Higher-Ed Marketing | News

Create Better Student Personas

When marketing your university or college to savvy younger Millennials and members of the up-and-coming Generation Z, one-size-fits-most doesn’t work anymore. Members of both cohorts want personalization, and if you send them cookie-cutter e-mails and marketing materials, you’ll lose them.

That’s why you should create what are known as student personas. Similar to buyer personas, student personas allow institutions to create highly personalized content, helping you attract the exact type of students you want.

What is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona helps you focus on your target audience’s particular needs, wants and challenges. The persona helps you align all your marketing efforts, helping you attract only the most valuable leads and potential customers to your enterprise.

What is a Student Persona?

Like its cousin the buyer persona, a student persona is a representation of a college’s or university’s perfect “customer”: potential students. They are based on research of current, future and past students: they are not simply demographic information. And, while, GPA, SAT scores, family finances, etc. are a part of a student persona, you also need to delve into:

  • The motivation and goals of your “perfect” prospective students.
  • Their pain points and challenges.
  • Background info (age, income, parental status, level of education now, professional/job status).
  • What behaviors or steps do they take as they go through the decision-making process (where do they research online, what part of your “digital ecosystem” will they head to first)?
  • Who influences them (parents, friends, guidance counselors, etc.)?

5 Tips to Create Better Student Personas

Hobsons and Higher Education Marketing offer two nice primers on creating student personas. We’d also like to add the following:

  1. Empathize:

    Spend a good deal of time getting to know your desired students’ pain points and the emotional aspects of their school choice (it’s close to home and they want to live at home; it’s affordable; their mom went to the school and they want to go where she went; they love the football team; they’ve heard job placement just prior to graduation is upwards of 90 percent; etc.)

  2. Leverage:

    Use student success stories to model student personas (and attract your ideal students).

  3. Experiment:

    Work with students. Survey them to see what improves their experience with you.

  4. Stay Open:

    Never get attached to something that doesn’t work (always be testing your materials). Times change and your perspective students’ needs and interests will change over time.

  5. Adapt:

    Use personas through graduation: alumni are extremely valuable to your admissions process, too. You therefore want to make sure you address how each persona should be nurtured after students graduate.

How do Student Personas Attract More Inquiries and Applicants?

Creating student personas help you know exactly what’s important to the students you want to enroll at your campus, allowing you to tailor all of your marketing efforts (especially digital marketing) to their goals, needs and challenges. (For example, once you create your personas, you can rewrite/tweak marketing and web copy so that it showcases the information and selling points your personas deem critical.)

Ingenex Digital Marketing specializes in higher education marketing, helping institutions find and enroll the perfect students! If you’d like to learn more about how our Michigan-based inbound marketing agency can do the same for you, drop us a line today.



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