Recruiting Generation Z, the latest entrants to the education landscape, demands a fresh approach. Reaching this tech-savvy and socially conscious generation requires an education marketing strategy that resonates with their unique values and preferences.
At Arke, we’re education experts, having worked with over 120 institutions internationally. We’ve gathered our top five effective strategies that can help you engage Gen Z students to generate more enrolments than ever before.
1. Surf the Digital Wave
Have you ever thought of TikTok as a search engine? Even if you haven’t, we can guarantee that most of your prospective students are using it in that way. In an era dominated by digital technology, institutions must prioritise a robust online presence.
Your online presence plays a pivotal role in shaping prospective students’ initial impressions. In fact, a significant 72% of potential students turn to your website for their primary research, while only 42% pay a visit to the campus. After the institutional website, social media channels are the second-most important channel for students who are exploring where they will study.
Identifying the right platforms to choose is essential. Whilst Facebook was the go to platform for Millennials in its launch, Gen Z are turning to the newest channels to spend their time scrolling.
TikTok reigns supreme as Gen Z’s go-to social app, with a whopping 68% of Gen Z users in the UK active on TikTok on a daily basis, Instagram and Snapchat following closely behind.
Utilise these platforms to share compelling content, including campus tours, student testimonials, and visually appealing posts with trending and viral sounds and trends. Remember to utilise your SEO on social media too, with 40% of Gen Z using TikTok as their go to search engine. Gen Z’s digital immersion demands institutions to meet them on the platforms they frequent and engage with them through captivating storytelling.
2. Personalised Communication
Gen Z places a premium on personalised interactions. Authentic marketing within an institution can ultimately create strong loyalty with students, and its evident Gen Z value connection in the advertising landscape. In fact, 76% of individuals say they would engage with a brand they feel connected to over a competitor.
Universities should harness the power of precise, targeted messaging to engage with students, creating compelling narratives and ultimately, drive up application, acceptance, and enrollment rates.
It appears that every generation, especially 60% of Gen Z, still valuing genuine human interactions despite being digital natives. The personal touch of one-on-one connections remains unmatched in the realm of personalisation. So, when you’re diving into personalisation efforts, remember that meaningful human connections matter more than ever.
Adopt data-driven marketing techniques to send tailored messages and recommendations based on a student’s academic interests, achievements, and career aspirations. Personalise email communication, website content, and virtual campus tours to convey a sense of individual value, demonstrating your institution’s commitment to understanding and catering to each student’s unique needs.
3. Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Gen Z is particularly eco-conscious and socially aware, and by underlining your institution’s commitment to these principles, you can make your campus more appealing to this cohort.
Gen Z individuals are on the hunt for institutions that step up as sustainability leaders. A report by IBM revealed that 56% of Gen Zers expect businesses to shoulder the responsibility for environmental concerns. A sizable 72% of Gen Z insist that companies should be answerable for their environmental footprint.
Sourcing branded merchandise that is sustainable, creative, high quality and that a student will use on a daily basis will go a long way. Highlight your institution’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility in a professional manner.
Use social media to showcase green initiatives, community service projects, and partnerships with organisations that align with Gen Z’s values.
4. Amazing Amazon
Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) isn’t just good; it’s a game-changer when it comes to student recruitment advertising. Imagine having a secret weapon that helps educational institutions reach the right students with pinpoint accuracy. Amazon DSP does just that, enabling universities to connect with their dream applicants effectively. In fact, 45% of shoppers aged 18 to 24 listed Amazon as their preferred starting point for product searches.
With access to Amazon’s treasure trove of customer insights, you can fine-tune your ad campaigns to resonate with students who are actively exploring their higher education options. For example, you can target James who is searching for business studies textbooks on Amazon with your Business Studies course, or maybe you want to target Amelia who is listening to the ‘Making the right Uni decisions’ podcast on Amazon Music.
What makes this even more thrilling is the platform’s real-time optimisation and its vast network of partner websites and apps, with the average conversion rate on Amazon being 9.58%. This means universities can dazzle potential students with their offerings while being incredibly cost-efficient. In the digital age, where competition for students is fierce, Amazon DSP is your golden ticket to attract the best and brightest to your institution.
5. Interactive Virtual Experiences
With the cost of living crisis affecting many of Gen Z’s decisions, attracting students is harder than ever. UCAS found that this was evident with 38% of prospective applicants in the UK claiming they have had to cut down on the number of open days they attended due to costs Other students also mentioned that they had excluded universities in specific cities or regions from their consideration due to anticipated high expenses.
But there is a way to tackle this issue and still attract students that live further away without bringing them to your institution for a day. And we can thank the virtual world for that. Gen Z’s comfort with virtual experiences, heightened by the pandemic, suggests the importance of creating engaging online interactions.
Offer interactive virtual campus tours, online information sessions, and webinars. Provide opportunities for real-time Q&A sessions with current students, faculty, and staff. This professional and accessible approach allows prospective students to explore your institution from the comfort of their homes, while reinforcing your institution’s tech-savvy nature.
We created a successful interactive open day experience for Regent’s University London, in which we generated 2,736 clicks to their website and over 1,100 visits to their virtual open days.
So what next?
Generation Z is bringing some exciting shifts to the world of higher education. Contrasting to their Millennial predecessors, their specific needs and wishes are pushing colleges and universities to make some speedy updates from the campaigns that worked five years ago.
To keep their competitive edge, higher education institutions need to revamp their approach to reaching out to potential students. It’s time to do things differently and get even better results.
Gen Z Student Recruitment Services
At Arke, we’ve successfully generated record breaking results for our clients that go above and beyond their expectations.
Having worked with over 120 institutions, we’re experts in understanding education institutions wants and needs and actioning the plans to deliver just the right strategy to leverage student recruitment campaigns for a successful recruitment period.
Get in touch today to start your journey to success.