Raising Student Enrollment Through Strategic Marketing


By Simply Clear Marketing

In the competitive landscape of higher education, attracting potential students to your institution requires more than just a strong academic reputation. You need a strategic approach to marketing that prioritizes consistent, repeated exposure. 

Today, we’ll break down the importance of multiple impressions in student recruitment, highlighting effective strategies for building brand awareness, leveraging paid advertising, and nurturing leads through sustained engagement. By understanding and implementing these tactics, your college can significantly enhance its ability to convert interest into applications.

The Importance of Multiple Impressions

Frequency of Exposure

The most important step in maximizing the flow of enrollments is getting more students to consider your institution in the first place. A student won’t think about attending your school if they’ve never heard about it. Basic brand awareness is a must when it comes to building a student acquisition system.  

Marketing experts often refer to “The Rule of Seven,” which suggests that potential students need to see your college’s message at least seven times before they take action. This repeated exposure builds familiarity and trust, crucial elements in the decision-making process. For you, this means consistent, repeated messaging is key to converting interest into applications.

General Brand Awareness Campaigns

Building general brand awareness is paramount for creating initial interest. You must ensure that potential students are familiar with your institution’s brand long before they begin the application process. Effective methods for running brand awareness campaigns include:

  • Social Media: Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach a broad audience. Consistency is key. You want to show potential students that you have a pulse.
  • Brand Awareness Ads: Showcase your school, faculty, student life, etc. in a positive light. Start getting students associating your school with positive emotions.
  • Content Marketing: Publish blog posts, videos, and articles that highlight your college’s strengths and unique offerings.Give someone who is interested in your school as many ways to learn more about you as possible.

Don’t think of these steps as student acquisition, but rather student cultivation. These efforts help create a foundation of awareness, making subsequent marketing efforts all the more effective.

Paid Advertising

Google Ads

Your college absolutely must appear on the first page of Google when someone searches for keywords relevant to your school or courses. These searches are often the first step students take in making their education decisions. You want to throw your name in the hat early as students are starting this discovery process. Being a top result on Google is a great place to make that happen.

You will likely not be able to compete on budget against large universities for broad terms such as: “Colleges in California” or “best colleges for business.” This is why your Google Ad campaigns should be highly specific to the courses or degree programs that prospective students are searching for. A focused keyword strategy is essential:

  • Keyword Strategy: Use specific keywords related to your college’s offerings. For example, instead of generic terms like “college programs,” use “bachelor’s degree in computer science.” The more specific you get, the more qualified the people who come to your site will be.
  • Ad Copy and Landing Pages: Create compelling ad copy that speaks directly to the prospective students’ interests and make sure the landing pages are relevant and informative.You want to demonstrate as quickly and explicitly as possible that you fulfill the need they are searching for.

Measuring Success

The purpose of these ads should be to get potential students to declare interest, not start the application process. This might look like: directing them to fill out a “Learn More” form with their name, email, and phone number. From here you can begin to reach out and start them down the application path.

Generating this initial interest is the most labor intensive step. Once you start building recognition, redirecting that traffic into a call to action becomes much easier. In our next blog, we will discuss the best course of action when it comes to turning this attention into enrollments.

Our Success

We’ve learned that these tactics are successful based on our experience working with higher education clients. Most recently, one of our clients saw an immediate cost reduction of 47% for student acquisition after these strategies were implemented. Oftentimes a lack of direction can end up being a serious cost. A clear plan helps allocate funds to the tactics that translate into enrollments most effectively.

The strategies we implement can be applied to any market. If your admissions team would benefit from a robust student acquisition system, book one-on-one time with our CFO Lani Colhouer today!