Identifying Prospective Adult Students

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April Clark

One of the challenges for colleges and universities in the twenty-first century is to keep adult programs full of qualified students. This segment of our society has many options. They are usually working full-time, have families with multiple activities, and have many other competing activities for their available time.

We have identified certain segments of our consumer database that are more likely to respond favorably to contacts from colleges and universities looking to recruit adult students. When thoughtful, insightful contacts are made to this group, they are motivated to contact the institution to find out more information. Institutions that are able to increase the size of their adult customer bases will be able to effectively encourage more prospective students to apply for admission and enroll. The first step is to identify a multi-sourced, clean database that is easily accessible 24/7 for queries and orders. The database needs to provide targeting options based upon age, income, gender, number of years in school, and geographic location. The specific criteria for the selects must be school and program specific.

The compiled file is a source for postal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for marketing outreach. You may want to market using multiple channels until you find the approach that works best for you.

After an appropriate list has been complied, the name of the direct marketing game is Test! Test! Test! You pull certain age groups with certain incomes and send out a mailer or an email to test the waters. Your direct marketing effort, regardless of mechanism, must be balanced with regard to creativity, message and demographic make-up of the targeted list of prospective students. Getting this balance often is a challenge. The efforts are worthwhile when the number of adult students enrolled increases.

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