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Preventing Summer Melt Under COVID-19 Restrictions

Stefanie Jansen |
June 23, 2020
Min Read

There’s no doubt that it has been a tough couple of months for universities. Throughout the spring, campus tours were conducted over video chat and recruitment events were cancelled. As universities make decisions about how to conduct a fall semester under the COVID-19 pandemic, students will also be grappling with how to proceed with their education. Universities need new, creative strategies for avoiding summer melt and attracting students to their website.

Marketing automation may hold the key to staying in the forefront of student minds this summer.

Since your audience is likely Gen Z (who have grown up online), a strong web presence is an absolute must. Sure, traditional forms of communication like email, phone calls, and personalized letters can still play a role in your marketing plan. The great news is that by tailoring your communication and combining these traditional methods with higher education automation and personalization, you can achieve better response rates on your website and take your recruiting to the next level.

1. Advertise programs or events online with PPC.

Take advantage of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to get in front of prospective students. Data suggests that some of the most effective PPC ads serve as reminders about admissions deadlines, specific educational programs, and scholarships you offer — leading prospective students directly to your website to learn more.

As we continue to avoid in-person events, use Facebook live or Zoom to schedule student Q&A sessions. With PPC, you can target prospective students to gain exposure and attendees. Capture these prospective attendees with a branded form on your website to register.

2. Use social media to generate more interest and excitement for the fall semester.

Prospective Gen Z students are already spending the majority of their internet time on social media. Why not meet them there? According to Pew Research, younger Americans embrace a variety of platforms that they visit multiple times daily. To take advantage, you can

  • Continue your advertising efforts from your website to social media channels. That way, you create continuity that your prospective students won’t be able to ignore.
  • Host contests on social media to engage prospective students and give them a chance to win free college gear or other items by providing their contact information (and permission!) that can later be used for more personalized communications.
  • Ask current students to become social media ambassadors on your social accounts. By posting personal testimonial videos of current students on social media, prospective students have the chance to hear firsthand what makes your college stand out from the rest.
  • Have a strategy in place. Create a social media marketing strategy to help guide your college and reach higher with your marketing goals.

3. Create a platform-agnostic website.

Your students are on-the-go. Did you know that Gen Z spends an average of four hours and 15 minutes per day on their mobile devices, with 95% of them owning a smartphone? In fact, 78% consider their mobile devices their most important device to go online. That’s why reaching them on laptops, tablets, and mobile devices is non-negotiable if you want them to keep your college or university top-of-mind.

“Platform-agnostic” means that your website will maintain the same quality no matter what operating system it is viewed on. By creating mobile-friendly forms, you’ll be taking a huge step in ensuring your website looks great no matter what device it is viewed on. These mobile-friendly forms are fully responsive and adapt to any device. No more scrolling or pinching! And it doesn’t stop there — you can develop mobile contact forms, lead generation forms, event registrations, surveys, and more. How’s that for targeted marketing?

Work Smarter (Not Harder!) to Engage Students

At Formstack, we love helping our higher education customers connect with prospective students in new and innovative ways. Is your institution doing something innovative or creative? Let us know on Twitter!

Your institution needs an especially strong plan to deal with summer melt this year. Transform the way you manage student data with Formstack’s robust platform. Improve student engagement and retention with smart and powerful tools at your fingertips.


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Stefanie Jansen |
Stefanie is a marketing writer with specialties in blogging, website writing, and copy editing. She has worked with a number of tech companies and has experience in the areas of email, marketing campaigns, and employee engagement. Connect with Stefanie at word4wordwriting.com.
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