3 Ways to Use Online Content, Social Media, and Digital Marketing to Build Enrollment.
Many community colleges these days face a common struggle: stagnant or falling enrollment rates. For many of these community colleges, their greatest challenge lies in spreading the word about their programs to potentially interested students. Their programs offer valuable opportunities to students from all walks of life to learn a trade skill, change career, or attain transferrable credits to a four-year institution.
Unfortunately, many of these colleges—particularly smaller ones—have few resources to spare when it comes to their marketing efforts. The educational materials that might help convince new students to enroll take time and energy to create, and even once they’re written schools don’t necessarily have a good means for distribution.
The good news is that digital marketing technology can help community colleges reach their core audience in ways that were previously unavailable. And combined with the articles from ApertureCM’s content library, even the smallest community college now has the resources to grow their enrollment. Here are the top three ways our technology can help grow your community college.
1. Your website: the information repository.
The most essential thing for a community college’s online presence is a website that can function as a hub for their information. Many community colleges have a website, but they don’t necessarily keep those websites updated with the latest articles and educational prospects. A blog or a place to post news would help, but most marketing departments are already over-stretched and don’t have the time to maintain them.
Fortunately, our digital Edition Builder tool creates micro websites for community colleges, so that they can easily generate content and link to it from their main website. This resolves both problems at once: learners can access the content from the website, providing them a convenient, browsable way to find the information they need, and your marketing department saves time by accessing our content library and editing articles to suit their need.
2. Social Media: for outreach and engagement.
When it comes to online outreach, social media is one of the most accessible tools for Millennials and members of Gen Z. However, it requires constant attention to maintain a stream of content that will reach the right audience. Without regular updates, posts and articles slip down the news feed and out of sight. Maintaining that flow of content can take up more time than most marketers at a small community college want to invest.
The content from ApertureCM makes it easier for marketing departments to select information to share. And by scheduling content in advance, marketers can simplify their social media tasks, condensing a week’s worth of posts into an hour or two of editing.
3. Email: for interested insiders.
It’s easy for email to end up in a spam folder or to go ignored and unread. But when someone wants to hear more from your institution, an email newsletter can help keep them informed. The only trouble is that newsletters—like so many other marketing initiatives—require new news to stay fresh and valuable. With so many plates spinning, marketers are often pressed for time, and don’t have the energy to create that content from scratch.
ApertureCM content can easily be shared in email form, either as excerpts for a newsletter, or as a link to online content. By sending updates to readers who have indicated an interest in community college programs, your marketing department can focus energy on individuals who have a high prospect of enrolling, rather than blasting large lists of unqualified prospects.
New technology doesn’t necessarily make old methods obsolete.
With all these new ways of reaching prospective students, it can be easy to assume that old methods—such as print distribution—are no longer necessary. However, this isn’t always so. Print still has an important place in a marketing strategy, and can yield surprising results.
After all, as ubiquitous as the Internet often feels, many households in disadvantaged neighborhoods don’t have reliable access. By limiting outreach to digital mediums, you could miss some of the communities who need you most.
Furthermore, many students first hear about the opportunities available at their local community college through a friend or family member—a parent, relative, or even an employer—who hears of a program and encourages the student to enroll.
And, in spite of the many opportunities provided by digital marketing technology, a 2015 report from The New Republic indicates that 92% of college students prefer print books to e-readers, and 65% of children between the ages of 6–17 would rather read books in print.
Print has an undeniable appeal, and a content magazine lying around a bedroom or sitting on a coffee table is a more reliable reminder to a potential student that they should consider enrolling than an email that can easily be ignored or a social media post that is lost in the news feed after a few seconds.
The new digital technology is an essential component of a modern marketing strategy for community colleges, but it should not replace valuable print content.
Content is content—no matter what the distribution platform.
Whether you spread the word by email, social media, or print, the content you create for your audience retains its value. The most important problem you have to solve is how to get that content in front of the people who need it most.
Digital technology is one such means. So is print. If you’ve already done the heavy-lifting of sourcing and editing the content to reflect your school, there’s no reason not to use all the channels you have available.
At ApertureCM, we’re here to help you plan and execute your content strategy. We believe that by providing learners with the information they need to get ahead, they can achieve their educational goals. And when community colleges take the lead in becoming content suppliers, they grow their enrollment and maintain the health of their institution.