Recruiting military students is a smart move for any school. The value that student veterans bring to a campus (or online classroom) is seen in their graduation rates, grade point averages and their leadership qualities. According to Student Veterans of America's 2017 "Profile of the Contemporary Student Veteran," student veterans have GPAs that far outpace their non-veteran peers, coming in at 3.35 compared to 2.95. The study also proclaims that student veterans have higher graduation rates than non-veterans, along with an interest in pursuing degrees in STEM.
So it's pretty clear, every school should be actively trying to engage military veterans. But how do you go about doing that? Recruiting military students is not necessarily the same as traditional students. They have certain needs that must be met in order to spark their interest.
Take a Multi-Channel Approach
For lack of a better phrase, this is the proverbial, "don't put all your eggs in one basket" approach. It makes sense from an enrollment marketing approach that you would try and deliver your message to your audience on several of the platforms they are using. This helps to create brand recognition through repetitive exposure. But before you begin, do you know what platforms your audience is using? How about what brands your audience is loyal to?
Our G.I. Jobs brand is trusted by the military community to provide service members with advice and opportunities after they leave the military. Schools understand that one of the best ways to get their educational opportunities in front of the military is through a platform that has name recognition, but also delivers results.
Even within our G.I. Jobs brand, there are several platforms schools can use to reach the military community. One of the most important and effective is through targeted ad campaigns on Facebook. Here's an example of an ad Penn State ran for their online programs:
Here are VIQTORY, we have in house experts who help schools craft their messaging to the military community. If you don't have any experience engaging the military students, feel free to get in touch with us! We'd love to strategize with you.
Keep the Military in Mind With Your Marketing
As I said above, military students have different needs than those of traditional students. They care about different aspects of the college experience, and your marketing materials should hit on that. The idea should be to take an aspect of your school that is beneficial to military students, and promote that benefit through the eyes of a current or former military student.
Testimonials are still an effective way to leverage your offer. Here is a great example of a testimonial Drexel University did showcasing their online courses through the eyes of a veteran graduate:
Be Smart With Your Targeting
Finding potential military students using targeted social media ads has become one of the more effective ways for schools to gain applicants. In fact, companies using social media to recruit employees has grown in both scale and capability in recent years, and it only makes sense that schools are hopping on the train as well. But why is it so effective? The answer, in one one word: targeting.
The ability to place targeting parameters around your campaign allows your ad to be seen by somebody who it will resonate with. In this case, being able to specifically target the military community, most notably those who would be interested in educational opportunities, will make your campaign far more successful.
But the key to building a great target audience is in the data used to create it. This is where first-party data comes in. Our unique first-party data allows us to create custom audiences that produce major results for schools.
First party data is the unique information we collect directly from our audience, about our audience. It is called “first-party” because there is no in between. They connect with us, and we collect data and information about them. So, it is feasible to say that we are the only company in the world with this specific data about the military audience.
How Do We Collect First-Party Data
- Data from behaviors, actions or interests demonstrated across our websites, GIJobs.com and MilitarySpouse.com
- Email subscription data
- Social data from Facebook and other social outlets
- Data from our job board
- Activity on campaigns
- Current size of our data is 22 million that includes veterans and military spouses.
What Types Of Data Do We Collect?
- Military Branch
- Industry interests
First-party data is so valuable because it intuitively tells you who your target audience is, and allows us to run more efficient and effective campaigns. It brings you accurate traffic and a stream of interested, engaged potential applicants.
If you're interested in learning more, feel free to contact us.