Education Marketing Trends – Three Post-Pandemic Tips To Recruit and Retain the Next Gen of Incoming Classes

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Education marketing is a challenge, whether it’s for a large public school district or a small private college. The pandemic changed the world, and education has felt that change acutely in both its classrooms and marketing plans. As we emerge into something that feels post-pandemic-ish, here are three education marketing trends to get your education marketing back to full swing.

Go Digital

Gen Z (and the generation behind them) are digital natives. However, like their predecessors the Millennials, Gen Z is distrustful of the slick and glossy messaging of refined mass marketing. Education marketers should explore digital marketing to reach audiences where they are without sacrificing the personalization they crave. Through digital advertising, marketers can micro-target audiences and serve personalized ads with segmented messaging. It feels more like a conversation, less like an ad.

However, make sure those ads stand out from the rest. Lean into the funny, the weird, and the authentic for which Gen Z is known. (And yes, it means you may have to explore new platforms like TikTok and the like to do it.)

Know your Student

When enrollment numbers slip, there tends to be an immediate reaction to open up the gates, extend the admissions criteria, or market to “new” groups. Here’s a word of caution – you’re always better served to know your students and market to them with laser-like focus.

Reaching outside of your ideal student personas to boost short-term enrollment can create a series of downstream issues. Recruiting efforts are more costly, retention tends to be lower, and student body satisfaction suffers. For a generation of students and families for whom peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth referrals is king, you can’t afford unhappy students. Know for whom you are a good fit and make every effort to tailor your efforts to THAT student unapologetically. If you’re a liberal arts college, STEM program, or arts-focused magnet, focus on your ideal student and share your unique value proposition.

Make it Bite-Sized

This generation gets accused of having a short attention span, but let’s be honest, it’s not just a generational issue. Our digitized lifestyles have impacted our brains, with studies showing that most people lose concentration after just eight seconds (a goldfish has an attention span of about nine seconds), which is down from twelve seconds just two decades ago.

There’s no doubt that attention spans have gotten shorter as we multitask and multiscreen. However, once meaningfully engaged in content of interest, we still can focus for extended periods of time. Case in point – Buzzfeed posted a live video counting how many rubber bands it take to explode a watermelon that lasted almost 45 minutes and grew it’s audience to almost 808,000 viewers! The content was mesmerizing, and the audience stayed with it to answer the question, “How many rubber bands will it take?” (Nearly 700, for those who watch until the end.)

How should education marketers adapt? Create bite-sized content that gives users a small sample, with an invitation to learn more. Short-form videos (90 seconds or less), social posts, infographics, and other micro-content catches the attention, and once engaged, a call to action directs them to additional resources for longer form information.

Education marketing trends evolve quickly, and Chartwell Agency’s education marketing division is here to help you keep up. To learn more about how we can help with your school or district’s recruitment, retention, or fundraising efforts, contact us!