How To Reach Younger Students to Increase Enrollment

Topics: Digital Media, Higher Ed Marketing

Posted by: Marketing

The sooner you begin marketing to high school students, the more likely they are to enroll. Early contact builds awareness and excitement for the possibilities of both higher education and college life. It also creates a bond between your institution and prospective enrollees. Let’s explore effective ways to reach younger students to increase enrollment.


Next Gen and Parents


Engage their parents.

Parents have become increasingly important in the college choice process. According to an EAB survey of 4,848 high school seniors who graduated in 2021, 48% ranked “parental influence” as one of their top five sources of information on the admissions process (second only to specific college websites). Targeting both students and their parents expands your reach and ensures your message is getting across at all levels of the decision making process.


Employ brand ambassadors.

While high school students are likely to turn to their parents (and trusted teachers, coaches, etc.) for college advice, they’re not as easily influenced by other adult authorities (higher ed administrators for example). However, messaging from those they view as peers will carry significant weight. 

Enlisting current university students and recent alumni to act as brand ambassadors is a great way to increase interest in your school and programs. These trusted messengers can communicate the value of your institution at in-person events and via video testimonials on your website, social media pages and online ads.



Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” 



Create multiple touchpoints.

To move your target audience from awareness to engagement to action, you must reach out multiple times in a variety of ways. This gives you the best possible chance of reaching prospective students with the right message, in the right way, at the right time. The earlier you begin this process, the more opportunities you have to make that vital connection. Furthermore, when you combine multiple marketing tactics, you can extend your reach while each part of your marketing campaign amplifies the efforts of the others.


+ Increase enrollment with an integrated marketing strategy.


Utilize PPC advertising.

Pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) helps you introduce your school and programs to a large number of potential students and their parents. When PPC is working correctly, the per click fee is trivial, because the resulting audience awareness and engagement is so valuable. There are a number of options for PPC advertising, including search, video, and display ads on Google, Bing and most social media platforms.


MSSmedia PPC 10 Stats That Show Value




Harness the power of SEO.

Obtaining an excellent search engine ranking is another way to bring college-curious teenagers to your website. There are many factors that contribute to achieving and maintaining optimal search engine rankings. These include using search engine friendly URLs, structuring your website appropriately, using metatags and appropriate keywords, and more.


MSSmedia SEO Factors




Mobile, mobile, mobile. 

The vast majority of teens spend a significant amount of time on their smartphones, making mobile marketing a vital part of your enrollment efforts. Modern mobile technology offers many different options for advertising to younger generations. These include promotions via text message and push notification, in-app targeting, search and display ads on mobile websites, location based marketing, QR codes, and personalized ad campaigns.


+ Create a successful mobile-first student recruitment campaign.

Personalize your ad campaigns. 

Between GPS-based location data and the user information provided by many apps, mobile marketing offers wide scope for personalized ad campaigns. Customized marketing efforts are well known to be highly effective in increasing engagement when set up properly. 

In addition to targeting users by location, marketers can select specific audiences by a variety of demographic or behavioral attributes. Ads and other mobile communications can be personalized in a variety of ways, including addressing a user by name, sending messages at the most appropriate times, and addressing events that are currently happening in the local area.


Student Mobile Advertisement


Choose advertising channels wisely.

The best digital advertising channels today are Google/YouTube (for search, display and video ads), Bing (for search and display ads), and social media platforms. Higher ed social media ads targeting parents are best placed on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Emerging platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat are particularly relevant for teenagers.


+ See 5 social media marketing strategies to increase college enrollment.


Participate in promotional events.

Promotional events are an excellent way to reach members of Gen Z. As a rule, experiences have special value to younger generations. Participating in post-secondary information nights at high schools and hosting on-campus open houses are two important strategies for increasing student enrollment. Optimize attendance by promoting your event on social media and offering free food or other giveaways.


See our complete guide: Recruiting Students – A Marketing Plan to Increase College Enrollment.




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. 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!

+ Search

We deliver the latest media tips + insider marketing advice straight to your inbox.