How to Market Your College
Marketing a college to prospective students is a challenge in today’s environment. Many commonplace marketing tactics are effective in attracting older generations, but they aren’t as persuasive among younger generations. One of the main reasons for this ineffectiveness is that younger generations grew up inundated with advertisements, both online and offline. However, there are ways to advertise to younger generations using combinations of audio and digital channels. The following are some ways to effectively market to younger prospects and their parents.
Authenticity Above All
Young adults today don’t like to feel pushed to make a purchase and can easily tell when a company is simply trying to make money from them. As such, an inauthentic experience with your marketing is likely to turn members of Generation Z away. High school students in particular have certain expectations about what college will be like, and ads won’t trick them into believing otherwise.
One of your top priorities when marketing your college should be making your marketing efforts feel authentic. That means being truthful, realistic, and never talking down to prospective students.
Establish Your Brand
If you want to differentiate your college from others, the most important step to take is to establish your brand. Your audience will only remember you if you can find a way to stand out, which will encourage prospective students to come to you when choosing the right college for them.
Radio influencers can help you increase brand awareness and make you stand apart from the myriad other colleges out there. One of the best ways influencers can help differentiate your brand is to use humor to connect with younger generations. Whether relaying a funny story about their own experience of going to college or finding another humorous and relatable way to connect your college to their audience, influencers can be the key to making you stand out. In the process, they will help further fuel that sense of authenticity behind your marketing.
Influencers Over Advertisements
Influencers know how to connect with your audience in a way that advertisements simply cannot. They often have the ability to combine authenticity with the establishment of brand identity, something that traditional ads won’t do.
High schoolers don’t like to encounter ads that feel blatantly “sales-y,” but they will listen to figures they consider friends. Seventy percent of listeners view their favorite local radio personalities as a friend with trustworthy opinions.
If that personality endorses a particular product, service, or organization, their audiences are much more likely to value that endorsement. That is something that a simple ad can’t achieve, especially if it appears in a seemingly random spot such as a sidebar on an unrelated website. In short, if an influencer can vouch for you, you’ll gain a lot more credibility among that influencer’s audience.
Radio personalities also extend well beyond the radio. Many of the most well-known influencers out there are active in their communities. Apart from delivering authentic endorsements through their shows, they also tend to:
- Make public appearances and host events
- Connect with audiences on social media to continue on-air conversations
- Have real conversations with people who call into their shows
- Host podcasts to continue other discussions
- Offer membership programs that encourage their audiences to keep listening
All the advantages of working with radio influencers can make them one of the best channels to market your college.
While you may want to focus on recruiting younger audiences, keep in mind that the choice of college isn’t simply up to the student. In addition to seeking a radio influencer who’s popular with the younger crowd, you need to choose a radio station that reaches an audience with the specific household income you’re targeting.
Targeting both students and their parents in a single campaign can be tricky, so you may want to consider having a separate campaign to appeal to parents versus students. One campaign for students will work to highlight benefits for students attending your college. Meanwhile, your other parent-oriented campaign can focus more on the affordability and other benefits that parents experience when sending their kids to your school. With the help of both campaigns and influencers that older and younger generations trust, you can convince both parents and prospective students that your school is right for them.
Stand Apart from Other Colleges Through Your Marketing
Attracting younger audiences isn’t as easy as it used to be, but you can effectively reach them by using the right tactics that resonate with them. With the help of local radio influencers whose opinions younger listeners value, along with authenticity and a well-established memorable brand, you can successfully market your college.
Using multiple radio ad campaigns, you can even connect with both future students and their parents to get everyone on board as they search for the ideal school. When it comes time to enroll, your audiences will be more likely to turn to you as they make their final decision.