Higher education platforms usually market to a broad yet narrow age range. What do we mean? While the 16 to 30 demographic contains many different people with different experiences, this is still only a small subsection of people at different ages in life. Two noticeable extremes are missing: the elderly and the young.
It’s obvious why higher education platforms wouldn’t market to 60- and 70-somethings, who are typically people who have either achieved all the education goals they set out to accomplish or they aren’t looking to try anymore if they didn’t. However, the other extreme may be an untapped market worth looking into.
Children are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, waiting to go out into the world and filled with hope and charisma. Targeting younger age groups for the purpose of inspiring them to attend a higher education platform may lead to both their education success and higher enrollment statistics.
Inspiring Children at a Younger Age
If you don’t want to take our word for it, consider this excerpt from a blogpost on FastWeb that illustrates the point:
“Most parents start thinking or talking about college when their kids are in high school. […] The right time to start this conversation is believe it or not, in fourth or fifth grade and continue this conversation throughout till they graduate from high school.”
Parents and guardians have a responsibility to make this happen in the lives of their children, but it becomes an issue when higher education platforms don’t follow through on providing them with the right tools. It’s one thing for a parent to simply tell their child they’re expected to go to college, but another when a higher education platform offers parent resources that engage and excite a child about the opportunity.
Once a child hits a certain age (usually the time they’re entering high school), their ideas about college become more negative and arbitrary. Appealing to this demographic as a higher education marketer can sometimes be more about relying on the fact that they have no other choice as opposed to getting them excited to go to college. It is true many older students and adults will go to college out of necessity, but inspiring younger children to receive higher education can help win that battle early on.
How do HEPs Reach Younger Children and Teens?
If you want to market higher education to a younger age bracket, you’re looking at a range of children that are about seven to 13 years old. This is old enough for them to understand the point and importance of higher education while still reaching them at a young enough age.
Herein lies the question: how do you market yourself to such a young demographic? A blogger group from the Huffington Post has some creative insights:
- Appeal directly to kids via music. Do you need to create a song for them to put on repeat? No — instead, look to advertising on free music hosting platforms or websites, like YouTube or Spotify. These are popular advertising spots for businesses that look to capture the attention of children…so why shouldn’t higher education platforms do the same?
- Don’t be afraid of in-person interaction. Local colleges and other higher education options can hold exploration days for children that familiarize them with the campus. Once they’ve grown up, a teen entering college is more likely to attend a campus that’s already familiar to them.
- The attention span of Internet users is already very small. Now think about a child using the Internet — pretty frightening stuff! As a result, it’s even more important that you keep your marketing approaches quick and engaging so it catches their interest.
- Don’t talk down to children. It’s also important to not talk over them — instead, get on their level. Baby talk and highly technical language are two sides of the same extreme coin.
Want some of our own advice? Look to your alumni. Many parents who attend a college will want their own children to follow in their footsteps. These parents may be the most receptive to introducing children to college early on. You likely have an alumni mailing list — send out information about this topic in hope of reaching their younger family members.
Not only is marketing higher education to a younger audience a wise idea, it’s also completely doable. With a little creativity, you can make it work.
Looking for more ways to improve your higher education marketing strategy? Learn how you can make your marketing appeal to both highschoolers and their parents.