Proven Marketing Strategies to Boost Student Enrollment

By Penny Warnock


In the bustling world of competing for student admissions, breaking through the noise of aggressive higher education marketing strategies is more critical than ever to increase your student intake. As we ride the wave of the digital era, your approach to student enrollment can make all the difference in surpassing your admissions targets. This blog will walk you through some handy insights and strategies to help your university connect with potential students. Let’s get started.


Understanding student recruitment in the digital age

Admissions marketing is the driving force of the education sector, where your strategies and tactics to attract, engage, and eventually enroll those eager prospective students come to life. Effective student enrollment is about crafting a perfect blend of information and allure to turn curious minds into committed students. 

Shifting away from static and legacy marketing collateral such as PDFs and direct mail to a more engaging and interactive digital format helps marketing teams connect with students raised in a digital-first world. This digital transformation means higher education marketers must work harder to capture attention with memorable content to interact with potential students. 

Gen Z is a generation that lives and breathes digital. Higher education marketers are responsible for keeping up with digital trends in an age where prospective students demand new methods to resonate with. This includes leveraging the power of social media tools, interactive content, SEO, virtual campus tours, and incorporating personalization in your content marketing strategy to provide prospective students with a more direct and engaging pathway to enrollment. 

This is where content creation platforms come in. These platforms offer more advanced opportunities for generating more leads and empowering admissions teams with rich data that tracks student engagement through the entire journey of your education content so that you can prioritize follow-up with enrollment-ready students. 

Additionally, the global fight for sustainability means universities must embrace a digital-first approach to content creation, paving the way for a more environmentally conscious future by reducing printing volumes and carbon footprints. 

In this way, higher education marketers can ensure that global accessibility standards are met for the mobile-first generation.


Targeting the right audience for student enrollment

Identifying and understanding your target audience is foundational to any effective admissions marketing campaign. It's about recognizing who the prospective students are, what drives their educational choices, and how they interact with various marketing channels. This process involves developing detailed student personas — semi-fictional representations of your ideal student based on market research and actual data about your existing students.

Creating these personas involves considering a range of factors, including age, educational background, interests, career aspirations, geographical location, and digital behavior. This detailed profiling helps craft marketing messages that speak directly to these potential students' aspirations, needs, and challenges. The more accurately you can identify and understand these personas, the more effectively you can engage with them through tailored marketing strategies.

Conducting thorough market research is a critical component of this process. This research should encompass the demographics and psychographics of your target audience and their behavior patterns, preferred communication channels, and decision-making processes. Surveys, interviews, focus groups, and data analysis are valuable information-gathering tools.


Optimizing digital platforms for student outreach

Digital channels like social media, email campaigns, and engaging content experiences are indispensable in modern admissions marketing. 

Each platform serves a unique role.

Targeted social content can increase brand visibility and favorability with stories that capture the beautiful experiences of life on campus and showcase examples of high-achieving alumni. User-generated content from your existing students conveys a more informal and authentic perspective of what can be expected in the day-to-day for prospects in student enrollment. 

Optimizing content for these varied platforms is critical. For example, what drives engagement on Instagram will not necessarily be effective on LinkedIn, especially when deciding where to promote graduate or postgraduate academic programs. Social media platforms have their niche and style; you must know the rules before playing. 

Your website will be your most powerful marketing asset in promoting academic programs and campus facilities. Interactive higher education brochures can help your university stand out and are a great way to pique specific curriculum interests with prospective students while inspiring them in their journey from post-graduation to entering the workforce for the first time. 

Uncovering insights from platforms with content intelligence will give you sophisticated user data that will boost the effectiveness of your personalized email campaigns to drive student enrollment. In this way, you can warm up your leads and nurture them with a steady stream of material that educates and keeps them engaged in your university’s academic outcomes throughout enrollment. 

Discover: How to Make Your University Unforgettable to Future Students.


Crafting compelling education content

In student admissions marketing, content is more than just information; it's a storytelling tool that captivates and persuades prospective students into making your university the number one choice for future-proof educational outcomes. Institutions should strive to create content beyond the basics of educational offerings. 

This includes creating stories and narratives that resonate with students' aspirations and concerns. For instance, alumni success stories, extracurricular opportunities, and ongoing funding for research and development are powerful tools to inspire prospective students. 

Additionally, incorporating dynamic elements like campus tours, immersive content hubs, and lecturers' embedded course introduction videos can elevate your content's engagement factor. It's all about creating a memorable experience, one that not only informs but also emotionally connects with the audience.


Personalization in admissions marketing

In the digital age, personalization is not just a bonus; it's expected. Tailoring marketing communications to address prospective students' preferences and interests can profoundly impact their decision-making process. 

Data analytics enables institutions to segment their audience and create more targeted, relevant marketing campaigns. This personalization reflects an institution’s dedication to understanding and meeting the unique needs of each student, thereby fostering a stronger connection and sense of belonging from the outset.

Get the 2024 guide: Higher Education Marketing.


Utilizing social proof and testimonials from high-achieving students

Social proof through testimonials and student stories is a powerful tool in admissions marketing. Prospective students often look to the experiences of others to gauge an institution's fit for them. 

Showcasing the achievements and experiences of alumni and current students builds credibility and provides tangible evidence of the institution's impact on its students' lives. These narratives help to create a sense of community and belonging, vital factors in a student’s choice of educational institution.


Measuring and analyzing student enrollment marketing

Effective student enrollment marketing is data-driven. Monitoring key metrics such as engagement rates, application numbers, and conversion rates is essential in evaluating the success of marketing efforts. 

Regularly analyzing these metrics provides insights into what strategies are working and which areas need improvement. This continual assessment and adaptation process ensures that higher marketing strategies remain effective and aligned with your institution’s goals. Your content delivery must allow you to understand whether (and how) our content resonates and drives student enrollment. Whether generating leads with prospectuses or digital brochures, you need to know more about what’s happening inside your most essential content. Analyzing performance and optimizing content in real-time is nearly impossible if you use PDFs as your main content format. 

Check out 6 reasons you should stop using PDFs in your marketing content.


Future trends in driving student enrollments 

The student admissions landscape is ever-changing, with new technologies and higher education design trends continuously evolving. For instance, the increasing use of content platforms that deliver valuable performance insights, the growing importance of video content, and the potential of virtual and augmented reality experiences in student recruitment are trends to watch. 

Institutions need to stay abreast of these developments and be ready to integrate new and innovative techniques into their content marketing strategies. By staying ahead of the curve, they can maintain and strengthen their competitive edge in the dynamic landscape of higher education.



In an era where digital innovation is paramount, educational institutions must embrace and excel in using advanced digital tools like Foleon to create more engaging, personalized, and impactful educational content. 

Institutions can dramatically boost student enrollment by harnessing the power of these tools and staying attuned to prospective students' ever-changing trends and preferences.

Looking ahead, the future of admissions marketing is promising and exciting. It presents a canvas for innovation, allowing institutions to explore new ways of connecting and communicating with potential students. Institutions that are agile, ready to embrace change, and keen to adopt cutting-edge strategies will keep pace and set new benchmarks in attracting and enrolling students. 

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Penny Warnock

Penny Warnock is the Content Marketer extraordinaire here at Foleon. With a background in SaaS, product marketing, journalism, and brand building, Penny is passionate about storytelling and generating engaging content across various digital channels.

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