Digital Byte: How to Have an All Star Application Season

Carnegie Higher Ed Sep 21, 2012 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Is it that time of year again, already? That’s right, application season is here. Now’s the time to maximize your online application process and measure the results of your marketing efforts to ensure best practices are leading to the ultimate conversion – enrolled students!

Perfect Your Form: It starts with the application itself. Consult with your IT team and experts to ensure your website is optimized for easy application and inquiry form completion. Length, aesthetics, and easy calls to action are a good start. You’ve seen the page a hundred times, but your prospective students haven’t, so make sure it’s appealing and easy to navigate.

Set Goals: Whether you want to boost enrollment, or recruit a certain demographic of prospective students, define what your goals are and make sure you have marketing strategies in place to meet those benchmarks. For example, if you want to increase enrollment or awareness for a specific program, you could effectively reach those college-bound students through online display, as well as ensure your SEO practices are up to date and in line with likely key word searches for those prospects.

Address Incomplete Applications: Did you know you can reengage students who start an application but then leave before they are finished? It’s possible, and Retargeting is one of the ways schools can, and are, doing so. If your incomplete-app rate is higher than you want, work with an agency that can help design creative that specifically communicates a message in line with the benefits of completing an application or attending your school, then deliver that ad to only the people who have started an application but not yet completed it. Retargeting prompts the student to keep your school top of mind and serves as a reminder for them to finish where they left off.

Attribution Modeling: There’s an old saying: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” With digital advertising and proper attribution tracking and modeling, you can tell precisely what is working and what isn’t. You can weigh or assign a budget so that your money is spent most efficiently. Attribution modeling enables schools to more accurately analyze and measure each component of your online marketing. Integrated with tried and true branding efforts, you can create a powerful overall program.

Whatever your goals are, be sure to stay on top of your game by consulting with experts to refine and implement your marketing strategies at one of the most crucial times of year – application season!

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