Higher education institutions know that their marketing strategies to increase student enrollment must include personalization. But what those marketing efforts look like varies from school to school. Students will expect marketing materials designed to meet their unique needs and interests. So schools that go above and beyond these expectations will see a positive boost in their enrollment rates—and their long-term student engagement.

Make sure you’re matching the right students to your institution from the very beginning by building robust personalized marketing strategies into your initiatives.

Why You Should Build a More Personalized Enrollment Marketing Plan

To put it bluntly, a depersonalized enrollment marketing plan is simply unlikely to appeal to most current students.

Today’s incoming student body expects to find a match (in everything from campus life to academics to the community around them) that will provide a deep, meaningful personal experience for their college years.

When your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment start with personalization, you’re making it clear from the very beginning that you have their interests and needs in mind, and you’re much more likely to get their attention.

Marketing strategies built around personalization are key to successful outreach.

  • Stand Out From the Competition. New students are looking at a range of options, and your school is just one of many they’re considering for higher education. But personalizing your message helps you stand out and brings brand awareness that can positively impact final decisions.
  • Break Through the Noise. Students are inundated with social media posts, brochures, and in-person recruitment events. So they need a reason to listen to you; personalized marketing provides that reason.
  • Tailor Your Message to Different Demographics. From nontraditional students to first-generation students and beyond, college campuses are diversifying, and your personalized marketing campaign is a way to showcase an understanding of student life and academic offerings built around those different needs.
  • Integrate Your Marketing Into Enrollment Strategies. Personalization does not end at acceptance. The metrics you use to personalize the school marketing experience can be carried forward into deeper engagement and enrollment goals. Tailor your welcome packages to get your new students invested in their community from day one.

What Types of Personalization Are Prospective Students Looking For?

Today’s high school students are savvy, focused, and informed. They’ve spent their lives navigating campaigns through targeted ads on smartphones and social media marketing. They’re also invested in finding the right higher education fit that meets their values.

When it’s all taken together, this means your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment need to do more than offer a superficial outreach. Students who share their personal information expect you to use it to make their experience better.

They want tailored experiences based on their interests, chosen academic majors, demographics, and goals. Also consider other resources to find, engage, and recruit students who meet your strategic enrollment priorities, and spark their interest from the beginning of their search.

Marketing Personalization Methods Universities Should Use

You can bring this need for personalization into your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment in a range of methods. When you have customized follow-up to landing pages built with a targeted segment in mind, you can turn data into engagement. Use these methods and tools:

Advanced CRM systems

These enable automated list segmentations and workflows that send dynamic, personalized emails and text messages based on those segmented lists. Some CRMs even allow for custom content and images. This can make every email sent more specifically relevant to each recipient.

Personalized Printing Options

Gain the ability to dynamically insert custom text and images based on recipient lists. Think of it as the traditional mail merge, ported into Adobe Design files to create thousands of postcards, viewbooks, and more in one print run, all personalized to individual students.

Segmented Digital Ads

These can change in messaging and even tone based on the students’ funnel stage, areas of interest, and more. Dynamic ad platforms like Meta (Facebook and Instagram) now allow for advanced targeting and micro-campaign options. So you can use these tools to make every ad more relevant to its audience.

Personalized Student Dashboards

Create fully custom student experiences leading up to and for their start on campus. From student portals to custom interactive maps, these dashboards can shift enough for every student to feel like they’re personally being catered to on their way to college.

9 Marketing Strategies to Increase Student Enrollment and Boost Personalization Efforts

College student creating videos as part of new marketing strategies to increase student enrollment

Once you have these tools in place, it’s important to build a digital marketing strategy that will fully capitalize on them.

Here are nine marketing strategies to help you increase student enrollment numbers. Start using them to turn personalization efforts into deep connections that will help with retention and completion rates.

1. Cultivate Your Brand Identity and Reputation

The delicate balance of marketing to modern-day students is that you want to build strong brand awareness without coming off as superficially “sales-y.” Students are attuned to pushy marketing attempts that don’t deliver meaningful connections. So you must deliver a brand identity and reputation that resonates as authentic, purposeful, and deep.

You can connect with your target audience through alum success stories. These will be especially impactful if you use your personalization data to match success stories to your prospective students through their cultural identity, expected major, and personal interests.

In short, you can show them that your school truly is the right place for students like them, building organic brand awareness by showing instead of (just) telling them they belong.

2. Establish a Content Marketing Strategy

Personalization allows you to leverage search engine optimization (SEO) and relevant content marketing that is likely to get clicks, reads, and shares. Boost your online presence and visibility with content for your target audience.

When you’ve personalized the prospective student journey, you’ll know:

  • What questions they’re likely to have
  • The activities they want to join
  • Which academic subjects capture their attention

All of this can be leveraged into a content marketing strategy built around real engagement and high-quality content that showcases your institution’s strengths—all while giving you the chance to let existing faculty and students show off their work and strengthen their own sense of community engagement.

3. Engage With Your Audience on Social Media Platforms

Social media remains one of the most powerful and direct channels for your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment. However, without leveraging personalization, it risks feeling superficial, overly pushy, and disconnected from students.

Use social media to put out high-quality video content. You can also create personalized hashtags built around your school’s brand awareness. Encourage sharing and engagement between existing students and prospective students and gain organic traffic.

