College and university enrollment leaders have a ton on their plates this time of year. Questions surrounding the current state of the fall 2022 enrollment funnel are compounded by the need to enroll new students for the spring semester. This can bring a certain level of anxiety to the table. It’s important to evaluate data and make decisions that will impact all those enrollment periods.
Also, financial aid season is getting into full swing in the coming weeks. That means conversion of prospects to inquiries — and inquiries to completed applications — is the major focus of every admissions office.
Conversion is just the next step in the Identify, Convert and Enroll pipeline. The ability to take those who inquire and provide them with appropriate, timely and authentic messaging goes beyond what they find on your website. Your ability to deliver meaningful messages can help you convert students to applicants and future enrollments.
This week we explore the notion of conversion through the lenses of the middle four C’s of Capture Higher Ed’s 12 C’s for Enrollment Leaders. (Check out Part 1 of this blog series to see the first four C’s, which focus on identifying prospective students through engagement.)
These four leadership and action traits can help enrollment leaders realize their goals.
The charisma of a campus and its enrollment leadership has a direct impact on recruitment outcomes. Bringing your campus’s personality to the table each time a digital asset, admissions staff, or faculty member has contact with a student is crucial.
That’s why it is so important for you as enrollment leaders to know and understand the students you are recruiting. When you identify students who have applied for admission, you must take your game to the next level. Beyond the information on the transcript, what do you really know about that student and their influencers?
The use of predictive models for conversion can be helpful. While you may not change the “when, where, and how” that your team delivers, your institution’s “why enroll here” messaging comes to the forefront. Your interactions, whether in person, in your viewbook, on your website, or your other digital assets, must make your prospective students confident in enrolling at your institution.
That’s the charisma; showing off your campus personality in an authentic manner.
Conviction is a trait that, when harnessed correctly, can take your enrollment team to the next level in enrolling the right students for your campus. Your team may have strong beliefs about how to recruit individual territories. And that’s fine. However, team members must keep in mind the overall picture of the campaign. Your counselors must convey their passion for the institution, bring the campus to life, and make the conversion of inquiry to applicant an easy decision for your prospective students.
Also, the conviction that is shown in your digital marketing and dynamic content messaging can provide inspiration for students and their families to continue their enrollment journey at your institution. Providing real examples of student outcomes coupled with faculty interactions can show families the passion your institution has for the student experience.
Of all the C’s, this is the most fundamental to recruiting students. The ability to communicate with students and their support networks is probably the single most important part of the process of converting students. Communication happens in many forms throughout the recruitment process. Whether it is done personally, or through an email, or through dynamic content delivered on your website, each message must have purpose and be measured for success.
While most campuses have CRM email drip campaigns, and some do digital advertising, there may be a need to take your communication to the next step. Prospective desire intentional communication at the time they want it … not in the morning or overnight when communication campaigns flow from your CRM (or whatever delivery service you are using).
That’s the power of Capture’s Behavioral Intelligence Platform. Having the ability to deliver content when the student wants it — and being able to measure that messaging 24/7 — provides a digital experience that is personal and authentic to the student.
Courage is something that all enrollment leaders must have during this time of enrollment uncertainty. The decisions you make daily can have positive and negative results on the success of a campaign. One college president that I had the awesome opportunity to work with once asked, “Do you have the courage to lead?” It is a legitimate question, but a better one might be, “Do you have everything you need to reach our goals?”
Leadership is expressed in many ways. While you are a leader of enrollment, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are others on and off campus who are willing to help. Have the courage to ask them.
As an enrollment leader, courage also means making necessary adjustments. Whether it’s changing an email in your behavioral email series or making a change to your financial aid model to be more competitive, enrollment leaders must realize that focusing on what is working (and expanding those expenditures) is the way to success. This means that enrollment managers must be brave, imaginative and think outside the box in many instances.
The key takeaway about courage: Be bold in your approach throughout the enrollment cycle.
With changing demographics, huge increases in digital interactions, and the need for Gen Z to feel a connection, helping students throughout the enrollment process is more important than ever. Enrollment leaders are searching for answers … and searching for partners to help them achieve those goals.
Let’s meet back here next week for the final installation of Capture’s 12 C’s for Enrollment Leaders when I will discuss the final step in the process … enrolling. Until then, keep your team energized about their important work, because every interaction counts.
By Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Senior Enrollment Strategist, Capture Higher Ed