To enroll the perfect class — the sun has to be shining just right, the earth spinning on its perfect axis, the winds coming out of the north at 2.4 mph … okay, you catch my drift. Everything borders on near perfection in order for you to throw your feet up, lean back and think, “Ahhh, it’s done.” But wait? What’s that? You hear a knock on the door … “What about 2017, 2018, how’s 2019 looking?” No rest for the weary! Back to it!
While it used to take a village of manpower to recruit a great class — technology has arrived and everyone in higher education is experiencing this shift. According to research firm, Educational Marketing Group, 2013 was the first year that spending on digital advertising outpaced all other higher education media spending EXCEPT TV. TV is king — think sports.
But while you’re seeing a rapid increase in spending for digital display advertising through Geo and IP Targeting or social media investments, you’re also seeing the adoption curve for marketing automation (MA). According to Marketo, institutions that were using MA said the primary benefits were:
• 36 percent reduction in minimizing repetitive tasks
• 30 percent increased capacity to target the RIGHT prospects
• General improvement in student experience, email marketing strategies and reducing human error
Technology allows your team to be more authentic, quicker and faster. It may sound crazy, but marketing automation can do it better than humans. Consistent, mission-driven content will generate the interest you desire — and then your expert team can take it from there. Your counselors change, you re-brand, your message needs tweaking, travel schedules, strategic initiatives … the list goes on and on. How can you assure that everyone is delivering the right message at the right time? You can’t. But technology can.
Personalized communication is a no-brainer and folks are catching on. In 2014 there were 11 times as many folks utilizing marketing automation as there were in 2011. In an article by EvoLLLution, they promote MA as a way of keeping prospective students engaged as they continuously bee-bop between your school’s web site and your competition. The more personalization, the more you cater their experience, the more they will want to connect deeper with your team.
One of our long-time partners, and early-adopter fans, Chris Coons has known this for a while.
“We try and utilize a variety of personalization tactics at Elmira to drive and maintain a student’s interest in our institution,” says Chris, who is vice president of enrollment management at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y. “We want students to connect with us and our mission as soon as possible. If we can customize their experience and provide relevant content to them, we know they’ll appreciate it.”
And it turns out he’s right. Chris has upped his spend in a few technology-related areas like MA and IP Targeting. The great thing about both of these technologies is if you partner with the right vendor, your customization opportunities are endless.
How good does your IP Targeting need to be to deliver high-value propositions to your prospects? It needs to be REALLY good. Try a 98 percent accuracy to deliver these personalized messages straight into your prospects’ home without incident.
And what about admits?
Delivering personalized, relevant content to your prospects will make them fall in love with you faster.
Keeping them warm and keeping them engaged is just icing on the cake. In the case of Elmira’s 2017 class, we’ve upped their game with MA too. Toasters, popovers and questionnaires are all part of a communications strategy to keep their prospects engaged and on their site learning more. Either before they’ve raised their hands (“Visit Campus”) or after too (“So you’re interested, have you thought about our Honors programs?”).
While these were just a few of the technology-based tactics employed for Elmira’s 2016 class, these solutions helped keep engagement up through the metrics of inquiries and applicants. And along with the sun shining at just the right angle, and the winds slightly out of the north at 2.4 mph, Chris tried to put his legs up after a 7 percent drop in discount rate, but sure enough someone came a-knockin’ and he’s already hard back at it.
Ellen Stubbs, Vice President of Marketing, Capture Higher Ed