Marketing, Promoting, and Recruiting for Online Programs

Marketing, promotion, recruitment, and enrollment management are critical steps in building successful online programs. At the beginning of the development process, it is important to determine the potential viability of a new online program. A labor market report from BurningGlass or a more thorough program feasibility study are available to academic units through CEI.

Unlike on-campus programs, the marketing of online programs requires specific skills and greater investment to successfully reach today’s learners digitally. Some important points to consider that distinguishes online learners and requires unique marketing approaches include:

  • Most online degree students are adult learners
  • Most students looking for online degrees are searching for the best fit program rather than the campus or campus life.
  • Financial aid availability is critical for online degree seekers
  • Career relevance is highly valued
  • Search engine optimization and digital ads are important
  • The design of the program landing page is key in generating leads
  • Lead management is an often neglected but critical aspect of recruitment (a program landing page does not have much value if student inquiries are not handled in a prompt, professional, and ongoing manner)

Although the University of Minnesota does not currently offer centrally supported marketing/enrollment management/recruitment services or start-up funding in these areas, the following are some of the current options that academic units can consider:

  • Partner with Coursera (the U of M has a current agreement with the company) on the delivery of undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
  • Partner with the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS) on the development and delivery of programs if there is a fit for both CCAPS and the other U of M academic unit.
  • Partner with an Online Program Management (OPM) company in the delivery of an academic program.
  • Engage a fee-for-service vendor (e.g., All Campus, Blackboard OPX Solutions, etc…) to provide services.

Free services

Contact Bob Rubinyi (rmr@umn.edu) for more information and to discuss the above options in greater detail.