Marketing Insights

Keeping Your 529 Audience Informed During the Pandemic

529 College and Coronavirus

In this series, Emma Willis, a senior marketing strategist at Mangan Holcomb Partners and Team SI in Arkansas, is diving into the messages 529 programs SHOULD be sharing with their 529 followers as they prepare their children for college, which is going to look different during the pandemic.
During this time, it’s important to stay CONNECTED to your consumers any way you can. Open the door to relevant conversations and be a resource to keep your brand top-of-mind for 529 followers.

Follow along with us throughout the month of August 2020 to learn ways you can inform and engage your 529 audience.

What can students expect with college tuition this fall?

While some colleges are planning on reopening, others are considering providing fewer courses in-person or turning strictly to online classes. That means there’s a potential for savings on college costs, including room and board and meal programs. Depending on the college, online tuition can also cost less than its traditional counterpart. That means more money is kept in their wallets and in their savings plans.

How can parents prepare students for college?

In a typical scenario, freshmen would visit campuses and attend an orientation before taking on their studies. They’d be able to walk the grounds, find classes and get to know the college atmosphere. In a time of social distancing, the freshman experience is looking a little different.

To help these students feel more confident, turn them to current students and faculty. They can help them adjust to the school climate and feel better prepared about what is to come. Advise them to browse the school’s website to see its response to COVID-19, any updated policies or procedures and any virtual tours or experiences the college has offered.

With the pandemic causing layoffs across the country, many students might be living under different financial restrictions than when they first applied for college. Advise them to get in touch with their college’s financial department to see if they are eligible for any additional financial assistance considering their circumstances.

For high school students who aren’t headed to college until next year, what’s the best way to plan for higher education?

This one we all know the answer to. They should put their money in a 529.

Help your audiences understand the benefits of a 529. Create content that sends the message that they can actually SAVE money in the long run by investing in their child’s future today. Make sure they know the money they put into the plan is tax-free and will not be taxed when it is taken out. Maintaining a plan is low maintenance and they have the flexibility of adjusting contributions multiple times a year. And don’t forget to tell them the best part: EVERYONE is eligible for a 529 plan.

During this trying time, your audiences are looking and listening for ways they can prepare their children for a brighter future. Put these messages in front of them.

At Mangan Holcomb Partners and Team SI, we’re watching the data to find what keywords your audiences are typing in the search bar, what mediums they are using to stay connected and what sites they are turning to for information.

With our data-driven strategies, we can put your 529 in front of them.

For more ideas on connecting with your audiences, reach out to Emma Willis – senior marketing strategist at Mangan Holcomb Partners and Team SI and former executive director of Arkansas’ 529 Education Savings Plan.