Congratulations! You’ve created a brilliant multi-channel marketing and recruitment plan. Prospective students are showing interest in your college and leads are up. But don’t break out the champagne just yet—enrollments are down. What gives?
You may have a lead management problem. As marketing outreach proliferates across channels, the ability to reach more students has expanded and, consequently, so has the number of leads going back to your school. But at the top of the funnel, all leads are not created equal, so how do you separate the hot from the cold? In today’s highly personalized world, a one-touch, one-size-fits-all response isn’t going to fill your freshman class. So it’s time to replace your “one and done” approach with a multi-touch, personalized lead nurturing campaign—also known as drip marketing.
Drip marketing is the practice of sending a series of marketing communication over time rather than just one single message. In a drip campaign, each touch is strategically timed and sequenced to build upon each other, in an effort to push the lead further down the enrollment funnel. Through the development of good communication workflows, the truly interested prospects will quickly rise to the top while weeding out the tire-kickers.
Here are a few things to consider when creating an effective drip campaign:
1) First and foremost, know what you want to accomplish at the end of the campaign. Maybe the goal is to have the prospective student schedule a campus tour. If you know that is the desired outcome, build your communication stream backwards from that goal. For example, taking a top of the funnel lead directly to a “sign up for a campus tour” link is not likely to succeed. Rather, drip bits and pieces of relevant information to your prospect about your institution, academic programs, faculty, and student life over a series of communications to build up their interest.
2) Establish the timing and frequency for your drip activity. There is no exact prescription to follow, but generally you should start with higher frequency and slow down as time goes on (start with every day, then every few days, then once a week, then down to once a month until you rule the lead out).
3) Send prospects to a PURL (personalized URL) where you can collect valuable information about them. Ask them what academic programs, sports, or clubs they are interested in. If they take the time to relay that information via the PURL, you know they are serious about your institution.
4) Make it personal. You now have rich data about your prospect. Use that information to ensure your next piece of communication is personalized and the content is relevant and unique to their interests.
While this may sound complicated to execute, in actuality it’s not! There are dozens of marketing automation tools and software that can make this a reality for you. But if acquiring and implementing software is not in the cards for your school and you are eager to test the drip waters, we’d be happy to help! You will see, when drip marketing is done right, those leads will yield to enrollments—then you can get that champagne on ice.