ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

Use These 4 Soft Sell Tips to Increase Student Enrollment  

Push prospective students to enroll before they’re ready, and you could be pushing them away. Instead of the hard sell, cultivate relationships with future students by educating and empowering them where they live and breathe: online. Your students want a bright future –and you and your programs could help them find it. But only if you engage with them and get them to enroll. Use these 4 soft sell tips to increase your student enrollments and help your students reach their employment potential:

Educate before they enroll: Long before your students enroll, they are online conducting searches, asking questions, and looking for answers. Don’t make your first engagement with a prospect a heavy-handed push for immediate action. If you urge them into your HVAC program even before they know that the acronym stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, you’ve lost an opportunity and alienated a prospect. Instead, provide genuine, helpful information that will educate them about the kinds of careers that might be available to them. An infographic that explains what a medical assistant does or teaches them how to ace a job interview will be useful and will make you a valuable resource to them. But remember that even though you don’t want to push too soon, you still need to nudge your prospects in a right direction. Link your quality content to your school’s website, a form, or a phone number. Urge even your earliest prospects to contact you to find out more.

Get in on their conversation: When your students are talking about your school online, don’t ignore what they say. If they’re praising the programs you offer, thank them and ask them to share their stories. If they’re saying things you wish they wouldn’t, find out why. Do they have legitimate complaints? If they do, pull the conversation offline and see what you can do to make things right. At Effective Student Marketing, we have watched unhappy students turn into successful graduates who become some of our clients’ best advocates.

Discover their needs: When you’re listening instead of trying to sell, you can find out what prospects really want. In addition to building your programs around the needs of your prospects, you can also target your programs to the right prospects. Through paid search and social media advertising, you can place ads and information about your school in front of those people most likely to enroll. By being a good listener, you can find out what your prospects are looking for and do your best to partner with them to help them enroll, stay, and succeed at your school.

Entice them to enroll: The student decision-making process is just like a sales funnel.  Students investigate their career options early on, at the widest span of the funnel, and only get ready to enroll at its base. That’s when it’s most important to present a clear call to action. When they’re ready to engage by filling out a form or calling your admissions department, make sure you’re set to act as quickly as they are. If you don’t, your competitors will.

At Effective Student Marketing, we know there’s a time and place for the hard sell –and it’s not when confused prospects are only just beginning to explore their options for their future. Contact us now and we’ll show you a digital marketing strategy that will help you consider the full span of the student journey.

~Linda