case studies from alumni or current students are powerful tools for social proof. They provide a realistic glimpse into what life at your institution is like helping prospective students envision themselves in your environment. This authentic insight is invaluable in assisting them to make informed decisions about their education, from choosing courses to understanding campus culture.

Moreover, establishing partnerships with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and high schools expands your community outreach. These collaborations not only broaden your network, offering access to a broader pool of prospective students and other stakeholders, but they also provide opportunities for internships, employment, and volunteer work, enhancing the practical experience for your students.

Such partnerships and community engagement also keep your institution connected and relevant. By collaborating with local entities, your school stays in tune with industry trends and developments, ensuring that your education and experiences are up-to-date and in line with current market and societal needs. This approach strengthens your institution's appeal to potential students and solidifies its role as an integral and active community member.

Implementing the strategies we've discussed transforms how your institution connects with potential students. In this transformation journey, partnering with LaneTerralever offers the expertise and support you need to bring these strategies to life. Our team specializes in creating personalized, impactful marketing solutions that align with your institution's goals and values. By collaborating with us, you gain access to a wealth of experience in digital marketing, content creation, data analysis, and community building, all tailored to the unique needs of the higher education sector. 

Reach out to LaneTerralever, and let's work together to elevate your institution's presence and appeal, turning prospective students into engaged members of your academic community.

How Graduate Schools Must Change Their Approach in Pursuit of Gen Z

Download Now