Surprisingly, colleges in India are still spending lakhs and even crores of rupees in newspaper advertisement to attract new students. However, your target audience is no longer reading newspapers. Ninety-one percent of students in India are on the internet to collect information about colleges. What they want to know is about facilities and placements with location and budget being the other deciding factors. This report on student online behaviour by HT Digital and IMRB reinforces why admission strategy for colleges must include the Digital Medium.
A Mobile and SEO friendly website to reach more students
The college website is the place every student evaluating a college is definitely going to visit. True, every college has a website but that is not enough. The two main problems that we find in most educational sites is that the website is not mobile-friendly and nothing has been done to it to make it findable on search engines.
73% of students are using their mobile to look for college information. Your website might have rich content about your institution but if it is not mobile-friendly then you have lost a large number of your targeted audience. Modern websites, recognize the device they are opened on such as desktop, mobile or tablet and will adjust to give the best readability on different devices. These are called responsive websites and if you don’t have one then it is vital you update your website.
Without Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you might as well not have a website at all.There are over 40,000 colleges in India and so the competition is intense to get to the first page of Google search. When someone is searching for “engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu” or “Colleges with best chemistry course” then you need to have these phrases in your page title as well as in your page content. Most colleges will not have the expertise to know what are the top search phrases students and parents are using, relevant to their college. Colleges hire external experts to ensure their page comes to the top of Google search results. SEO is an important cog in the admission strategy for colleges but remember that it is not an instant solution. You will see good returns in a few months.
Social Media Channels are a great way to engage with potential students
Social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube are the perfect hotspots to connect with your current and potential future students. Many educational institutions have, at least, a Facebook Page. However, having a Page is great but knowing what works is different. This is social media, after all, the content/posts must be engaging. It must be a judicious mix of visual and informative. The posts must encourage discussions. For an educational institution, the posts can
- Showcase new facilities like a new library, sports equipment, a new lab, etc. In fact, anything at all that shows that your college is frequently updating its infrastructure.
- Make announcements about exam dates, new courses, awards, events like sports day, etc.
- Showcase faculty and students by including their personal experiences. For example, Mr. Rao the physics faculty could write about what he loves about teaching or Revathi, a fresher could talk about her first month at college or Rajan, an alumnuscould post about his first job. The options are endless. These first-hand experiences are what social media is all about. Have a look at our Fb page where we also make posts about our educational partners.
- Position yourself as thought leaders by making posts about careers, courses and latest updates in the world.
- Post about the achievements of your alumnus. This makes a big impression on new students.
Social media is one of the most creative ways to increase college enrollment. When it is done right, as well as consistently, it can provide a big boost to a college’s reputation. Potential students use social media to connect with an institution and ask questions. Use this as an opportunity to show that you are responsive to your target audience.
Content marketing to inform and educate
Students always have questions and they most often turn to the internet to give them the answers, especially in career guidance. Content marketing involves articles, blogs, info-graphics and video content. Colleges should actively create such content to inform and educate those who might be interested in the courses you offer. For example, an article about the career possibilities after completing an economics degree will pull in an interested audience. Although it will not directly lead to admissions it will make more students aware of your institution and will convert to admissions in the long run.
Advertising on Digital Media to reach students quickly
Students and even parents spend more time online and traditional press no longer is as popular. This is one of the main reasons that more and more educational institutions are channeling their marketing spends to the online space. The cost to reach a much larger audience is very low in comparison to print ads. Many institutions wonder how they can promote college admissions quickly. The answer for immediate results is to pay for online PPC ads.
The biggest advantage of PPC or pay-per-click model n Google is that results are instantaneous and you pay only when someone clicks on your online advertisement. You can decide on the location and for which keywords (search phrases) you want your ad to appear. On Social Media sites, you can even decide on the demography i.e. age, interests and many other factors. This translates into a very targeted and interested audience and a sure-fire way of ensuring ROI from your ad,and it can be tracked. This is why Digital Advertisements are being used in a big way for enrollment increase.
Online Application and Fee Payment to close the loop
Having done all the hard work to attract these bright students, don’t lose them by not having an online application process. Expecting students to come to your college to get application forms will mean that you will lose out on quite a few of the interested candidates.
It is important to integrate the online application process as well as application fee payment on your college website. When a student shows interest in a college, getting them to apply online, closes the loop quickly. This is especially important if the students are located in another part of the state or country.
Integrating an online application and fee payment process will require you to have a technology partner who knows the in and outs of the educational process. Software products from an established technology partner will give you a sound footing to get online at a fast pace.
Do you want to know more about admission strategy for colleges? We would like to help.