Digital and Email Marketing for Higher Ed

Higher Education Student Recruitment Strategies in 2022

Help Prospective Students Overcome Fears with Authentic, Personalized Communication

If every crisis is an opportunity, our friends and clients in Higher Ed Admissions and Enrollment Management have been tasked with being alchemists, working to spin recruitment gold from situational straw. In regions across the US and Canada, the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated a trending decline in undergraduate enrollment, with many students choosing to join the workforce instead of pursuing college.

A recent analysis by the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that high school students perceptions of unaffordability have had a direct impact in the decline of undergraduate student enrollment, especially among vulnerable and at-risk populations, such as first-generation students.

According to Ruffalo Noel Levitz  (RNL) 2021 E-Expectations Trend Report, Understanding the Impact of the Pandemic on Online College Search, the college website content most valuable to  juniors and seniors is cost/tuition/scholarship information, even before programs or degrees. And they want the information quickly.

There is no silver bullet to improve student enrollment, but when we talk about student recruitment strategies in 2022, it is helpful to return an evergreen truth: Generation Z is seeking guidance. More important than ever is clear communication that amplifies the personal touch and builds trust. The recruiting experience must speak to the unique and specific needs students have now, such as changing financial conditions, geographic preferences, or the need for flexibility for attending school while working.

Especially when it comes to financial aid and scholarships, students need to be reassured that there is solid path forward for them and their families. Authentic, personalized communications specific to the information they need, with a balance of engaging digital experiences and personal interactions, both real and virtual, will cut through the noise. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Pragmatism Matters. These Gen Z students and their Millennial counterparts, (the primary target for both Online and Graduate  programs) want to know what their education will cost, what’s the return on investment (ROI), what it takes to get in, and what it will be like. Provide quick access to costs, scholarships, graduate outcomes, and application information across communication channels.

Pairing In-Person and Virtual Advisement. The pandemic has permanently altered student recruitment, and many students and parents will desire both virtual and in-person interactions. Students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds, who may have language barriers, or are economically vulnerable, need to be shown a clear pathway forward. Student and family support throughout the application and admittance process will yield results. Undergraduate, Graduate and Online divisions, and International Admissions divisions, are enhancing their virtual event strategies with more web casts, live streaming  and digital community interactions. Most importantly, students and parents seek direct access with advisers and financial advisers.

User-generated Content and Influencer Marketing (Peer-to-Peer Power). Among Gen Z and Millennials, 86% say user-generated content is a good indicator of a quality brand. Universities that tap into current student and alumni population to talk about their experience, the impact of their degree on their lives and goals, and how they were able to afford it, will win out. On college websites and digital marketing, brief, mobile-friendly video vignettes are a powerful way to get to telegraph authenticity and relevance from trusted sources.

We Can Help You Reach Your Goals.
We can’t wait to show you how the CustomViewbook Digital Viewbook Platform has helped Admissions and Recruitment teams throughout North America more effectively engage and nurture prospective students.
Contact Mary Pannullo for an informative and fun demo. ( )

CustomViewbook Higher Education Student Recruitment Software is a Slate Preferred Partner.

Freeze Out Summer Melt. Engage Students and Families with Virtual and Digital Tools.

The dreaded phenomenon of summer melt: three months that feel like a year for college admissions and enrollment management. Each year, 10% to 40% of students, accepted and deposited in the spring, drop off before completing their enrollment journey.

We understand how 17- and 18-year-olds who just spent months getting accepted can feel overwhelmed at this stage. Suddenly confronted with complex forms and deadlines, they grapple with FAFSA applications, supplemental loans, the reality of tuition costs, housing, orientation, registering for class, confirming their major, transportation and the most current COVID requirements. Not to mention the big leap away from home, family, and friends. Especially at-risk are low-income, first generation, and underserved populations who may lack the support system at home to help push through these barriers to the final stages of enrollment. Confusion, self-doubt and anxiety can set in. And for certain, COVID-19 has only complicated matters.

For college admissions, it’s more vital than ever to support and encourage prospective students and their families, especially those most vulnerable to melt. At the same time, many schools are having to do more with less – leaner budgets, reduced admissions and recruitment staff, and summer months filled with administrative tasks. While no college app or AI chatbot can replace the personal individualized touch, virtual and digital tools are powerful ways to combat overwhelm, provide clarity, and have future students seeing and feeling the bigger, brighter picture just over the horizon, right on your campus.

