How Digital Marketing Tactics Drive Successful College Recruitment

Topics: Digital Media, Higher Ed Marketing, Campus Media

Posted by: Marketing

Many campus recruiters recognize that digital marketing tactics are an important part of their efforts to drive enrollment. However, marketing directors may not realize how essential new media platforms are for reaching their enrollment goals.

As one of the pillars of a holistic marketing strategy, properly planned and implemented electronic campaigns produce great fruit.

Learn how to use digital marketing tactics to:

  • Attract & retain qualified students for undergrad and graduate programs
  • Extend your reach to in-state and out-of-state markets
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate more qualified leads
  • Increase attendance at open houses and other on-campus events


Taking higher education advertising online makes sense in our increasingly virtual world

From e-commerce to Zoom meetings to Snapchat, it’s no secret that almost every aspect of our lives has developed a digital component. As society becomes increasingly mobile, we develop new ways to obtain information and stay connected. Traditional advertising and on-campus marketing and events still have a valuable part to play in college recruitment campaigns, but technological solutions make it easy and affordable to engage with a wide range of prospective applicants year-round.

The unprecedented times we’re living in today showcase the unforeseen benefits of electronic media for the millions of us now working, learning and socializing almost exclusively from home. The physical isolation and distancing we’re currently experiencing have made digital marketing tactics non-negotiable in today’s modern marketplace.


+ See our Technology Use by Demographic infographic.


Digital marketing drives millennial and Gen Z engagement in college recruitment campaigns

To successfully engage their target audience, higher ed marketing departments need to understand who they’re speaking to and what drives their audience to take action.

How does your target market prefer to consume content? Interact with others? Receive brand messaging? Where do they spend their time?

Your marketing efforts will have the greatest impact when they reach potential enrollees where they are. Today’s young people are digital natives. Research shows that for Gen Z (which accounts for about a quarter of the U.S. population), the internet is their medium of choice and smartphones are omni-present. In fact, approximately half of this generation spends 10 hours a day online while teens are on their smartphones an average of 3 hours a day. The digital landscape is where they socialize, study, shop and get their news.


+ See more important stats on mobile internet use.


One of the best things about online marketing is that it’s easily shareable. And for teenagers and young adults, peer feedback greatly influences their decision making. By utilizing digital ad campaigns, social media marketing and other digital marketing tactics, you increase the range and effect of your promotional efforts.


Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of tactics and assets

  • Paid ad campaigns
  • Your website
  • Content marketing
  • Online brochures
  • Social media channels
  • Email marketing
  • Text messaging
  • Influencer partnerships

While we won’t deep dive into each of these categories here, we’d like to share some ideas for making the most of digital marketing.

Information & Advertising

Your school’s website is likely one of the first places prospective students (and their parents) will go to learn about your organization. Take this chance to establish your brand, present an appealing picture of student life on campus and showcase the opportunities your programs provide.

Keep the website’s information up-to-date and use design and wording that draw your target market in. The same goes for content marketing, online brochures and other digital branding assets. These should be informative, appealing to the modern marketplace and share-worthy.

Digital ad campaigns, social media campaigns and influencer partnerships build buzz for everything your organization has to offer. They also provide a broader reach than traditional ad campaigns, often at a fraction of the price.

+ Learn more about the effectiveness & affordability of digital & social ad campaigns.


The internet is more than just a place to inform and advertise. The generations you’re targeting typically prefer to communicate via text, email and social media. When you interact with qualified leads using the communication methods they favor, you’ll find it easier to build and deepen relationships, increase engagement and raise enrollment. Touch base with prospective applicants regularly to keep your school or program top-of-mind.

In addition, your social media channels are excellent places to:

  • Showcase scholarship opportunities
  • Present video portraits of campus life
  • Share alumni success stories

Are you interested in incorporating digital marketing into a holistic marketing strategy?




Which digital marketing tactics are most effective for college recruitment campaigns?

While it’s wonderful to have to many options for engaging with your target market virtually, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the range of channel and strategy options. Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing education clients with successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. We’re happy to share our expertise with you.

MSSmedia HigherEdWork

We know you have limited time, energy and funding to devote to digital marketing. To reach your enrollment goals, it’s important to focus on the strategies that are proven to provide maximum return on investment (ROI). We find a full-funnel digital and campus marketing strategy focused on paid advertising to be most effective when it comes to increasing engagement and ultimately, enrollment.


+ Learn more about effective Pay Per Click advertising.


A holistic campaign will encompass display, video, search and social advertising. For paid ad campaigns, we utilize:

  • Google Ads: Search, Display, Video (YouTube)
  • Bing Ads: Search, Display
  • Social Ads: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter

Digital advertising’s wide reach is excellent, but precision is necessary for ROI. By employing multiple digital touchpoints layered with demographic profile targeting and geo-targeting, we successfully deliver the results our clients desire.

Mssmedia Campus Advertising


Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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