Born between the mid-1990s and 2010s, Gen Z or zoomers grew up with technology as the center of their lives. Believe it or not, at least 98% of them own smartphones. And you must have noticed how they tend to stay glued to their devices throughout the day! So, traditional marketing won’t work for them. Gen Z students won’t always go for in-person campus visits, fill up physical forms, post them to your college, and wait for the acceptance letter. When it comes to recruiting Gen Z students at your college, technology should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. But that is not enough.
Remember that Gen Z students know what they want better than millennials or the generations before them. They have high expectations and are not ready to settle for anything less. They are also extremely aware about the world and what’s trending and take mental health and personal satisfaction seriously. And their attention span is short, around 8 seconds to be precise. Which means, recruiting generation Z students is not a simple task. You need to give them what they want and how they want it, to grab their attention and engage them. Here are 7 Tips That can Help You.
1. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
We are assuming that your college has a website, for starters. That’s because, the world has gone online and it’s especially true for zoomers. From studying, finding information and communicating with friends, to watching movies, shopping and banking, they do practically everything online, and majorly on their smartphones. So, while there is no doubt that your website should be laptop and desktop-friendly, it must work fine on smartphones or handheld devices.
One of the top tips for recruiting Gen Z is to make sure that your website looks good on mobile phones, is easy to navigate and zoom, and shows all the necessary icons, tabs and buttons. The text should be legible, and the visuals should be sharp and clear. This way, Gen Z students can explore what you have to offer on the go and even undertake an action.
2. Use Virtual Tours
We don’t need to emphasize that online marketing cannot survive without visuals. But just using still images (no matter how awesome they are) isn’t going to cut it. You need short, crisp and engaging videos, or better still, virtual tours. It has already been observed that Facebook video posts attract 60% more users than text or image-based posts.
So, recruiting Gen Z to college needs you to use the best marketing hack possible. And there’s nothing better than college virtual tours that highlight all the best aspects of your institution, from its lush green lawns and beautiful buildings to lively lecture halls, laidback cafeterias, stylish auditoriums and state-of-the-art labs. They are super realistic, immersive and the next best thing to reality. But make sure the tour hooks your prospective students in 8 seconds or less.
Gen Z students will love to explore your campus if the tour is well-shot and informative. They can take as much time as they want. Plus, they won’t need to waste money on travelling or carve out time for the tour. They can view it anywhere and anytime. Through virtual tours, prospective students will be able to imagine how their life will be if they join you. They will get familiar with the surroundings and be able to decide if your college is easy to reach, close to everyday facilities and has proper infrastructure.
3. Provide Information the Right Way
Choosing a college is no piece of cake, especially for zoomers who tend to be picky and want to find that perfect match. Which is why you need to give them all the information they need to make a wise choice. Make sure your website has categorized and structured information on courses or programs, eligibility, tests, faculty, scholarships, fees, extracurricular activities, events and so on.
Your contact information, including address, phone number, email ID, and social media apps should be easy to spot too.
If you are using a virtual tour, make sure you embed small chunks of text to give them important information, like how many students graduated last year, top companies that visited you for recruitment, what prizes you won last year, any celebrated alumni you might have etc.
Also note that the best way to do Gen Z recruiting is not just by providing information, but also making it easy to read and process. Otherwise, it will be just information overload without any real results (or conversions). So, make sure all your website pages have a clean layout. The font style and size for the text should be neat and professional. Avoid using too many colors for the text. Use bullets or numbering as much as possible. And keep paragraphs and sentences short and easy. In case of visuals, the resolution and balance of colors must be perfect, and you need to focus on the right angles and lighting.
4. Be Social and Communicate More
Recruiting Gen Z to college can be easy but only if you connect with them the right way. For instance, if you think that just providing an email is enough so that they can ask questions, you are sorely mistaken. Maintain engaging social media pages and share the buttons on your website, blog, virtual tour and even marketing emails. Incorporate call to action buttons too, for application, talking to the admissions officer or student counselor, or planning an in-person visit. This will lend a personal touch to the communication process.
You can share updates of events on Facebook, beautiful pictures of your campus on Instagram and more serious information (related to programs, exams, interviews and deadlines) on a professional platform like LinkedIn.
This way, Gen Z students can follow you on different channels for different kinds of information. If you post regularly, soon enough, you will get their attention and even queries. Social media marketing is a great way to build trust and recruit Gen Z students. Make sure you respond promptly to their questions and set up a chatbot on your site if required. Make it possible for prospective students to reach out through an official WhatsApp number.
5. Tell Your Brand Story
In the process of recruiting Gen Z, don’t forget that you are competing with a million other colleges. This is especially true if you are looking to attract global students. So, what makes you different or unique? Why should a Gen Z candidate choose you over another college that probably offers similar courses or accreditations? Which brings us to your brand story.
Your online presence should reflect your brand values strongly, be it through your website, blog, social media handles or virtual tours. Maybe you care about the environment and host events every few months for beach cleanups. Or maybe you have a famous drama club that has students from all walks of life. You might have an impressive community service program, too. Or maybe you help all students land internships. Or you might be a college that celebrates diversity by hosting cultural movie nights or food fairs inspired by different countries. No matter what your unique selling point is, you must let it shine.
Basically, the best way to do Gen Z recruiting is by talking about your journey, how your college came to be, what you believe in, why prospective students should be proud of joining you.
6. Offer Credibility
While recruiting Gen Z, remember that they don’t believe in claims without proof. So, just saying that your college is the best won’t be enough. Instead, request current students and alumni members to pitch in and create short videos where they say why and how your college helped them land their dream jobs or start a successful business. They can also share their fun memories and how they have become better people. Shoot videos of actual events, seminars, and parties to prove that your institution is a place where awesome things happen for real.
Numbers are another way to give prospective students cold hard proof. Create short and engaging infographics or colorful charts on placement rate, top companies, highest GPAs scored in different programs, trophies won in sports and debates, percentage of students who graduated, and so on.
Also, don’t just focus on past students. Get your faculty members to share what is noteworthy about your college, why they love teaching here, and how they inspire students.
7. Provide Flexibility
Gen Z students prefer a flexible approach towards learning. They have varied interests and don’t want to get stuck in a monotonous program for years. The teaching methodology matters too. Anyway, one of the best tips for recruiting Gen Z is that you should offer flexible learning models. You can combine in-person and virtual classes too, so that Zoomers who have other responsibilities or constraints can attend conveniently.
Other ways in which you can ensure flexibility is by introducing a dynamic fee structure for distance courses and hybrid classes. Flexible payment models will also help, especially those students who are worried about your program’s ROI or are on a budget. Also ensure that fees for everything, including books, accommodation and even group activities are transparent.
Student loans are likely to be one of the most overwhelming concerns for Gen Z. So, you can reduce their stress by showing proofs of how past students in the same program got placed successfully and there are plenty of career options out there.
So, you can see that recruiting Gen Z to college requires a mixed bag of strategies. And the above 7 tips are the best ones you can have in your arsenal. Most importantly, understand what they want, embrace technology, and experiment with different tactics. And if you need any help with crafting gorgeous virtual tours or are new to the concept, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.