3 Strategies to Maximize Your Enrollment Marketing

No matter if you are at the program, college or institution level, enrollment marketers are often pressed for time and resources. This can either create a constant state of reaction or leave little time to experiment with new strategies. 

In terms of recruitment at any level, email is still an important higher education marketing channel. It can achieve personalization, communicate in real-time, provide access to relevant content and spur action. However, it’s easy to get stuck trying to automate or test and learn if you are an enrollment marketing team of one. 

Below, we’ve explored three enrollment marketing strategies to help your recruitment efforts- with email at the core. 

Create cross-channel synergies

No matter if it’s an inquiry, applicant or admitted student email campaign, we painstakingly craft compelling email copy along with attention-grabbing calls to action (CTAs). And while it’s important to think through the journey from email to a web experience, if we include social media links, we’ve created another impactful destination prospective students may go.

As prospective students move from email to social media, you have an important opportunity to reinforce your messaging or reframe the CTA in the email for social. When I worked in enrollment management marketing, I noticed that social media accounted for a significant number of clicks from email campaigns. We incorporated scheduled posts around large email campaigns as part of our content strategy. This may get a bit tricky if you have smaller lists or drip campaigns that prospects routinely enter and exit, however, throughout the enrollment cycle there are bound to be moments when large emails are sent: application reminders, event invitations or even scholarship reminders. Identify those moments and examine ways to strengthen your message across each communication channel.  

Express your institutional values

I remember when Coca-Cola came to my college’s campus with their Happiness Machine. The Happiness Machine is a vending machine anyone can walk up to, make their usual purchase and the vending machine delivers an “extra dose of happiness.” I saw gift cards, t-shirts and cash emerge from the slot. For a brand who is positioned on delivering happiness, this makes sense. Find the opportunity, when your audience is as close to the brand as possible to reinforce what you stand for. In this case, strengthening the association between Coca-Cola and happiness. 

As prospective students enter your funnel, they are usually there because of some form of brand interaction. They actively want to engage with your institution. Like Coca-Cola, what ways can you create brand actions or “live” your brand promise throughout the student journey? 

For example, personalization is a big word in higher education marketing. What can you do to go beyond using their first name or segmenting by an application or inquiry form field? If you position your institution on its sense of community, how can you communicate that through your actions as students enter your funnel? 

Turn your ‘thank you’ into a compelling confirmation

Would you believe that “thank you” is a phrase actively studied in academia? It’s a powerful phase that is shown to increase productivity, increase the likelihood of reciprocity and produces a “spillover” effect. 

The “thank you” email is also a powerful communication tool. You know the one that usually goes something like this: “Thank you, {{first name}}, for requesting more information” or “{{first name}}, we’ve received your completed application.”

The thing to remember about your confirmation and thank you emails is that they are more than likely going to be your most opened email. We’ve seen anywhere from 60-80 percent open rates on confirmation emails. 

This presents a huge opportunity to provide relevant information at a time when your audience is most attentive. Provide the opportunity for further exploration by incorporating multiple actions or links. Outside of opening up a new avenue for engagement, you can also use this information to learn more about your prospective students by what they choose to click-through to. 

These strategies are all about taking advantage of the moments when prospective students are most engaged with you. Start by mapping out a prospective student’s journey and uncover where you can implement key enrollment messages.

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