Peru State College was Nebraska’s first college, originally established in 1867 as a teacher training school with one building and 60 students. Since then, it has transformed into a state-of-the-art institution that offers diverse educational programs to 2,400 students.
Despite its small size, Peru State has a robust social media presence and a well-established brand. We recently chatted with Cindy Cammack, director of admissions, and Jason Hogue, director of marketing and communications, about what three tips they would give small colleges looking to stretch their recruitment marketing resources like Peru State has done.
1. Get help.
Peru State’s content resonates so well because it is crafted to speak to a specific audience — and, for the most part, it’s written by members of that audience.
“We have what’s basically an army of interns who help us create content,” Hogue shared. Generally, Gen Z has been found to value authenticity in marketing messaging, and having students help with writing is a great way to ensure the message and tone both resonate.
Adding interns to your team could be easier than you expect: “We’ve had a few students walk in, basically off the street and say, ‘I’m a graphic design major, or an English major or a marketing major, and I’m interested in working for you!’ I always check with their professors to ensure they’re a good fit,” shared Hogue.
“The students benefit tremendously from working on real projects. They take pride in having their work promoted, and they appreciate the opportunity to network with vendors who may help them land jobs in the future. Our first group of interns will graduate in the spring, and they’re all talking to me about graduate school, what kind of career should they pursue, what’s going to make them successful career wise and what’s going to make them happy in their lives. It’s great to have the opportunity to help these young professionals at this important point in their careers,” Hogue reflects.
If you’re working with a small team and looking for ways to expand your recruitment marketing’s presence, the answer to your problem might just be a classroom away!
2. Segment your messaging.
Peru State leverages Liaison’s Enrollment Marketing Platform (EMP™) to scale their marketing efforts. Keeping communication targeted and personalized is easy with the platform’s flexible tools. According to Hogue, “EMP’s flexibility helps ensure prospective students are receiving the right message at the right time, because we’re able to schedule campaigns for different groups.
If I have a student who is planning to be a first time, full-time freshman, then they should be getting messages about how great campus is, what campus life is like, what their relationship is going to be with our college. And let’s be honest, their parents are seeing those too, and the parents are thinking that way as well.
After they’re won over, they need a different type of message, one that’s comprised of transactional information. They need to know about scholarships, and they have to understand how those scholarships translate into our price point. At the same time, they have important questions that need answering, like how they are going to feel being a student at Peru State. Here’s where authentic, student-driven content is key.”
3. Use all of your resources.
Not only does EMP offer valuable, multi-channel campaign support, but Peru State finds great value in its hands-on support.
“I more or less use the EMP team as my tutors,” Cammack shared. “In the long run, it’ll be beneficial for me to be able to create forms and set up other communications in the platform myself. So, I try a task and then ask the support team to check my work.
As an example, last week I was working on implemented a new inquiry form. I had written some rules that were impacting our campus visits form. So I figured out I needed to move some things. But it was nice to have Mary, our client success manager, come in and say, ‘You need to move the email to the top of the form so that can allow the auto-populate to happen.’ It’s nice to have hands-on support for small troubleshooting like that, and to also have more strategic support that helps us leverage best practices to refine our communication plan.”
Far-reaching goals, like increasing applications and targeting messaging, can seem overwhelming when you only have limited resources. Take a note from Peru State’s playbook — get help, segment your messaging and use all of your resources for the best results.