How to Accomplish Your Enrollment Marketing To-Dos with Data

September 30, 2022 by Anne Peasley

The time is ripe for creative, data-informed marketing and enrollment plans in education. Once you’ve crafted a strategic marketing plan that incorporates labor market data, and have a handle on how that data integrates with the data you already have, you’re ready to put that data into action. That means tackling the jobs on your to-do list.

Fortunately, there are many data tools that can make adding labor market data to these tasks relatively easy. Data tools can’t solve every problem — after all, hard work and creativity are the hallmark of any good marketing or recruitment team. But they can make data-related tasks much simpler, leaving you and your team the bandwidth to spend your creativity where it counts.

Let’s walk through how data tools can help with the tasks on your list. There are many jobs to be done. And labor market data can help. 

Focus your market research in the right areas

In an ideal world, market research is an ongoing activity that spans enrollment, marketing, and other outreach functions. Keeping your eye on the economic and workforce movement in your region (or your target regions) is an essential part of that mix. But it’s also important to keep an eye on competitor institutions. By keeping up with these types of environmental scans (or even doing a gap analysis), you have the opportunity to spot changes before they hit.

Identify and expand to new markets 

Finding new geographic regions to reach can seem daunting. But people and businesses move all the time. One way to identify “education deserts” is by cross-referencing fast growing metro areas (identified with demographic data) with information on local industries, and then available educational programs (or lack thereof) from IPEDS. This allows you to see where the market is underserved by educational options — which could be a new market for a program, or a targeted marketing campaign for an existing one.

Understand certain market segments better, such as adult learners

Many colleges and universities looking to grow enrollment are turning their focus to the adult learner market. Attracting and enrolling these learners presents unique challenges and opportunities, which can vary by metro area and region. Using up-to-date labor market statistics can help clarify the needs of this group of prospective learners and explore their economic interests. Paired with surveys or focus groups, this presents a powerful look at a new pool of learners who are eager to pivot careers, upgrade their skillset, or make more money.

Calculate potential market size to set realistic goals 

Mapping out which potential students live where and how those populations are shifting can help institutions identify regions whose growth and demographic characteristics align with their mission and enrollment goals. This data-informed approach is key for not only avoiding unpleasant surprises, but also for uncovering otherwise overlooked growth opportunities.

Offer the career support that learners seek

Learners have long cited “get better jobs” as one of their top reasons for making an investment in education, so make career services part of your value proposition. With today’s modern, AI-powered career services tools, you can provide smart pathways for traditional students and help returning or adult learners leverage their existing skills.

Serve up personalized learning recommendations at scale

In the past, personalization meant one-on-one conversations with a career advisor. Not an ideal use of budget for prospective students. Now, skill-tagging technology makes it possible for prospective learners to quickly catalog their existing skills and easily explore how the skill gaps keeping them from their goals align with the skills taught in your courses and programs. Personalized career and educational recommendations give students a way to “window shop” for potential careers in an environment that’s free from judgment or expectations — and a great way to spark continuing conversations or nurture campaigns. 

Allow recruiters to connect learner skills and goals with your degrees (and future careers)

Help prospective students understand their potential career outcomes before they step foot into a classroom. By using career services tools to show high school students not only what they’ll learn in your programs, but also what skills they’ll gain and what jobs want to hire people with those skills, your recruiters and admissions counselors can help prospects see the practical roadmap of how a degree at your institution equips them for the future.

Craft compelling marketing campaigns backed by data

It’s important to tell students what they can expect to learn and do in your programs. Learning outcomes and alumni features are essential to program webpages and marketing. But you know what else is essential? Backing up individual stories with hard data that connects to real life. That way, you can show that your graduates are getting good outcomes at scale, not just in a one-off anecdote.

Provide evidence that graduates are thriving

Often the purview of Advancement or Institutional Research, consider data on the career outcomes of alumni in the context of enrollment management. This data can be useful in multiple ways:

  • Add to academic program websites so that people find it organically when they do a search.

  • Email campaigns that are personalized and customized by academic program. Those could include a chart of top alumni career destinations and link back to the program page.

  • Taking some of the graphs or charts and putting them into a print brochure, for use at college fairs and open houses, but they could also be mailed — any way to get this information in front of students and their families.

Help learners visualize the ROI of a degree

Whether through a real-time widget (or API dashboard) or through infographics that are disseminated via social media or email campaigns, adding a visual component to your campaigns makes them all the more persuasive. It’s easy to use occupation data to help clarify connections between academic programs and careers. Even better when it comes from an always-fresh pipeline of data that you don’t have to collect or update by hand. 

But don’t just take our word for it. See this data in action.

Now that you’ve seen how labor market data can help accomplish marketing tasks, browse our reports and case studies to see it in action at real community colleges and universities.

Or, if you’d like to explore what type of labor market data is right for your marketing plan, contact us today.

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