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3 Student Recruitment Strategies for COVID-19

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for some big changes in student behaviour.

These changes require a quick response from the education sector. Marketing and recruitment strategies must adapt to a remote student experience.

For those who are prepared, with change comes the opportunity to grow and improve.

HOW WILL THE STUDENT JOURNEY CHANGE?


While the true impact of COVID-19 won’t be known for some time, social distancing does present some obvious changes to the way in which students research, consider and ultimately decide on an education provider.

It makes sense that some of the changes would be:

  • More time spent online
  • Less activities undertaken out of home
  • Moving away from face-to-face learning in a classroom

Let’s break down some of these challenges and how you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Talking to ‘stay at home’ students

PAID MEDIA

Challenge

For most of your students, social distancing is going to impact their media consumption significantly. This is likely to happen in two ways:

  1. Less exposure to certain placements outside of the home such as outdoor signage and events.
  2. More time spent browsing online as part of research, scrolling on social media or exploring hobbies that can be undertaken indoors.

Strategy

Reconsider your media prioritisation and channels to align with this behaviour.

What does this mean for paid media?

Go where your audience is! Optimise your spend toward the channels that will reach ‘stay at home’ students most effectively. Right now, that’s digital.

Consider

Some channels you can bring into the mix:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & TIkTok
  • Google
  • YouTube
  • News websites

Ideally you want to be engaging your audience across different channels, not just paid. Consider this aspect of your content strategy. This is a great opportunity to increase your brand awareness and build your database.

Here are some key opportunities to focus on:

  • CRO review of your website for mobile and desktop
  • Cost per enrolment of your digital marketing activity by channel
  • Current website conversion
  • ‘Always on’ content vs. ‘campaign’ content

Solution

We suggest developing a considered, cross-channel digital plan that supports each stage of the journey to enrolment. How to do this well:

  1. Create strategies for top of funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of funnel
  2. Use performance metrics that actually drive dollars such as cost per lead, cost per application and cost per enrolment
  3. Don’t forget about the post-click experience and touchpoints

Moving to remote recruitment

Challenge

The enrolment journey usually involves face-to-face activities such as open days, campus tours and 1:1 consultations with study advisors. What happens when this isn’t a possibility?

Strategy

Turn up the dial on remote engagement through:

  • Your call centre
  • SMS
  • Video
  • Live chat

Consider

In order to act quickly and optimise the enrolment process, education providers will need to ask some key questions:

  • How is my CRM placed to handle such changes?
  • Do I have live chat and SMS already in place? Is it linked to my CRM?
  • Do I have a platform for video consultations?
  • How will a student book these?
  • How will I define the success of a remote strategy?

Solution

Potential students can’t come to you, so you need to bring the experience to them. A concierge-style model takes time and energy, we know it’s a big transition. We’ve spent the last 3 years building our own Melbourne-based call centre.

Read more about how our phone sales service works.

Our call centre takes some of the heavy lifting off your recruitment team. This means they focus more on converting prospects into enrolled students.

Students can’t come to you

Challenge

Your recruitment team plays a big part in supporting potential students through the journey. This educational piece is often done through campus tours or consultations. But with social distancing firmly in place, your approach will have to change.

Strategy

Now is the time to dip your toes into new online methods that you can integrate into your marketing. The reality is that today’s students move fast, and they have very high expectations. Education providers will need to be flexible in order to create a seamless experience.

Put simply, now is also the time to get one step ahead of your competitors.

Consider

  • Am I using video chat already?
  • What is the capacity of my marketing automation platform?
  • Can I shift either of these things quickly?

Solution

Shift your focus to online and take a second look at your email nurture strategy.

  • Move consultations to video. Potential students are already used to Zoom and FaceTime!
  • Track when potential students are ready to engage and take the next step. A marketing automation platform can offer tons of features to really achieve this level of personalisation.
  • Expand on your SMS and social engagement strategy

If you want to read more about how education providers in Australia are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, check out our survey results here.

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