Share candid moments from student life, highlights of academic achievement, and insights from existing students that will connect with potential students in the areas that matter most to them. Sporting events, interest clubs, and cultural programming are clear winners. But don’t overlook smaller, more intimate moments, such as glimpses of everyday life in the dorms and the dining hall.

As Insider Higher Ed explains, some of the most successful TikTok campaigns from colleges and universities have featured not polished, slick marketing campaigns about matriculation rates but “hidden study spots” and “glimpses of the average day in the life of a student.”

Leveraging all of these efforts takes platform-specific strategies built around your personalization data.

4. Boost Your Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t overlook the power of email marketing strategies to increase student enrollment. While it may seem quaint in comparison to today’s fast-paced, social media-driven marketing strategies, students take college enrollment very seriously. Email is the place to grab the focused attention of prospective students.

Personalization in email marketing has to be more than just the student’s name pasted into the top of the same generic message going out to every prospective student. They’re looking for educational institutions to understand their needs, and this is your chance to demonstrate you’re up to the challenge.

Send personalized campaigns geared around their chosen major; also include videos and content written directly by faculty in those programs. Introduce prospective students to existing students through engaging videos and letters.

Then, invite students to in-person events and activities geared toward their demographic and academic area of study.

5. Optimize Your Website for User Experience

Your website needs to be fast, well-organized, and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile views. Many students will access the school’s website through a smartphone, so make sure you optimize your landing pages for mobile devices.

You can also leverage personalization to ensure that prospective students are seeing the information they need most. Design customized landing pages and dashboards created to highlight your school’s strengths that most align with that group of students’ needs.

6. Foster Strong Community Engagement

Students don’t just enroll in school for the academic opportunities. They also want to feel engaged and supported as part of a community of learners and educators. As you speak with prospective students about your rankings and academic offerings, make sure you also provide them the chance for strong community engagement.

Build community through both on-site and virtual events and send out customized invitations to the student segments most likely to benefit from them. Create segments around cultural identity, extracurricular interests, or stated major.

Forums where students can connect and share experiences can help them build one-on-one relationships with existing and prospective students. This gives them a sense of belonging before they even step foot on campus. Your personalization data can help you decide what themes and topics to use in these forums to get the conversations going.

7. Partner With Student Ambassadors and Influencers

Gen Z students want to hear the stories of real-life people who they see as authentically connected to the experiences they share. This means that your marketing strategy should include collaborations with student ambassadors (existing students empowered to connect with new and prospective students) and influencers.

Build meaningful and detailed testimonials from existing students that speak directly to the areas students care about most. Give them the room to provide personal, unique perspectives that go beyond a brochure and flashy highlights.

It is important these collaborations start with finding individuals who are engaging, motivated, and enthusiastic about your school and its identity.

As cultural insights director Ellie Barber explains, “The partnerships that work well and resonate are those where the brand and creator are a logical fit, ensuring recommendations feel sincere.”

Make sure you give student ambassadors and influencers the space to authentically connect with your audience in a way that matches their own style and tone.

8. Create Campus Videos

Campus videos are a crucial part of your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment. They help prospective students see themselves as part of your community and act as social proof.

However, it’s not as simple as merely walking students through the campus via video and calling it a day. These campus videos should be highly personalized. As University Business reports, the need for storytelling in campus videos is high if you want engagement and a lasting positive impression.

Show students both on- and off-campus spots. Along the way, don’t neglect the smaller, less flashy spaces that could help students envision themselves being part of campus life.

Ideally, you’ll create a range of campus videos that can be sent to students based on your personalization metrics to showcase the spaces and experiences that will matter most.

9. Bring Your Campus to Life With Interactive Maps

You might think of interactive campus maps as a way to help current students navigate their existing spaces, and you’re right. But the functionality doesn’t end there. Interactive campus maps are also an excellent tool for your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment. You can even pair them with innovative campus videos and personalized marketing strategies.

Concept3D has innovative and user-friendly technology to make marketing with interactive maps a seamless part of your marketing initiatives.

With Concept3D interactive maps, you can showcase the unique features of your campus and bring the student experience to life through personalized touchstones. Build in unique touches, including the following:

  • Landmarks
  • Stories
  • 3D renderings of buildings
  • Live data feeds
  • Wheelchair-accessible routes
  • Inclusive resources
  • Overlays (seasonal and night view)

Give your prospective students the chance to envision their place on campus in a dynamic way that’s under their control—and at their fingertips.

Building a More Personalized Marketing Strategy With Concept3D

Personalization in your higher education marketing strategies to increase student enrollment is no longer optional. It’s a standard today’s students will expect.

How you deliver on that expectation can help set you apart from competitors. At the same time, you’ll provide high-quality interactions that will build lasting relationships with your students.

To get there, you’ll need tools built to give you the flexibility, usability, and power to put your plans into action. Concept3D gives you control over personalization built to matter.

We have long-standing experience in higher education. Our industry-leading calendars, interactive maps, and virtual tour solutions demonstrate our commitment to understanding the needs of higher education institutions and delivering on every front.

Now, you can leverage those solutions for more personalized, relevant online experiences for prospective students. Reach out to us today to request a demo. Learn how Concept3D can help you make today’s prospective students tomorrow’s enthusiastic enrollees.