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FROM SMALL PRIVATE COLLEGES TO LARGE RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES

Our client success comes in all shapes, sizes, and missions

Outsourcing your digital recruitment campaigns

 
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The Challenge

A private women’s college struggled with declining enrollment and among many challenges, lacked a systematic approach for cultivating and nurturing prospective student interest.

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The Approach

Develop a messaging architecture to plan, write, and deploy digital recruitment campaigns in best-in-class marketing automation software on behalf of the client.

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The Result

Outsourcing the college’s digital recruitment campaigns freed the admissions team to focus on the ground game. The college enrolled the largest class within the last decade.

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A common problem

With the availability of cloud-based software, undergraduate admission offices drift from their core competency of building a qualified applicant pool through relationship building.

Staff members are invariably tasked with responsibilities such as email design, writing, and campaign creation. Keeping up to date with the ever-changing email and SMS landscape is challenging and many find developing and maintaining internal staff expertise difficult.

While undergraduate admission offices typically outsource prospect search and follow-up, many keep the inquiry and applicant email and SMS nurturing process in house … to their detriment.

Struggling with enrollment

A private women’s college struggled with declining enrollment and among many challenges, lacked a systematic approach for cultivating and nurturing prospective student interest.

Visitation days were being cancelled due to a lack of interest and their enrollment pipeline lacked the necessary quantity and velocity to drive desired enrollment results.

The college invested in software to manage follow-up communication but lacked the internal expertise to effectively deploy it. Furthermore, they quickly discovered that the software capabilities fell way short of the vendor “hype” in the sales process.

Through the leadership of a new vice president of enrollment, the college sought a partner to outsource their prospective student digital campaigns from the prospect to confirmed student stages. This strategy would leverage the work of their small recruitment team to concentrate on their core competency, building direct and personal relationships with students and their influencers.

Outsourcing recruitment « air cover »

Our team got to work understanding the college's core brand proposition, declaratives (an institutional feature combined with a student-focused benefit) and proof points (facts, stories, or statistics that support the declarative).

Using existing recruitment collateral, previous market research, and the college's web site, we developed core message framework that would serve as a basis for email and SMS recruitment campaigns. By taking the college as it was, rather than trying to recreate a brand image, our team was able to quickly develop a comprehensive digital campaign.

Identifying necessary data from the college's student information system allowed us to personalize emails and SMS messages personalization by enrollment stage, region, academic major and activity interest without our marketing automation platform.

By creating dynamic audience targets or segments, campaigns were planned for prospective students, parents, and high school guidance counselors using our eduConverse marketing automation platform. As students progressed through enrollment stages (e.g., inquiry to applicant), they automatically moved into the next campaign.

Because the college was interested in increasing visitation opportunities for scholarship and preview days as well as for special academic interest days, we created web forms that could be embedded on the college’s web site while linking directly to our software.

Finally, enrollment counselors and leadership have direct access to the marketing automation platform to monitor real-time campaign results and to access student data.

A record class

The combination of new leadership and strategic outsourcing of the college’s digital recruitment campaigns led to increases in conversion and yield rates, and to the enrollment of the largest fall class in over a decade. Digital campaigns have been expanded to address prospective online students.

Given the existing infrastructure of marketing automation software and outsourced management of its campaigns, the college was able to quickly pivot at the beginning of the pandemic to offer virtual events before its competition. The admissions team was able to focus on developing online events and increase telephone follow-up while EduConverse did the heavy lifting of developing and deploying updated campaigns.

Centralizing email to manage your digital brand

 
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The Challenge

Lacking a single source of truth, a large, regional research university struggled to manage alumni and constituent email campaigns across nine colleges.

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The Approach

Audit email campaigns and determine user needs for targeting alumni. Implement a single tenet of marketing automation software with a contact Manage Communication Preferences Center.

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The Result

The university increased email performance by better managing its digital brand image. Unsubscribes decreased dramatically and giving rates and event attendance improved. 

A common problem

In higher education, most of the focus on "digital brand" is defined by the web site. Yet, email is the digital channel that has daily impact on students and your constituents. Colleges and universities decentralize email communication into individual divisions, departments, and offices, often with a disparate software tool set.

Struggling to manage the digital brand

A large, regional research university struggled to manage alumni and constituent email campaigns across nine colleges. Each worked independently of the other and often (unintentionally) at odds with the University’s larger alumni development and marketing goals.

Poorly targeted constituent emails created confusion as recipients received and opted out of emails from one college only to receive ongoing emails from others. The director of university marketing was concerned about the cadence, volume, and quality of emails being sent.

