Many students want to enter university. After all, obtaining a degree opens many doors in the professional world. Unfortunately, because of the current state of the economy and the job market, many students are hesitant to pursue their university plans.
According to a 2021 study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, overall post-secondary enrollment declined by 4.2%. As of 2023, these numbers have yet to recover fully.
In response to the decline in enrollment, universities nationwide are scrambling for ways to attract enrollees. Some universities implement live chat for education on their websites to improve their conversion rates. Others leverage high-profile endorsements from famous alums to attract prospective students. Additionally, other universities take great care to cultivate a consistent brand to help them increase enrollment.
While the above-mentioned steps are good strategies, universities can boost enrollment in other ways. Learn the six strategies universities can use to boost enrollment in this article.
1. Take Advantage of Social Media
The majority of businesses nowadays use social media for advertising purposes. After all, it’s a versatile tool with a broad reach, allowing them to reach many audiences. Universities are no exception to this.
According to an article by Inside Higher Ed, one in two teenagers, or around 50%, use social media to help them choose which university they’re going to. This makes leveraging social media to boost enrollment more crucial than ever.
Universities can use social media in many ways to boost enrollment. One example is to showcase the campus and its features via photos and videos on social media. Remember, the campus environment is one of the things students look at when choosing a school. By putting the campus itself in the spotlight, universities can demonstrate to prospective students why they’re worth choosing.
Additionally, featuring what student life is like on social media can also assist in boosting enrollment numbers. In doing so, potential students can determine if the university is a good fit for them and their needs. As a result, students will be encouraged to enroll in the university.
2. Attract Prospective Students Using SEO
According to WebFX, 67% of students use search engines to learn more about universities they’re considering. This means that having a website isn’t enough; a university must also be visible in search engines. As such, if a university is looking to boost enrollment, leveraging search engine optimization is another method that can help.
There are plenty of SEO strategies that can help increase enrollment numbers. The most effective strategy universities can implement is researching and using keywords with minimal competition. That way, the university can rank higher in search engines. This can encourage students to visit the website and see what they offer.
Creating high-quality and helpful content on web pages, as well as using enticing page titles and meta descriptions, can also help universities boost their enrollment numbers. This is especially true if they ensure that the content works in tandem with their keywords. By putting the university's name out there and showing that they have what students are looking for, the school can boost its enrollment numbers.
3. Emphasize Financial Aid Offers in Your Marketing Materials
It’s common knowledge that university education can be expensive nowadays. After all, cost is an essential factor that students consider before deciding to enroll in a university. In fact, according to Salesforce, 40% of students claimed that they need a substantial amount of financial aid to succeed in their college education. This means that emphasizing the financial aid offers of the university can boost enrollment numbers.
To emphasize financial aid offers, universities can showcase any scholarships and grants that they offer in their marketing materials. These can include videos, photos, emails, or even an expose on a student who was able to benefit from financial aid.
By showing that a university makes quality education accessible through financial aid, students will be encouraged to enroll. As a result, enrollment numbers will be boosted for the school year.
4. Take a Mobile-Friendly Approach
Having a mobile-friendly website for your university can help boost a university website’s traffic and enrollment rates. In a 2021 article by Statista, around 63% of organic search engine visits came from mobile users. With the advancement of smartphone technology, this number is expected to grow each year.
As a result of the steadily increasing numbers of mobile searches, it’s beneficial for universities to create a website that’s also optimized for mobile. That way, students can easily research and learn more about the university. In addition, application forms and university emails should be optimized for mobile viewing.
A website that isn’t optimized for mobile can result in slow loading times and unresponsive pages. This can cause frustration for the student, which can then cause them to forego enrolling in the university. Having a mobile responsive website and allowing students to fill up their forms even on the go will make the student's research and application process smoother. This would translate to a significant boost in enrollments in the process.
5. Use Live Video Chat to Assist Prospective Students
Many university websites come equipped with live chat for schools. That way, they can communicate with students who require assistance.
The majority of incoming university students nowadays are members of the Gen Z demographic. According to Salesforce, 72% of Gen Z expect immediate assistance when they reach out for support. Inquiries to universities and colleges are no exception to this.
As a result, it’s now vital that universities have a way of constantly communicating with prospective students. Otherwise, the student can lose interest in the university, discouraging them from enrolling. This is where live chats can assist universities.
With live chat software, universities can boost enrollment numbers by lowering wait times and quickly resolving student inquiries. This helps improve the overall student experience, encouraging them to enroll in the university. However, while live chatting is undoubtedly the most popular tool used for online customer service, universities can upgrade to another customer support tool: live video chat support.
Often seen as the next step in customer service tools, live video chat has the same benefits as live chat. But unlike live chats, live video chats have the advantage of providing a human touch when assisting students.
Additionally, with video chat support, universities can set themselves apart from other schools. Their customer service team can also respond instantly to prospective students’ questions. This can be considered as a better alternative to live chats, which sometimes take a few minutes to respond.
Finally, video chats also allow university support teams to take a more hands-on approach to assisting potential students. For instance, a live video chat agent can help a student in the enrollment process in real-time via co-browsing. This can be especially useful if the student needs clarification on how to take a certain step in the process.
Because of this added human touch, universities can make a personal connection with the prospective student. This could encourage them to enroll in your university over their other choices.
6. Use Both Digital and Email Marketing
For some marketers, email marketing is an obsolete method of advertising. However, this isn’t the case for upcoming university students. According to a study conducted by Statista, around 70% of students said that they prefer receiving information from universities via email. As such, if universities are looking to boost enrollment, email marketing is another strategy to consider.
Universities must exercise caution when using email marketing to entice potential students. Otherwise, the email may be sent to the student’s spam folder.
One way universities can avoid this is by sending personalized emails to the students they’re trying to reach. By doing so, students are more likely to check the email sent to them. This increases the university's engagement rate, potentially boosting enrollment numbers.
In addition, digital display marketing can also assist universities in boosting enrollment numbers. Based on Statista’s 2020 survey, 35% of consumers are more likely to visit websites or search for a product online when they see it advertised digitally.
Therefore, universities looking to increase enrollment numbers should consider including banner ads on websites with high traffic. That way, an algorithm can target prospective students by looking into their search histories. By taking advantage of this step, universities can increase their reach and boost enrollment in the process.
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