A 3 Part Series
Pt. 1 – Awareness Stage
Educating the future is every schools’ mission. So, what sparks a prospective student interest to look into a school deeper? Content that understands the prospective student’s problem and proposes an attractive solution. Content that “speaks their language” has a better chance of keeping prospective students’ attention. At the end of the day, the most important player in the funnel is the student.
The steps of an enrollment funnel require time to persuade prospects to enroll — making it crucial to create effective content that speaks to your prospective students. With such a complex funnel, we will cover the funnel into three parts over the next three months.
The awareness stage is the start of the prospective student’s journey. Prospects are still establishing their personal goals for bettering their future. They are searching for solutions to their problems, and may not have a school or program in mind. They may not even be sure if furthering their education is what they want. Institutions must understand their prospects’ problems by providing viable solutions where possible.
The most basic thing an institution can do is be the answer to a prospect’s problems. Content that speaks to the prospect’s pain points — for instance, ads targeted to students who need better careers, but lack qualifications to advance — can demonstrate that the institution understands what the prospect is looking for. This form of awareness marketing can keep an institution at the top of a prospect’s mind.
There are a plethora of education options — so how can an institution stay at the top of a prospect’s mind? By building trust and confidence in its brand. Institutions should present themselves as experts in the field, by creating blogs, articles, or videos about the latest developments in their industries. This kind of thought leadership shows that the institution is knowledgeable.
Content emphasizing current or past students establishes trust and increases an institution’s credibility. Testimonials or events of current students give a realistic experience. This type of content allows the prospective student to feel a part of the organization, which can be valuable. Content that prospects see as valuable, educational, and engaging can help align their thinking around the brand.
Offering great content is not the only way to build your prospect’s trust to the brand, however, how you deliver your content is important as well. Where your content is published influences your prospects’ opinion about your school. Third-party publications, social media platforms, eBooks, and blog sites are great places to start. Providing prospects information that’s easy to find establishes a stronger connection. The more an institution publishes across different platforms, the more prospects will view an institution as a thought leader.
The delivery of content strengthens a prospective students’ interest in pursuing a program at an institution — which sets the platform for the middle stage of the funnel. Next month, we will discuss what types of content are crucial to encourage your prospective students to take the next steps. Stay tuned!