Each college managed their own shadow alumni list preventing recipients from indicating their preferences to the type of information they wanted to receive.

Developing a fixed point of reference and understanding user needs

Beginning with an audit current practices, we assessed what was being sent and to what audience across the university. The university's digital brand identity was inconsistent, at best and email messages were sent “en masse” with little to no segmentation.

In the words of one staff member, "we don't want our alumni to miss out on important information!" Yet, when everything is important, nothing is important.

After identifying underlying communication goals, our team identified data needed by each team to achieve their goals, and to provide visibility and better control of the university's brand image.

With a clearly defined core set of data fields, the IT team integrated their legacy campus database, Banner Advancement software to feed the relevant data into the eduConverse marketing automation software platform.

Users would be able to build their own “targets” through database queries using simple, logic statements within the platform and without the need for IT support.

All colleges were brought into a single tenet of our automation platform and using the email approval function, the marketing team was able to review email messages in advance before sending. This improved the quality of email campaigns and provided a necessary layer of governance.

A Manage Preferences Center was designed allowing recipients to “opt-out” of certain types of campaigns received from the university. Recipients could choose to be removed from certain types of campaigns, or fully unsubscribe from promotional emails.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency

The university improved the effectiveness and efficiency of their email marketing campaigns.

All colleges now work out of one software platform, providing visibility to, and governance from, university leaders. The number of alumni unsubscribing decreased by 10% while increasing overall giving and attendance at alumni events.

Rather than simply unsubscribing, alumni and constituents now have the ability to opt out of certain types of communications. This change has led to higher engagement rates across all university email campaigns.

Each college now submits email campaigns in advance to the university marketing team for review and approval before launch. The marketing team can limit the number of emails a contact receives in a day, week, or month.

The use of the platform has expanded to be used to manage internal communication from the provost’s and president’s offices.

Are disparate software tools (or none at all) damaging your digital brand?

Lack visibility into your institution’s email marketing efforts? Contact us today to learn how to unify your approach with enterprise level marketing automation software.

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Increasing performance of your existing CRM and marketing automation software

 
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The Challenge

Accelerate enrollment growth in an extensive portfolio of programs by aligning CRM and Marketing Automation Software.

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The Approach

Identify gaps in software usage and campaign underperformance. Develop a unified email and telephone follow-up campaign. 

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The Result

Reduced the overall cost per inquiry, decreased the time from initial inquiry to application, and overall, increased conversion rates of inquiries to applicants by 24% leading to higher enrollments across the portfolio.

A common problem

CRM and Marketing Automation Software can be a powerful recruitment tool when it is combined with people and process. Colleges and universities find that software alone is not the magic bullet to drive enrollment results.

Improving the use of software to drive enrollment growth

With an investment in new CRM and marketing automation software, a prestigious private research university was interested in modifying and strengthening their prospective student nurturing and conversion practices using email and telephone follow-up.

With a portfolio of 30+ professional masters and doctoral degrees and accelerated degree completion programs offered online and at three locations nationwide, the university was looked to accelerate enrollment growth across its’ academic portfolio

They sought a partner who could not only assess their practices, but to also develop and deploy a nurturing strategy that connected email messages and telephone follow-up email campaigns executed within their preferred software platform.

Strong leadership and highly capable staff increased the odds of success.

Identify performance gaps and create a unified campaign

Our work began by auditing email messages, call scripts, message follow-up timing, and a prospect scoring model. After identifying the existing scoring model was not providing enough opportunities for students to advance in the pipeline, our team redesigned the follow-up recruitment, or nurturing process.

Newly created emails contained more content that matched the prospective student’s academic interest while consistently conveying brand messages. As part of a broader campaign, out team aligned telephone follow-up by creating "call outlines" and defined specific goals for the call center team.

We then created emails and deployed the campaigns within the client’s preferred CRM platform.

Planning + software = success

As part of a comprehensive strategy, the new campaigns reduced the overall cost per inquiry, decreased the time from initial inquiry to application, and overall, increased conversion rates of inquiries to applicants by 24%.

A revised prospect scoring model drives more interested students toward one-to-one follow up by telephone from the university's call center.

Interested prospective students now receive content that is specific to their stated academic interests. Students also hear from different voices on campus including deans, faculty members, and enrollment professionals in their region. Videos links and blog content are also included in the campaigns to further nurture the prospective student's interest.

Are you getting the expected value out of your current CRM or marketing automation software?

Contact us today for a digital recruitment audit. With our technology agnostic approach, let us help you identify quick wins and create campaigns for you that generate results.

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