What I Wish I Had Known: Preventing Marketing FOMO

Carnegie Higher Ed Jun 11, 2020 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Have you ever walked by a store and wanted to go in but worried about the pressure to buy something then and there? Maybe you’re in the market or simply window shopping to see if something is even within your financial means. 

As a former university enrollment leader, I know the feeling and often experienced it when a sales-oriented message hit my inbox. At times I found myself hesitant to respond because I knew I was uncertain if I was in the position to buy or felt intimidated that my budget was too limited to explore an opportunity further. I empathize with the pressures and uncertainties placed on enrollment professionals on a regular basis—and that’s without throwing the recent state of affairs into the mix.

In each of my former university leadership roles, I often found myself lacking hours in the day and data-informed insights to guide strategic decisions. The pressure was on me to have the solution to direct our next move. I often felt alone and in need of outside expertise and naively thought that large-scale, multi-year contracts were my only options to get that expertise. What I craved was a sounding board and partner to bounce ideas off of around several key concerns.

Finding the right new market to recruit

So your feeder schools hit a plateau and you need to identify new recruitment markets. Where do you start? I recall pulling demographic data and looking at the profile of our enrolled students and a few other data points to make the best-informed decision I could regarding where to send recruiters. Honestly, some of those decisions paid off, but others fell flat. What would’ve helped our campus move the needle of lead volume from new markets was a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of recruitment markets.

A thorough new market analysis evaluates the preferences and decision factors of your most important audience in recruitment marketing: prospective students. To eliminate the guesswork, you need a market-by-market understanding of institutional draw and decision factors such as travel flexibility, price elasticity, and personality fit. We work with institutions to deliver custom reports based on their own markets and enrollment pipelines, arming them with actionable data and messaging strategies for expansion.

Delivering the right message to the right student

Nurture campaigns, drip campaigns, comm-flows, or something I have yet to hear of…chances are, prospective student communication is always on your mind and to-do list, but it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We invest time and money into generating leads yet many times find ourselves scrambling to find authentic ways to communicate with different segments in our inquiry pool. I’m here to say that you are not alone in this—many institutions are in a similar situation.

An external audit of enrollment operations and communications flow can provide valuable perspective around the current state of your communications plan. Whether you need a high-level snapshot of overall goals and priority areas or you’re ready for a complete audit and redesign, we offer scalable options to meet your institution’s unique needs. Our team of seasoned enrollment marketing strategists investigate your specific communications flow, providing best practice insights and an actionable playbook for reaching and engaging prospective students in each stage of the funnel.

Having digital FOMO

Digital marketing is still a relatively new concept for institutions nationwide. If you’re finding yourself with digital FOMO (fear of missing out), remember that every institution had to start somewhere. I recently worked with a university that sought our guidance to help them adapt through the uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused when yielding their fall class. Having a conservative budget, they were unsure where to start and if digital marketing would be a feasible option.

Like many of the institutions we serve, a plan resulted from a friendly check-in over Zoom. During my conversation with campus leaders, we were able to identify appropriate campaign audiences and walk through the effective channels that would address the current mindsets and behaviors of their audiences.

I share this story with you in hopes of reducing any hesitations you may have about taking that next step with something new like digital marketing. With the right combination of goals, audiences, and strategies, we can work together to create and implement a campaign for a manageable budget. 

In this business, there are vendors and then there are partners; our mentality and approach are firmly grounded in the latter. As you make important decisions and navigate next steps for your institution’s enrollment strategy, we’re ready to meet you where you are and strategize solutions as unique as your institution.

Ready to partner with us to enhance your enrollment strategy? Let us know.

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