9 Things Enrollment Marketers Should Be Doing Now to Prepare for Fall

Carnegie Higher Ed Jul 15, 2014 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Summer is in full swing, and while many college-bound high school students are sitting at the beach, enrollment marketers are thinking about the fall and what they can do during those critical months to attract the next graduating class. Not sure where to start? These 9 effective fall plans prove that actions speak louder than words:

  1. Searching: New names are available for purchase in August and regularly throughout the fall. Be sure your orders are planned and in place before the lists launch so you are on target to be timely in your outreach. It’s important that you send your message early and often, both to mailboxes and inboxes.
  2. E-mailing: As noted above, time is of the essence. E-mail is still one of the fastest and most underestimated resources available. Low cost and easy to use, e-mail can hit both search names and current leads with an enticing call to action.
  3. Segmenting and personalizing: Not all list names, whether Search or inquiries, are created equally. Nothing ensures a better response rate than segmenting audiences and customizing messages. The out-of-state basketball player can be easily identified and messaged differently than the in-state nursing student. Be sure that your message tugs the correct heartstrings and you create a foundation for a personal experience.
  4. Online marketing: This is no longer blanket marketing. With custom networks, targeted geography, and comprehensive planning, you can put your ads in front of the right audience every time. Using current technologies such as keyword targeting, behavioral targeting, and even IP Targeting, you can speak to the exact audience you need. Coupled with a powerful Pay-Per-Click campaign, your advertising dollars can be spent most wisely. Just keep in mind how much campaigns and executions can differ; that’s why it helps to work with someone familiar with the education industry and your specific goals. The nuances of education are unique—your campaign should be too.
  5. Optimizing: To be frank, it should no longer be an option to send an e-mail that is not mobile optimized. That goes for landing pages as well. And while we’re mentioning it, display campaigns should include a mobile-friendly ad size too. Fully optimized websites can be a huge undertaking, so baby steps with e-mail, landing pages, and ads can go a long way.
  6. Retargeting: Even with your integrated marketing efforts working like a well-oiled traffic-driving machine, there is still no more powerful tool than Retargeting. You have their attention, now stick with them as they travel the Internet and keep your brand top of mind through a communications plan that is timely, engaging, and action oriented.
  7. Measuring: Using free tools like Google Analytics, you can track both your on- and offline campaigns to figure out what’s working and driving traffic. Set goals, add annotations, and follow the data to help make your next marketing move. This also adds valuable proof and support for ROI and budget requests.
  8. Lead generating: Student outreach beyond your direct-marketing pieces can be the tipping point that gets your prospects to raise their hands. Allow services like PC&U and CollegeXpress, which offer a third-party endorsement feel, to spark their interest. Generating thousands of leads each year for all of our clients, we can effectively increase your top-of-the-funnel pool in a targeted way.
  9. Planning: Don’t let these great marketing efforts fall flat. Building a lead nurturing plan that continues to foster your engaged students is critical for yields and conversions. The steps above can be transformed into an application campaign, accepted student campaign, a yield campaign, and even a summer melt protection campaign.

We hope this sparks some ideas and gets you excited for the coming cycle. Have questions or just want to bounce some ideas off one of our enrollment marketing experts? Let us know.

You can follow me on Twitter @meghdale; or on Google Plus as Meghan Dalesandro.

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