Making a List and Checking it Twice: How to Get More from Your Student Search List

Carnegie Higher Ed Dec 14, 2015 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

It’s that time of year. You’re logging into your list sources and running counts and working through the options to get the exact list size you need. From geo to GPA, you are meticulous about the parameters, ensuring that the list you’re targeting is the most optimal prospects for your school.

Once you receive your list, you’ll set your Student Search in full swing. But what else? How can you make this list you’ve already invested so much time and money in work for you even more?

These strategies can enhance your proven efforts. From small tweaks to big moves, your Student Search list can be the basis of some big shake-ups in your success rate.

  1. Personalize the message. I’m not talking “Dear so-and-so.” That’s the most obvious. Consider using the information about the person to have the messaging come from his or her specific counselor. The “from” in the letter and the e-mail could be something like “Sally Smith, your Carnegie University counselor.” This makes the message truly one-to-one.
  2. Engage with them socially. Now that you can take their e-mail and mailing address directly to Facebook and Instagram, why not link it up? This is an absolute one-to-one match on these prospects. So if they are on social media, you can be in their newsfeed. It may not be your entire list, but those that are there will be seeing you! A fun, engaging additional touch-point.
  3. Prime the pump. Even before they receive your print piece, why not get them thinking about you ahead of time? Technology called IP Targeting now allows for you to use the physical mailing address and link it to their home IP address. That means everyone you’re targeting by e-mail and print will also see your Online Display ads (and so will mom and dad!). All devices throughout the home will be getting taps on the digital shoulder about your college.
  4. Slice and dice. Go beyond geo and get super customized with your messaging (offline, online, and in e-mail) around majors, scholarship qualifications, athletics—anything you can! Don’t fret, this isn’t “big data”; it’s just sorting and segmenting that a bit of time and an Excel guru can really help with.
  5. Change up your messaging. As students move to new lists (from prospect to applicant to accept to deposit), be sure your messaging coincides. From “learn more” to “why you should be here,” if your online messaging doesn’t match their status, it won’t feel authentic to them.

Key takeaway: your Student Search list is more valuable than it was 10 years ago!

So as you finalize your Search buys, don’t be on the naughty list. Take advantage of the opportunity to really impact this investment and layer in personalized engagement and targeted touches.

Did I miss any other strategies you use based on your list? Share with us here or give me a shout on Twitter @meghdale.

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