Are You Maximising Your Student Recruitment Efforts? 3 Common Marketing Opportunities Providers Miss
Providers are always thinking about new ways to improve their marketing strategy to target and capture eager students that they would otherwise miss. Tapping into these segments will give you a significant advantage over your competitors in the marketplace.
Splitting students into segments can be a simple and effective way to bolster targeting efforts, but are providers making the most out of the opportunities out there?
In this article, we’ll go through three unique student segments and explore how you can target them successfully.
School leavers delaying education
Students looking to take their first step into higher education have typically been the most eager and receptive to education marketing but this may not be the case across all of the UK.
Although the number of enrolments at universities broke records this year, the BBC reported that the number of students enrolling from the North-East, North-West, Yorkshire, and the Humber has actually decreased.
In addition to this, the number of students choosing to study in the UK from abroad has fallen dramatically. According to recent data from UCAS, EU students accepted onto undergraduate courses in the UK fell by 56% from last year.
For providers, it’s vital to understand that the post-pandemic enrolment boom comes with some serious caveats.
How to target this segment
Students that are still delaying education may be doing so because they feel that university is not good value for money. The student academic survey found that over half of students think their degree is poor value for money. Reasons highlighted in the survey include poorly managed online learning and high fees, with many students feeling that their university isn’t well equipped enough to offer a blended learning model.
When communicating with potential students, it’s crucial to demonstrate the benefits of online and blended learning and highlight how you have tailored your courses to respond to the challenges that the pandemic brings.
Testimonials from current or graduated students will help you build trust with prospective students. Specific testimonials around outstanding learning experiences during the pandemic will establish prospective students’ confidence in your ability to deliver quality education.
Also, highlighting student outcomes, professions, and average wages after graduation can demonstrate the value that you’re offering to potential students. Bloomberg found that the recent increase in job creation in the UK was centred around higher-paying roles that required more in-depth skills.
Today’s providers must demonstrate to prospective students that they can offer them a path to higher earning and job security.
Low-skilled workers looking to pivot careers
Those working in lower-skilled roles, such as shop assistants or hospitality servers, have already seen how precarious employment can be during the pandemic.
Despite schemes, like the furlough scheme, to combat unemployment, the hospitality and retail industries have been slow to recover. This has led to higher unemployment or under-employment for many ‘low-skilled’ workers.
According to research from Electrical Direct, low-skilled jobs, such as waiting, bartending, catering, shelf-stacking or retail, have at least a 69% chance of being replaced by automation within the next few years.
Employees in this area are already reacting to grim predictions like these. A recent study from Personio found that 38% of UK employees were planning to quit their job within the next six months, with some analysts dubbing it ‘the great resignation’.
Alison Omens, Chief Strategy Officer of JUST Capital, who collected the data for the Personio study said those who were looking to pivot their careers tend to come from lower-skilled roles.
“Many of the stories have tended to focus on white-collar jobs,” Omens said. “But the biggest trends are really around traditionally low-wage roles and essential workers.”
How to target this segment
Frequently cited reasons for leaving roles include low fulfillment, insecure pay, and poor progression. Although there’s no guarantee lower-skilled workers will pursue higher education, it’s clear that these issues can be remedied through further education.
On average, those with a degree of higher education qualification or equivalent have an earning potential of approximately £10,000 higher than those without.
Therefore, communicating with this segment should centre around career progression, job satisfaction and earning potential. Helping prospective students in this segment understand the benefits of flexible study – short courses that fit around part-time work or other commitments – can encourage them to take their first step into further education.
Additionally, making entry requirements clear can help boost enrollments. For those pivoting careers, they may feel underqualified. Demonstrate to this audience that they can pursue further study with entry-level or basic course knowledge.
Recent graduates looking to bolster their skills
Those who studied during the most disruptive parts of the pandemic may be left feeling like they have gaps in their knowledge. They’d be right in thinking that – experts frequently refer to this phenomenon as ‘scarring’. This feeling of imposter syndrome has a follow-on effect on their ability to find true career progression.
For those studying at an undergraduate level, the pandemic may cause them to doubt their ability to enter the workforce. Universities such as UCL, Cambridge, and Edinburgh all saw increases in postgraduate enrolments, by as much as 20%. This statistic highlights the high volume of students eager to enter into the workforce with enough knowledge to compete and thrive in our current job market.
How to target this segment
For providers looking to target this group, communicating the practical ways a postgraduate qualification can improve career outcomes is the most effective strategy.
Furthermore, if potential students are worried about having too much education and not enough work experience, highlighting placement or work-integrated opportunities will be a strong selling point.
Ultimately, providers should always be on the lookout for unique and exciting student segments. By creating bespoke and targeted messaging aimed at these key groups, providers can open up new opportunities they may otherwise have missed.