Marketing Your Niche

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There are overall prestigious schools, and without naming any names I bet most of you are thinking of the same list we did. But then there are some schools that have top notch prestigious programs and departments, which deserve just as much credit.

Although your school as a whole may be able to market itself, the major or department may be the deciding factor in a student’s decision and it’s important for them to have a briefing on what they are looking for in a way that’s easy to find and engaging. Here are some tips on how to market your niche from our team of enrollment marketing professionals.

Sub-branding. If your school is known for a specific type of degree, but you want to populate programs that aren’t in that discipline lending a sub-brand can help it stand out. For example, Milwaukee School of Engineering, MSOE, mostly known for their engineering program, does a great job at marketing their nursing program. If you check out their page you’ll see that they have their results clearly laid out, information about the field, and the curriculum stated in a way that doesn’t make it look like a boring catalog. Most importantly – there is a discussion panel where students can ask questions, share insight and meet other students.

Tell stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool in marketing and building relationships, especially when you are conveying information to new students that will influence whether or not they continue to pursue an interest in your school. These testimonials appeal to the heart and mind of prospective students and families while boosting engagement at the same time.

When it comes to higher education marketing, we’re lucky, because in essence our students’ stories tell themselves – or our students tell the story for us. It just comes down to us relaying their stories to the public in an attractive and compelling way.

“Boring stories won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can.”

– Susan Gunelius, Forbes

Reach out to your students and listen to their stories about their college experiences – dorm life, majors, sports, activities, you name it.

Don’t just tell your story – show it as well. Video is a must when communicating with millennials, and luckily Instagram, Vine and Snapchat are great tools that enable you to show your story to prospects. Encourage students to tell their story through these outlets and repost them on your own site.

Collaborate with professors. When marketing colleges, the use and discussion of professors is often neglected. Students will come to realize some of the most influential people during their four years at school are the professors.

At any given time there are interesting courses, projects, and books that are being read across your campus; share these with prospective students and families in form of a quote, video or picture. If a student is planning on studying fashion they want to hear about the awesome field experiences students are having and see the pieces that are being made for the Spring collection, allowing them to feel a stronger connection.

Leverage your location. Students are probably more willing to travel further distances for location-specific schools. If your school is close to the water, share about the marine sciences program. If your school is close to a big city, discuss how Communication and Fashion majors are getting internships in the city with well-known companies.

Create a hub. By this point, your school is probably on numerous social media sites. But if a student is looking for a ‘go-to’ location to find out about your school, chances are they’re going to check out your school website. Upload the testimonials from students, teachers and parents, Youtube stories, Vine’s – you name it, to the departments site. This way they are able to see lively and engaging descriptions versus the catalog-style details on the credits, major requirements, and courses. Another way to do this is to create a section on your website strictly dedicated to the voices of your school.

What’s your school doing to set it apart from the rest? How do you show off your outstanding majors, departments, location and professors in an engaging and compelling way? Remember, showing off your niche to prospective students is a great way to get them engaged in what they’re most interested in!

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