Niche-based digital marketing attracts nontraditional students

Targeted digital marketing has proven effective in attracting nontraditional students to Mount Olive College.

To improve enrollment, officials at Mount Olive College in Mount Olive, N.C., knew they needed to understand their own student population better, and identify the types of students they should target in the future.

To do this, the college enlisted the help of ed-tech company Hobsons.

“We really have not done any digital marketing before [using] Hobsons,” said Jennifer Ricks Merritt, director of marketing at Mount Olive College. “We started in January 2012. We saw that we needed to begin growing our inquiries and moving into the online area, [and] we liked Hobsons because they had had success in adult programming marketing, [which is] not something that every college is doing.”

Mount Olive has several one-night-a-week programs that offer the flexibility its many nontraditional students crave. These programs include the Heritage Associate’s Degree, and bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Management of Information Systems, Early Childhood Education, Health Care Management, and Religion.

“We know that the adult student is trying to work through very busy schedules, so we’ve developed [an] innovative approach so that people can attend a class one night a week at a variety of different locations in Mount Olive College, so it fits into their busy schedule,” said Philip P. Kerstetter, president of Mount Olive College.

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(Next page: How Mount Olive determined which types of students to target in particular)

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