Searching for Summer

Ahhh, summer. Time for vacation. Time to relax. Time for the beach, BBQ, and enjoying those lazy days. Right? Wrong!

Over and over again, we keep hearing from admission offices how gone are the days of summer “down time.” In this competitive enrollment landscape, admission offices are busy 12 months a year and recruitment never pauses. We agree! And as much as we’d all like a break, the reality is that summer is an excellent recruitment time. High school students have just finished up their sophomore and junior years, and guess what—those sophomores are now juniors and those juniors are now seniors and college just catapulted to the forefront of their minds. So make sure your institution is the one they are thinking about.

Summer is actually perfect for sending out your marketing and student recruitment communications. And since students tend to have more free time, you can capitalize on that and invite them for a campus visit or event you are hosting throughout the summer weeks. Mom and/or Dad are also more likely to take a vacation in the next two months, and they may just plan it around your campus location, so don’t be shy—get the word out and quickly! It’s not too late.

Use an integrated direct marketing strategy that combines e-mail, direct mail, and personalized landing pages to drive engagement. Go back to your responder list(s) that at one time requested more information but maybe have not taken further action. Use a highly personalized postcard as an invitation with a personalized URL and invite them for a visit. The landing page can be tailored to them and in one click they can be registered for a campus visit or event.

Or, consider using your non-responder list (remember that search buy you spent so much money on last spring?). Keep communicating to them and drive engagement. Or launch an IP targeting campaign to your non-responders as another great way to stay in front of prospective students and their parents. IP targeting allows you to serve up online banner ads specifically to those students directly through their home IP address.

And don’t forget, students continue to take standardized exams in the late spring and early summer, so new names are available in June and July. Take advantage of that and start building relationships now with those student prospects. That way, when summer ends and school begins, you’ve already established brand recognition, allowing you to push your “apply now” messages to those seniors even sooner in the fall.  

There is a short window to make summer Search a reality. If you fear you don’t have time, we are here to make it easier for you—and in the process maybe even free up a day or two for you to hit the beach.

You can follow me on Twitter @adpoulin or on Google Plus as Alexa Poulin.

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