Omnichannel for Education: Are You There Yet?

When you hear about all the ways you can engage with all your prospects along all their steps to enrollment, do you feel like your head is going to explode? If there truly are so many ways to recruit students, then why have enrollments been on a steady decline?

Whether declining enrollment is linked to an improved economy (potential students often choose work over school) or to specific geographic locations and niche markets, you cannot ignore the trend. You actually need to pay attention to all those steps, students and ways to engage and enroll. An omnichannel approach is how to do it.

What it is:

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that helps you effectively reach your future students across a variety of platforms with a message that seems specific and personal to them –because it is. Unlike a traditional multi-channel marketing approach that might have enlisted television, radio and print to reach a broad audience, omnichannel is more about a personalized experience. If you think of multi-channel as reaching the multitudes, then omnichannel is about reaching one right person at a time –over and over again.

Why it works:

If you use a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, you’re used to picking up whatever device is the most convenient and connecting to your latest video in progress. So are your students. Even more so. They expect a seamless transition across devices. In fact, they demand it.

Omnichannel meets that expectation because it provides a cohesive and personalized experience across channels and devices. Whether your student is viewing an Instagram or Facebook ad, on their smartphone or desktop, the experience needs to be exactly what they’d expect of you. Your messaging and design should match the look and feel of your school and its real and virtual campuses and what it has to offer that unique student. You need to have a consistent brand voice wherever your students, grads and future students find you.

Even more so than retail marketing, higher education marketing needs to be customer-centric. Omnichannel marketing lets you engage with your target demographic and develop meaningful relationships. It also allows you to capture data and behaviors through all their actions, across all channels, and respond in a way that encourages those future students to move closer to a decision in your favor. True omnichannel data and attribution models allow you to follow your students long before they begin whittling the list of their first-pick schools and long after they walk onto—and off of—your campus.

Long term results: If you’re thinking about how to generate enrollments for next semester, you’re thinking short-term. What do you want next year? Five years from now? Twenty-five??

I have a friend who is a Boston College alum. So is her husband. To say they support their alma mater is an understatement. All three of their kids are BC boys. The whole family supports the BC teams and the school, with their enthusiasm, their advocacy and their checkbooks.  When you build a truly omnichanneled marketing plan, you can connect and stay connected with possible students, current students, graduates and maybe even their kids.

Are you ready to recruit and enroll now and into the future? You need the omnipresence of omnichannel marketing. Partner with the HigherEd Geeks and we’ll teach you how to find, follow, recruit and enroll your next generation of graduates.

~Linda Emma