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More than that, it shows you exactly which parts of your plan are most effective and which still need some adjustment. The longer you track, the more data you amass and the better able you will be to maximize success at every stage of the enrollment marketing lifecycle.
Defining Enrollment Marketing Plan Success
Before you can track your metrics to success, you need to know what success looks like. Otherwise, you won’t know it when you see it. Every institution, and possibly every campaign, has its own version of success. Set goals that are reasonable, achievable, specific and trackable.
While increasing enrollment or improving brand awareness sound like good ideas, they’re not useful goals. By how much do you want to increase enrollment? How will you know that brand awareness is improved? Goals you can’t measure aren’t useful and vague words like increase or improve mean that you can’t tell how far you’ve come, or how far you have left to go.
Before you even think about metrics, set clear numerical goals for your enrollment marketing plan. Write them down and make sure that everyone on your team knows what they are. Then start tracking your progress.
Prospect to Inquiry Rate
This metric helps you optimize your online presence to get more verified leads. Prospects are the students who visit your website in response to your marketing efforts. They are signaling interest and you have the potential to sell to them. Inquiries are the students who actually fill out forms, email, or call your institution. A student who inquires becomes a verified lead.
If you’re getting a lot of prospects but few inquiries that implies a breakdown in one of two areas. EIther you’re attracting the wrong people to your site, or they’re not finding the information they need once they get there.
If you’re attracting the wrong people, you may need to adjust your audience targeting for the web search, display, and paid social ads that funnel people to your site. If your targeting is too broad you may end up with more traffic but fewer inquiries.
Once you get the right people to your site, you still need to convince them to make contact. If your web copy is not compelling or if it focuses on the wrong subject areas, prospects won’t be interested enough to inquire. Check that your web copy clearly outlines your value proposition and encourages students to learn more.
In addition to the quality of the content, pay attention to the quality of the user experience. Does your page load quickly? Is the text formatted so it’s easy to read? Can prospects clearly see where to click to fill out the form. Is the form well-designed and easy to use? Have you asked only the most essential questions? Forms that are too long or too complex can lead prospects to abandon them part way through the process.
Conversion rate of leads
This metric will help you understand which lead sources are the most effective and which ones might not be worth spending your time on.
Most institutions have an array of potential lead sources including search engine optimized content, paid search advertising, paid social advertising, purchased leads from strategic partnerships… the list goes on.
To figure out which ones are solid investments and which look at trends in lead sources for enrolled students. If 60% of students who click on a paid social ad eventually enroll, but only 10% of SEO content readers did the same, you might want to spend more of your marketing budget on paid social and less on SEO.
But don’t be too hasty. Before you adjust your enrollment marketing plan, you’ll need to understand one more metric.
Cost per lead (and ultimately cost per enrollment!)
This shows you how much money you’re spending on each lead. A quick and dirty calculation would divide your marketing budget by the number of leads you’ve acquired. But the result is so broad as to be almost useless. It doesn’t take into account different conversion rates from different lead sources.
Instead, look at how many resources went into enrolling each lead across different lead sources. So, you might look at those paid social ad clickers and see that a paid ad cost you $1500. From that add you got 50 leads. That gives you a cost per lead of $30.
For the SEO readers, let’s say you spend $15,000 a year on blogging. You get 1,200 leads. (Measuring the clickthrough rate of each individual post isn’t as helpful as you’d think, because visitors often read multiple posts before they commit.) That gives you a cost per lead of $12.50.
If you double your marketing budget and split the funds equally between SEO and PPC, you might see double the leads. But if you double your marketing budget direct most of it at SEO, you have the potential to more than double your leads.
Knowing your metrics helps you make smart choices not just about how much money you spend on marketing, but where you spend it. For more on how to use marketing metrics to measure enrollment marketing plan success, download our ebook: Which Marketing Metrics Matter.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of marketing metrics, but they are three that you absolutely need to be tracking if you want your enrollment marketing plan to succeed.