Direct Mail Marketing for Higher Education

Colleges, universities, and trade schools have never been under more pressure to recruit students and meet enrollment goals. Not only are they struggling to stand out from schools in local markets and across the country, but they’re also being scrutinized by potential students and parents who increasingly evaluate higher education based on ROI.

In a previous article, we discussed how schools use various direct mail formats for recruitment, retention, and fundraising. But what is it about direct mail that makes it such a powerful marketing tool for higher education?

While high school students receive dozens or even hundreds of texts, emails, instant messages, and social media alerts each day, they might find a single piece of physical mail addressed to them in their mailbox. Direct mail gives you an incredible opportunity to grab the attention of prospective students in a personal, meaningful way.

Of course, decisions about which schools to visit and attend aren’t made overnight. People tend to hold on to direct mail for days or even weeks and come back to it when they have time. This is especially important for adult learners who now make up more than one-third of all students enrolled in higher education. Older students who juggle work and family obligations are more likely to notice and respond to direct mail than the thousands of digital ads and notifications they see every day.

In addition to getting noticed, direct mail can help you build the relationships that still drive student recruitment, even in this age of sophisticated websites and mobile apps. With variable data printing, mailings can be personalized based on each individual’s preferences and interests, leading to increased engagement, more visits, and more applications.

Direct mail can also combine the credibility and trustworthiness of print with modern features such as video and virtual reality. For example, your school’s mailing can include a virtual tour of a specific school or facility that interests the prospective student or a personalized video message from a staff member, student, or alumni.

Speaking of alumni, the relationship between school and student doesn’t end when caps are tossed into the air. Direct mail’s high response rates lead to better fundraising and higher donor retention rates, especially when integrated with online and mobile marketing as part of an omnichannel strategy. According to Nonprofit Source, the Greatest Generation gives more than any other generation and is responsible for 26 percent of total U.S. giving each year. This generation is most likely to give through direct mail campaigns.

Ultimately, the goal of any institution of higher learning is to build lifetime relationships with each student that starts before they even set foot on campus. Direct mail can play a pivotal role in creating and maintaining lasting connections.

If you’d like to learn how your college, university, or trade school can take full advantage of direct mail to increase enrollment and improve fundraising, contact us to unleash the power of Digital Dog Direct.