Think the best way to turn an interested prospect into an enrolled student is through traditional or digital marketing tactics? That may not be the case. When it comes to attracting qualified students, colleges and universities nationwide are turning to a more direct, personalized approach: peer-to-peer (P2P) or word-of-mouth marketing.
With P2P marketing, current customers (or students, for higher education institutions) serve as brand ambassadors to promote a product or service to potential customers. For example, at Molloy College, the Insider program matches prospects with current students to connect by text message and to “get the scoop about what it’s really like to be a Molloy student.”
Here are four ways your college or university can also benefit from P2P marketing:
- Differentiation. Just as no two schools offer exactly the same programs, no two prospective students are identical. P2P marketing lets you tap into the unique needs of the individual you’re trying to reach and then connects your school to those needs in a personal and creative way. Enter brand ambassadors.
- An engaging experience. P2P marketing allows you to show your school’s personality, to be creative, to be funny, to be yourself. While it’s important to produce unique and entertaining content to keep your audience engaged, it’s equally important that your audience trusts and believes your message as well as the messenger.
- Personal interaction. With today’s social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn—consumers can instantly speak up and voice their opinions through likes, shares and comments. Allowing prospects to interact personally with your brand ambassadors gives them what they want: Quick direct access to a real live knowledgeable person.
- Relationship building. Finally, word-of-mouth marketing often results in long-term relationships. When they feel like they’re valued as individuals, targets will return to you time and again. It’s a way for prospective students to connect to, and begin a relationship with, other students—and your college, too.
No matter what you call it—peer-to-peer marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, a brand ambassador program—if your school is looking to increase its student population by upping the number of prospect-to-student conversions, consider this people-focused tactic, which will put a name—and a face—to your campus.