  • Offer Centralized Support
    Create a ‘first stop’ student portal on your website so that accepted students can ask questions, be directed to the right resources, and confidently take next steps.
  • Inspire with Quality Content:
    At this stage, your accepted students have already formed a strong impression of your unique value proposition and brand. Digital ads, email, text, and social media campaigns should direct future students to website landing pages and multimedia experiences where students can explore and immerse themselves in the best of your academic, campus and experiential offerings with high quality videos, imagery, and interactive experiences.
  • Peer-to-Peer Impact:
    Provide a level of authentic connection and mentorship with student takeovers of your social media platforms. Have student ambassadors, honor society members, and program rock stars primed and ready to take over your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Providing students with a peer-to-peer, day in the life peek behind the scenes at academics, student life, research, clubs, and organizations brings possibilities to life with joy and fun – and can bring a new confidence to students’ decision making.
  • Maximize the Use of Virtual Tools.
    Virtual tools have provided a level of connection and access previously unavailable, especially for international and out-of-state and students who may not be able to make it to campus. Use these newly integrated tools to host town halls, open houses and decision day events where prospective students and their families can be introduced to and have direct access to the college president, leadership, faculty, and staff.
  • Engage Parents
    The parents of your accepted students, Gen X, primarily use Facebook as their preferred social media. Target parents with social media advertising that has messaging distinctly for them, driving them to landing pages and resources specific to their primary concerns, like financial aid, health resources, commuting, housing and safety.
  • Provide Continual Engagement and Nudges
    Texting and Chat bots have been shown to be effective ways to keep this non-linear decision-making process moving forward, with students getting real-time answers about orientation, housing, financial aid, loan applications and deadlines.

Let us help!
CustomViewbook provides prospective students with all the information they want in one personalized best-in-class digital experience. And, the highly-qualified inquiries you need. Mobile ready and with nothing to download, students are immersed in the best of your academic, student life and experiential offerings, with helpful next steps to support them through application, financial aid, connecting with campus, and more.

Contact Mary Pannullo for demo. ( )
We’ll can’t wait to show you how CustomViewbook and its suite of tools will help you capture stealth shoppers, including international and out-of-state students, and nurture inquiries at every stage of the recruitment journey.

Client Spotlight: Newman University

In Challenging Times, Creativity Wins Out.

All years must come to an end – to ring in something new and better. Good-bye 2020. Hello New Beginnings in 2021!

Before we part for the Holidays, we want to express our gratitude to our amazing Clients, and our admiration to the Admissions, Enrollment Management, Marketing and Digital Communications professionals we’ve met throughout the year. Despite the extraordinary challenges of COVID-19, the grit and determination of these Higher Education pros shines through!

Here is a fine example…


Geoff Louvar

Geoff Louvar, Admissions Digital Marketing Manager at Newman University, shared how he and the team are keeping it real and student-focused, while pivoting to virtual recruiting events and online sessions.

“As an Admissions team we are very fortunate to have CustomViewbook in our toolbox to recruit students during the COVID19 Pandemic. With students unable or willing to visit campus in-person, we have moved our recruiting events and visits online in a virtual format. The CustomViewbook allows students to receive and create their own personalized view book in a medium they use the most often – their phones. CustomViewbook has provided us with a “cool” factor advantage versus our competition that are relying on printed view books alone.”

Geoff generously shared some of the photos created for upcoming social media and print campaigns – cool, casual and sure to engage eyeballs and capture fresh new student inquiries.

Onward — to meet the challenges of 2021 with online and digital tools that meaningfully personalize the college search experience for prospective students, enhance virtual and in-person connections, and empower students and recruiters.

Connecting With Students In A Digital-First World

Just as colleges and universities swiftly implemented new ways to provide academic continuity for enrolled students during the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, higher ed admissions offices have found themselves mastering new skills as well. Constantly changing messaging, remote recruiting and virtual events – online student recruitment? You are already there.

The shift has been seismic for prospective students well. High school sophomores and juniors can’t help but feel sidelined themselves, as senior classmates graduate with very little pomp and circumstance. In these distant times, how can you connect with them in a more meaningful way?

CustomViewbookTM was designed to help students focus on how education can bring their hopes and dreams closer to reality – even the current one. Answering the questions about your institution that continue to be top of mind – what’s here for me, how can I make it happen, and where can I go from here – CustomViewbook allows you to email personalized content to engage, inform and reassure each prospective student.

A few things to keep in mind when helping your Generation Z prospects find their way in this season of uncertainty:

  • They’re digital natives accustomed to having things personalized for them, from playlists and newsfeeds to all kinds of product features. Help them feel seen with specific, dynamic, customized communication.
  • They aren’t excited about more frequent emails – just more relevant ones.
  • They’re pragmatic and rethinking what’s possible all the time. You can take a segmented approach to offer individualized options, such as regional campaigns that focus on local alternatives for college.
  • They’re cautious marketing targets. Authentic, brief and direct subject lines and calls-to-action give them the confidence that you can be trusted.

Whether capturing stealth shoppers on your website or from social media, or strategizing email campaigns that cut through the clutter and deliver meaningful engagement, we are here to help! Contact Mary Pannullo ( for an informative demo.