Top Three Digital Marketing Tips to Recruit Graduate Students

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Digital Marketing

Top Three Digital Marketing Tips

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Market smarter, not harder, with these strategies to strengthen your outreach efforts and successfully engage tomorrow’s graduate students.Graduate student recruiting is a different game than traditional student recruitment. The messaging and channels that cater to Gen-Z don’t always translate to the Millennial market and beyond. Additionally, the proportion of the population that is considering graduate school has been largely on the decline for the last decade¹. Given these realities, how can institutions best reach those adults who are good prospective students for their graduate programs? The best grad recruitment strategies offer a multi-pronged approach, ensuring you have campaigns that are intent-driven as well as some that are more branded, but highly targeted. This approach will offer a higher return in new inquiries.

1. Invest in programmatic search engine marketing + keyword retargeting.

A crucial strategy to reach adults is to cater to their expressed interests. Programmatic search engine marketing puts your digital ads in front of adults who are searching for similar words on Google and other search engines. Combine these efforts with keyword retargeting—digital ads that follow these adults to the other apps they visit to continue marketing to them—and you’ve got a recipe for successfully staying at the forefront of prospective grad students’ minds.

When Encoura added keyword retargeting to a search engine marketing campaign for one partner, the school saw a lift of 30% in completed applications.

2. Geofence professional conferences and events.

Geofencing means sending your digital ads to the mobile devices and top social platforms of individuals who are located at a specific location. While high school students can easily be reached at their schools or college events, a solid strategy for reaching prospective graduate students is by reaching them while they are at professional conferences and events.

An Encoura partner recently geofenced a conference event and its surrounding hotels. The results of the school’s geofencing campaign were a click through rate of 0.89% and a very high conversion rate of completed applications.

3. Remarket to your past undergraduate inquiries, applicants, and enrolled students.

Life happens…past prospects didn’t enroll and some enrolled students didn’t graduate. Let them know now is the best time to finish what they started. Bring these prospects back into your enrollment funnel by targeting them on all the social and digital platforms they enjoy the most.

Marketing your graduate programs to students who are already familiar with your institution has been a very effective tactic for many schools. Even if students’ last known email address is no longer valid, a majority of these individuals can still be matched to their YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram accounts and even their mobile device and streaming services. This is your opportunity to re-engage them at a time when they are ready to receive your new information about the value of your graduate degrees.

One college who partnered with Encoura to remarket to their past prospective students saw record CTR and .edu engagement as well as double-digit return inquiries and applications.


Implementing any or all of these strategies—geofencing, keyword retargeting, and remarketing—is an effective approach to recruiting graduate students because of their strong emphasis on focusing time and monetary resources on individuals most likely to apply and enroll. Each of these tactics engages students who already have graduate studies on their minds or who already are familiar with your institution.

If you would like to team up with an enrollment partner who will seamlessly integrate these digital marketing strategies into your current recruitment plan to engage promising prospective graduate students, Encoura Digital Solutions wants to connect with you! Email us at to get started on marketing together.

¹Eduventures analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) data from the U.S. Census.

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