Matthew Sherlock, Director of Product Strategy, Ex Libris Student Digital Solutions
Universities, and especially institutions that recruit internationally, experienced a major enrolment slump during the Covid-19 pandemic. While it is heartening to see that the demand for higher education has started to recover in many countries, university admission offices are still figuring out how to demonstrate ROI and attract new students.
Amid continuing uncertainties about what the next semester will look like, clear university messaging will be a differentiator for new prospects as well as for students have already deferred or dropped out mid-semester and are re-evaluating what they want out of their university experience.
Levelling Up to Reach User Expectations for Mobile
University marcom as a competitive advantage in higher education recruitment is hardly a new concept. Unlike existing students, prospects cannot rely on their own lived experiences of the university to determine whether they’re satisfied with the institution. Instead, they rely on stories to determine whether a university is the right choice for them: stories from friends that attend the institutions, stories told through online reviews on social media, and the stories told by the institution itself through snail mail, emails, social media platforms and phone calls.
After a year and a half of university age students spending more time online, however, the challenge for universities is not just to tell the compelling stories about what students can expect to accomplish at the institution but to do it for an increasingly digital audience:
- Psychographics, and
- Behavioural Science
are all impacting what messages work and in what format.
University Recruitment in the Next Normal: Communication Challenges
As we look to the next hybrid recruitment cycle, the messaging challenges that higher education institutions need to address will be a mix of new (post-pandemic) and old:
- Delivering targeted communications and engagement pathways that are tailored for the digital-first prospect.
- Understand and act on prospect engagement throughout their journey to join
- Ensure clarity of and confidence in the health and safety of the institution’s student community
- Deliver proactive engagement to highlight institutional strengths and differentiators
- Ensure the smoothest transition for prospect, to applicant, to joiner, to belonging
Wooing Prospects from a Distance is a Technology Issue
As a technology evangelist, I look to hardware and software to solve for emerging communication challenges in higher education.
Certainly, technology lends itself well to determining trends and patterns in market data, in prospect sentiment and engagement behaviour. Getting the right message to the right ‘customer’ at the right time is also increasingly possible with the help of innovative technological tools and platforms.
However, I think that it is the blending of these capabilities – dynamic data models and real-time, personalized messaging – that will enable a personal touch and sway prospects towards institutions that take this digital leap.
Recruiting with the campusM university app
At campusM, we make it easy for admissions and for other departments supporting recruitment efforts to create engaging, delightful, and valuable content. Here’s how we do it.
- Personalized communications based on the student’s context, such as their major or hobbies, using campusM App Roles.
- Open/visit day experiences with maps and event schedules to maximize impact of time on campus. A hyper-connected data model surfaces events data so prospects can immediately see what they have coming up on an in-person or virtual open day.
- Direct Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration to collect prospect app usage data and enhance their experience based on the data collected.
- Insights into prospective student sentiment and interests through campusM Quick Polls.
- Intelligent banners and push notifications to proactively drive engagement.
- Enterprise-level analytics offer real-time insights into prospect engagement levels and interests
- Seamless transitions from prospect to current student experience all within the same app to provide continuity throughout the student cycle.
Does your University’s Digital Recruitment Strategy Include a Campus App?
University admissions offices are engaged in a high-stakes game of show and tell. With more prospects tuning in online, universities can leverage digital storytelling for recruitment by curating stories for different prospective audiences based on their goals, wants and interests. The campusM engagement platform enables universities to deliver this personal touch at scale through intuitive automation options, enabling admissions offices to amplify their reach and increase their wins with greater ease.
campusM is a powerful campus app that helps universities improve student engagement on a daily basis. For more information about how campusM is making it simple for universities to provide outstanding mobile student experiences and services, click here.
August 12, 2021