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Web Design, Marketing & Recruitment

5 Tips for Attracting Students to Your College Website

In 2018, U.S. student enrollment dropped for the seventh straight year, and economists predict the trend will continue, with enrollment decreasing 15% by the year 2025.

US map showing declining college enrollment
Declining enrollment makes it imperative that your institution has a plan to attract students to your college website.Graphic courtesy of Nathan D. Grawe, Carleton College

 

Rather than getting bogged down in the data, use these 5 tips to help you engage and recruit prospective students to your college website.

Don’t go it alone! Contact an OmniUpdate expert to learn more about setting the foundation for a great website.

 

1. Advertise on LinkedIn.

While the traditional student presence on LinkedIn is growing, this platform is where you can engage the non-traditional adult student as well as parents of prospective students.

LinkedIn ad for college marketing
LinkedIn posts can drive traffic to your institution’s website.

 

Because 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members directly impact business decisions in their company, it makes sense to think that, if in the market for higher education, these same people will share and read your institution’s posts.

Use LinkedIn to:

  • Tell your school’s success stories
  • Provide data on employability of recent graduates
  • Showcase how a degree can refresh an existing career or jump-start a new one

LinkedIn also provides resources to college and university marketers to help reach your various student audiences.

2. Become an Instagram addict. 

A whopping 71% of 18-to-24-year-olds visit Instagram daily, so the costs of not having a consistent presence on this platform are hindering your efforts to attract students to your college website.

University of Georgia Undergraduate Admissions Instagram post
The University of Georgia uses Instagram to update students about important admissions information and provides a short URL for their admissions website.

 

Keep your Instagram communication vibrant and stay abreast of web trends with posts that include:

  • Attractive images and graphics
  • Students participating in a variety of campus activities
  • Important dates that serve as reminders
  • Informal conversations in the comments to show that your department cares about student comments

To make it easy for students to find you on various social medial platforms, be sure to include buttons to each social media channel on your website home page.

3. Capitalize on influencer marketing.

In the old days, influencer marketing was the same as a celebrity endorsement. Today, influencers are people with a popular and consistent presence on social media platforms.

Increasingly, students follow influencers and rely on their tips, suggestions, and advice for everything from clothing to makeup to—you guessed it—colleges.

University of Denver Student Ambassadors banner ad
Influencer marketing, like that used by University of Denver, is an up-and-coming trend for attracting prospective students to your college or university website.

 

You have a microcosm of influencers walking around on your campus, and since they are already enrolled, you can bet they have bought into your brand. Capitalize on their audiences by asking them to become brand ambassadors or campus influencers for your college or university.

Simply develop a plan where they commit to posting consistently on given topics such as:

  • A day in the life at your university
  • Their favorite cheap eats around campus
  • Zany interviews with campus professors
  • Dorm room décor

Prospective students who relate to these influencers will begin relating to your brand, which ultimately leads them to your website.

4. Keep content clean and concise.

One of the key principles to effective website design is to forget the fluff content. Instead, make it worth your site visitors’ time to read and engage with the content you provide on your website.

Troy University Admissions web page
Troy University addresses each type of student directly on its college admissions home page, making it easy for students to find their intended path.

 

In addition to undergraduate and graduate students, Troy’s site addresses:

  • Military/Veteran Students
  • International Students
  • Online Learners
  • Accelerate Dual Enrollment Students

It may mean that you need to create completely new content. Or you might need to simply refresh the content you have with new keywords, headings, and organization.

5. Use micro-moments to influence and inspire.

Retail marketers have known for years that a buyer’s goals and behaviors are different at various stages of the buying cycle. The same is now true for students shopping for a college.

Google Micro-Moments ad
Micro-moments is the latest retail marketing tactic to cross over into higher education marketing for college admissions.

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, micro-moments occur when we act on a need to:

  • Learn something
  • Do something
  • Discover something
  • Watch something
  • Buy something

These are the exact moments when preferences are shaped and decisions are ultimately made. College marketers’ intent on driving traffic to their college website must tune in to the stages of the buying cycle and provide content that is personal, direct, relevant, and timely.

The process of recruiting and engaging prospective students is never-ending, and your efforts to attract students to your college website are growing even more challenging. If you feel overwhelmed, choose one tip and implement it before moving on to the next one.

If it’s clear that your school’s website needs a refresh or complete redesign, check out our latest white paper, Design with Purpose: Creating a Performance-Driven Website.

Download white paper

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