ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

6 How-to Tips for Geofencing for Higher Education

If geofencing could improve your enrollment yield, would you climb on board?

Finding qualified students to enroll at your institution is a long process that can literally take years. Add to the long enrollment cycle the fierce competition your institution likely faces from other universities and it’s easy to see the uphill battle to improved enrollment yield.

Even digital marketing, which is an obvious tool when dealing with digital natives, can only perform so well. And when it’s not closely monitored or isn’t used to its full potential, it can be costly and ineffective. It is also constantly evolving. While geofencing isn’t new, it’s often overlooked by colleges and universities. Time to take a closer look. Here’s how to get started:

1) Understand what it is. Geofencing allows you to place digital ads directly on a user’s mobile device when they enter a specific location.

2) Make sure it’s opt-in only. Geofencing works well when you target people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Let them decide whether or not they want to see your ads. Interested prospects are more likely to become students, plus anti-spam laws will prevent you from sending your message to people who don’t want to hear from you.

3) Target effectively. Although you might want to build a fence around your campus perimeter and even specific buildings and event stadiums, don’t limit yourself only to campus visitors. After all, you already have their attention. Geofencing lets you target geographic areas by country, state, region, city and more. You can target individual organizations and IP addresses. Is there a particular high school or community college that is a feeder to your university? Target their students to entice them to become your students.

4) Go after competitors. Since you’re not building an actual fence, where you build it is pretty limitless. If you’re a tech school and your biggest competitor is another tech school in the next state over, build your virtual fence around it. Every time a potential student visits your competitor, you can remind them why you’re a better choice.

5) Provide quality content. Geofencing works best as part of an integrated marketing approach where quality content—including ads—are served to prospective students who actually want to see what you have to offer. Make sure your content is timely, relevant and interesting.

6) Don’t forget a call-to-action. What good is it to serve an ad to someone who’s interested in your school and its programs if you never ask them to take a next step? A strong call to action doesn’t mean you ask for an immediate enrollment. For the student considering your competitor, you might suggest they check out your website. For someone further along the enrollment funnel, maybe you direct them to a program specific landing page or invite them to a campus visit. What action will get them closer to enrollment?

If you’d like to learn more about mobile digital advertising—including geofencing—contact ESM Digital today.

~Linda Emma