Have you ever thought about what else you could be doing to increase your enrollment rate? There may be an area – particularly in marketing – that you may have overlooked.
For the most part, teenagers right out of high school don’t often have the final say in what college they choose. In fact, it’s the parents whose influence greatly impacts that decision.
The question is: Are you marketing to parents? It’s a difficult area of marketing, especially in regard to millennial parents.
As part of the 7 Best Practices for Enrollment, AnswerNet Education Services outlined several possibilities to improve your enrollment strategies; one of which included the importance of marketing to parents.
Why is Marketing to Parents Important?
You are aware that when it comes to college choice, parents play a vital role in the decision-making process. Not only do they want their ambitious child to be happy, but they also want to ensure the institution they choose will meet their expectations.
This is why your messaging must go beyond the prospective student and include the parents. If you want an edge in the decision-making process, you must convince the parents that your institution is a great fit for their child.
What marketing are you doing specifically to parents? If you’ve been solely focused on marketing your institution to students, how exactly do you get parents’ attention?
Marketing to Parents
Marketing to parents is a bit different than marketing to students. You have to think differently – what exactly do parents want to know? Consider the following:
Be Authentic About Your Brand
When parents are making a selection on behalf of their children, even in the simplest of choices, they want to see brand authenticity. It’s that sense of realness that leads them to feel comfortable about their decision, whether it be for clothing and most importantly, college selection.
Consider your brand voice and the personality you convey in your messaging. Is it always on-brand? Does it consistently meet your goals and convey the right message in the right way?
If you answered no to any of those questions, this may be the time to highlight your institutions brand and identify how to convey that messaging to parents.
2. Build Trust in Your Audience
When marketing to parents, trust is key. You must establish a strong sense of trust in your messaging if you want to keep their attention.
College, for many new students, marks the first time they leave their parents’ home to live elsewhere, be it an apartment or a dorm room. Parents entrust that your institution will provide for their children’s’ safety and well-being, while providing them with a quality education, that will equip them to meet the demands of a career-ready workforce.
Consider all these things when developing your messaging around building trust. Highlight areas of your core principles, your campus, innovative curricular and real-life experiences that will prepare students for success, along with how your faculty and staff will impact student lives at your institution.
3. Be Creative
There are so many other voices in the world – even in the higher ed space – vying for parents’ attention. Your marketing needs a creative edge if it’s going to earn it.
Consider ways you can better connect your institution with this audience. For example, you could create a series of informative videos aimed at parents that educate them on campus life. Keep the series going and you’ll have parents returning to the page consistently.
Whatever creative idea you utilize, ensure it adds value to your institutional brand and to the messaging you’re offering to parents.
4. Create a Safe Community for Parents
What better way to know how to market to parents than creating a community for parents of current students and alumni? Many institutions do this already, creating spaces not only for parents, but the alumni themselves. They provide helpful resources and get involved, earning great feedback.
Post thought-provoking questions in the group about their thoughts on improving the enrollment experience and take note of their responses. Parents are often very honest about their children’s college experiences – turn this into a marketable asset.
5. Don’t Oversell Your Institution
Many younger parents are known to be skeptical of brands who seem too perfect. Following authenticity, parents want to be able to identify with real people and hear about student experiences on campus. Your current students are your best spokespersons for your institution. Make certain that you showcase their experiences in a positive yet accurate depiction.
Think about ways you can share the real experience of your institution. Interview current students and their parents and share your findings on social media and in your messaging strategy. Hearing the truth from another parent’s mouth can mean the difference between choosing your institution or another.
Ensure this sense of realness permeates every layer of your marketing. This includes every platform as well, from social media and emails to commercials and direct mail.
With Help, You Can Do It All
If you want to boost your enrollment numbers, marketing to parents is a major factor in the decision-making process. Parents must remain on your radar and marketing strategies should target them if you want your marketing efforts to have the greatest impact.
One way that AnswerNet Education Services appeals to parents is with our Facilities Management. Parents who are worried about their kids living away from home for the first time are comforted by Facilities Management Services’ 24/7/365 response team. They’re available to take students calls and offer rapid response for things like lockouts and maintenance emergencies. You can ensure this service for your institution and market to parents by passing along the peace of mind of round-the-clock maintenance capabilities.
By collaborating in tandem with AnswerNet Education Services, we can support your marketing efforts with our omni-channel communication and messaging to increase your enrollment numbers. AnswerNet Education Services becomes an extension of your institution, supporting your communication efforts with your prospective students and their parents in a succinct and comprehensive manner throughout the enrollment cycle. Being your brand advocates, we fully understand and embrace the responsibility of being the face of your institution.
Now, with your marketing to parents plan underway, just think of the endless possibilities of what we could accomplish together to support you in achieving your enrollment goals.
For more information on how AnswerNet Education Services can help your institution, schedule a consultation today!