Do your school’s marketing communications resonate with each of your distinct but equally essential audience segments?
Communication in higher education marketing is anything but simple. In many cases, schools’ audiences consist of everyone from current and prospective students to alumni and donors to university stakeholders and community members.
Developing unique content for each audience segment may seem like the most effective solution. But when budgets are tight and resources are scarce, it’s just not realistic.
These same challenges arise when marketing to grow enrollments. Your leads aren’t a monolith. They come from myriad professions and education levels, have varying reasons for showing interest in your program, and are in different phases of the enrollment funnel.
When creating different content for each audience segment isn’t an option, the next best solution is effectively speaking to multiple audience segments with the same content.
MindMax has years of experience leveraging this approach, and we’re happy to let you in on several of our tried and true strategies.
Optimizing Singular Pieces of Content for Multiple Audience Segments
Within the context of this blog post, let’s assume that when we use the term “content,” we’re referring to blog and email communication—both of which are critical for higher education marketing. MindMax specializes in marketing for enrollment, so we’ll speak primarily from that perspective, but most of these strategies also apply to general higher education marketing communication.
- Identify general audience trends. Although it’s a given that a school’s audience of potential students consists of varying personas, general trends typically emerge. When MindMax kicks off an engagement with a school, we request enrollment data from the previous 2-5 years. Even if a school can’t give us quantitative data, they likely have qualitative insights to share. If, for instance, they tell us that most students who enroll in their program already work in the field or hope to boost their degree with a credential, we’ll tailor their enrollment marketing content around this specific trend.
- Use the inverted pyramid structure. We always begin with the inverted pyramid structure when developing content, covering who, what, where, why, and how in the opening paragraph. This approach ensures that we deliver the most pertinent information up front, then follow up with the smaller details. The idea is that anybody in any audience segment can view the content and quickly absorb the key points in the communication.
- Bridge the gap on tone. When creating distinct content for separate audience segments, there’s the opportunity to use different tones in each piece. But when just one piece of content needs to reach multiple segments, it’s essential to moderate the tone and meet in the middle. As a general rule, we aim to be conversational in our messaging to ensure that our outreach comes across as personal—never automated.
- Consider each audience segment. We like to share timely news about topics relevant to potential students in our enrollment marketing—but before doing so, we always consider where each audience segment is in the enrollment funnel. If we’re creating content around a topical news story, but we just pushed out important emails about application deadlines to the applicant segment, we may decide to hold off on this new email until after the deadline passes.
- Maintain mission alignment. As a mission-aligned organization, we calibrate our engagements and work styles to align with the missions of the schools we serve. This principle inspires us to remain true to the school’s voice in all content we create. We’ve found that when we place mission alignment at the core of what we do, our content comes across as consistent and reliable to all audience segments.
If you need support with your school’s enrollment marketing, MindMax is here to help you develop content that engages your whole audience of prospective students. Reach out to learn more about our higher education marketing and enrollment services.