With the emergence of higher education options that are designed to suit any format, study preference, and even location, enrollment professionals in colleges and universities are paying closer attention to how their enrollment marketing management strategy is developed, defining what differentiates their marketing efforts, and how they position themselves to prospective students. We now know that enrollment marketing management is not only about attracting the highest quality prospects but also finding the most effective ways to progress these prospects into enrollments. With so many different methods circulating about how to reach prospective students, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in your efforts to find the most effective marketing methods that will help you meet your targets as an Enrollment Professional.
I’ve found that there are two factors that increase the probability that a prospect will become an enrollment:
1. The degree to which a prospect is educated about your specific institution before making an inquiry
2. The mindset of the individual during the recruitment and enrollment process
Thus, it becomes increasingly important to combine creativity with technology to help a prospect easily get the information they require from your institution. This will keep the prospect engaged and continue them down the path to enrollment. When I ask colleges and universities who consistently meet their enrollment goals, “How do you do it successfully year after year?” they always share the same examples with me.
Here are a few.
Understand the motivations and values of your prospects
Place time and effort into understanding why a prospect chose to make an inquiry with you.
What “camp” of motivation does your prospective student fall into? Are they looking to change their career or advance within their current career? Or are they simply trying to meet a workplace requirement? Are they fresh out of high school and attending college or university to achieve personal objectives? Or are they just seeking enrichment through education?
Whatever the motivations of your prospective student, it’s important to take the opportunity to understand their drive and design your marketing and messaging to match it.
Understanding the factors that a prospective student is looking for in your institution will eventually lead to an increase in enrollments.
Pick your battles
In order to meet your enrollment quota while ensuring you’ll be matriculating only the highest quality students, you must focus your resources.
Prioritization of prospects will ensure that your time and energy are spent on the highest-quality prospects first.
Your team can easily filter prospects based on demographic or behavior attributes by developing an internal ranking system or integrating with an inquiry management system. This can mean the difference between meeting your enrollment goals or not.
A good place to start is by reviewing the process through which a prospect came to inquire about your institution. For instance, it is likely they’re interested in enrolling in a specific program you offer if they came to you through an education portal focused on a single discipline.
Once you understand your prospects, think of the ways you want to personalize your engagement with them. Examples include:
- Telephone calls that seek to engage prospects in a conversation about their learning goals
- Personalized emails that are delivered in a timely manner addressing their specific program of interest
- Print materials that inform the prospect of the next steps in the enrollment process
- Other methods such as webinars, which allow you to connect with a large volume of prospects within a short period of time
Communicating with a prospective student in the right way, at the right time, is both an art and a science. It requires a degree of creativity in making sure the message is effective while understanding the technical resources that your institution currently has available.
Maximize the online experience
When looking into a potential college or university, prospects should have everything they need at their fingertips. For instance, it should be easy for prospects to find important information such as tuition, financial aid, availability of student housing, and credit transfer requests right on your website.
Your prospects will get frustrated and move on if your website doesn’t have this information or it is difficult to find. Why spend so much time and money getting them to your website just to push them away?
Content is king
Using the resources to write and curate the best website content is a key asset in your recruitment efforts and increases the probability that you will turn a prospect into an enrollment.
Truthfully, this is an aspect where a lot of colleges and universities fail, which results in websites that aren’t effective. I acknowledge that it’s sometimes difficult and troublesome for Enrollment Professionals to gain access to their institution’s website due to strict controls. It’s even more difficult to collect information that is scattered across an institution and condense it into just a few web pages.
However, if you take the time to consolidate the various program offerings and important factors that differentiate your institution into an attractive landing page you will create an experience that will complement your other recruitment efforts.
Modern colleges or universities can no longer be passive in the way they are receiving and acting upon the prospects they generate. Turning prospects into enrollments not only depends on the way you’re reaching those potential students but also the ways you’re following up. What are some other ways that you can turn prospects into high-quality enrollments?