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Unlocking Success: 3 Strategies to Boost College Enrollment

5 min read

Rama Eriksson

In a time when higher education marketing is continually evolving, staying ahead of trends is key to attracting and engaging prospective students. We spoke with Kyle Campbell, a seasoned higher education marketing consultant and founder of Education Marketer. Kyle shared everything the higher ed marketer needs to know in enrollment marketing for 2024. Read on for his key insights. 


Shifting from Campaigns to Content: Engaging Audiences through Authenticity 

Over the past decade, the landscape of higher education marketing has undergone a significant transformation. There’s been a shift from traditional campaign-focused approaches to a more holistic strategy centered around content and audience growth. Institutions are now moving away from renting audiences through paid channels and are instead designing content programs that engage specific audiences, building trust and loyalty over time. 

One such channel gaining traction now is Twitch, owned by Amazon. Traditionally a livestreaming platform for gamers, it has expanded to include various genres like music, art, and sports. Furthermore, it’s especially popular among Gen Z audiences aged 16 to 24. 

Unlike traditional social platforms, Twitch offers a unique opportunity to connect with prospective students authentically. It provides immediate access to real-time experiences, creating a sense of immediacy and authenticity that resonates.  

Through partnering with existing campus groups like esports clubs, universities can help create immersive experiences that showcase the student experience while fostering connections between current and prospective students. 


Listen to Kyle Campbell on the Keystone Higher Ed Chats Podcast here


The Rise of Community Building: A Key Trend in 2024 

In 2024, the importance of community in enrollment marketing cannot be overstated. Platforms like ZeeMee, a student community app, are changing the game by bringing peer influence into the application process. These facilitated student-to-student connections play a crucial role in decision-making, with students three times more likely to choose a school where they've interacted with peers.  

Prospective students are eager to engage and interact with peers well before the application process begins. Encouraging prospective students to join a vibrant community and connect with others who share their interest in the institution invites an authentic ‘peek behind the curtain.’ 

Building connections and a sense of belonging before enrollment has become a “must-have rather than a nice-to-have for institutions,” according to Campbell. Do not wait until they're admitted—virtual communities offer an opportunity to foster these connections early on. 


Quality over Quantity: Redefining Content Creation in the Digital Age 

While frequency and consistency were once the focus of content marketing, a shift in focus to quality and differentiation is what’s important now. With attention spans maxed out, creating meaningful content that resonates with the audience is crucial. Instead of striving for constant presence, marketers should now focus on delivering impactful content when it matters most. 

What makes the most impact? The content that tells the unique story of who you are and what you offer as an institution. Communicate your strengths, and your differentiators, and strategically minimize or eliminate less impactful aspects.   


Leveraging AI and Data Analytics: Optimizing Marketing Efforts for Success 

AI and data analytics have been transformative in optimizing marketing efforts. Technologies like send-time optimization in emails, for example, can significantly improve open rates. It leverages AI to determine the best time to send messages based on a nuanced understanding of the target’s behaviors.  

Even AI-generated content is not the leviathan it was originally made out to be. Gen Z audiences are increasingly comfortable with AI-generated content if it provides value and quality. No qualifiers are necessary.   

This generation understands—as you should—that AI is mainstream and not just hype. AI tools for marketing are, in fact, helpful assistance devices that discover new creative solutions, reduce expenses, streamline processes, and enhance productivity. 


In a dynamic environment, stagnation leads to obsolescence. The key to enrollment marketing success in 2024 lies in adapting to emerging trends, prioritizing meaningful connections, and delivering value-driven content that resonates with today's digitally savvy audience.  



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