COUNTING THE COVID COST: How do you quantify the collective losses the education sector has undergone due to the pandemic? The Chronicle of Higher Education team conducted a comprehensive review of public financial news from the top 400 universities in U.S. News and World Report and collected data from 107 of those institutions. Paul N. Friga reported that the COVID-19 related cuts and losses (lost revenues, pandemic expenses, projected state budget cuts) add up to $183 billion. On average, there’s been a 14% revenue decline across fiscal years 2020 to 2021 (and that stat may be too optimistic, says Friga).
Why you should care: Campus leaders are coming to the conclusion that “cost cutting alone is not the answer, and that this is a time to clarify their institution’s unique value to their students and communities,” writes Friga. So, what’s a savvy enrollment marketer to do during this financial crisis? We suggest starting with your school's website—the digital space that has become the welcome center, the admissions office, the student center, and more this year. Your institution website needs to be a conversion-centric hub that clearly defines and reflects your unique value propositions, now more than ever. For more practical ideas on how to reimagine your school’s website, check out one of our recent podcast episodes.
SEO SHIFT COMING SOON: The switch to mobile-first indexing by Google has been a long process, but the official launch date is coming up next month. While building responsive sites has always been encouraged, Google will now drop desktop-only sites from the index entirely, including images and other assets hosted there. Three out of every five searches occur on mobile, and 77% of mobile searches happen at home or at work. The great news is that 75% of mobile searches lead to two follow-up actions—that’s an incredible conversion rate.
Why you should care: There is no doubt that optimizing for mobile search is now a necessity and no longer a “nice to have.” Combing through every page of your website and ensuring that it is mobile-ready will be imperative. Otherwise, all that SEO work you’ve put in as part of your content strategy will go to waste. Sometimes an institution’s website pages can be inconsistent, with a homepage being mobile-friendly but several internal pages failing to be mobile-ready. You also may want to pay particular attention to your images. Make sure they are resized properly so that your mobile page load speed isn’t dragged down, which is key for both rankings and user experience.
MEETING YOUR AUDIENCE: Are you missing opportunities to meet your audience where they are? A recent report by Glacier compared a survey of almost 1,400 high school students with a survey of 187 higher ed marketers. They found that 64% of high school students use TikTok while just 1.9% of marketers do. Plus, 87% of students frequent YouTube but only 27% of marketers include it in their marketing game plan. And while over 60% of high schoolers use Spotify, 13% of marketers advertise there (23% still use traditional radio ads).
Why you should care: The best platforms to reach high schoolers will always be an evolving list, but this report shows that a lot of marketers are out of touch with where prospective students spend their time digitally. Consider nationwide surveys when determining your advertising and video strategy to ensure you’re keeping up with the trends. Then, test out various platforms and see what is most effective for your institution. While you don’t have to be on all the channels all the time, if you’re putting all your eggs in one basket (i.e. Facebook) you may want to rethink your approach.
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Each week, The Enrollify Podcast equips you with insights into how the latest trends in marketing and technology are affecting enrollment managers. Every episode is designed to inspire new, creative ideas for how to optimize the resources you have to generate the results you need.