How Your College Stacks Up: A Deep Dive into Enrollment Strategy 

Dear MDT: How does our enrollment optimization campaign stack up against other higher ed institutions?

Let’s talk about a topic that’s crucial in the student journey—enrollment optimization or the lead nurturing phase.

We’ve Done the Homework So You Don’t Have To

We’ve collected nurturing performance data from over 300 colleges nationwide to help us make sure that our campaigns we run for our clients continue to be best in class. The byproduct is that we have tremendous visibility into how colleges are running their nurturing communications. 

Five Pillars of a Successful Campaign

We collected all that data and sorted it across five areas of campaign importance:

  1. Automation
  2. Number of Unique Media Channels Applied
  3. Content and Messaging
  4. Total Number of Touchpoints
  5. Response Time

The value of each of these items is significant to campaign performance.  If you’re interested in more details on why they’re important, we’ve explained it all in our latest white paper that covers this in detail.  There’s a link below this video, so check it out.

So, with that, let’s take a quick look at industry averages and top performers within each category.

1. Automation: The Backbone of Your Campaign

Automation is the foundation of a successful nurturing campaign. Yet we found that about 20% of colleges surveyed still do not employ it.  Without automation, the rest of this list is a moot point.  If you’re using automation today, that’s a critical first step.  An automated enrollment nurturing campaign goes a long way in supporting admissions’ ability to contact and engage prospective students. To learn more about how to set one up that dives enrollment growth, download our recent white paper that covers it all.

Drive enrollment growth by finding out what’s missing in your automated nurturing campaigns. Download the White Paper!

2. Unique Media Channels: Diversify to Connect

The average college is only using 1 unique channel to deploy automated messaging.  Can you guess which one?  Right, email.  It’s the easiest and cheapest to deploy, but that’s also what makes it the worst performing channel in your toolkit. 

66% of colleges use only email for automated nurturing.

At the very least, you need to get text included in your automated campaigns, but the more channels you apply, the greater your odds of reaching and engaging your prospect.  The top 10% of colleges?  They’re deploying 3 or more unique channels, including some mix of email, text message, direct mail, and digital retargeting.

3. Content & Messaging: Make It Compelling

Most of the content being deployed is just generic college info that gives no compelling value or reason to interact with a CTA.  We found that only the top 10% of schools incorporated compelling content that incentivizes interaction.  Some examples of this are interactive content, like quizzes and surveys, plus other fun and engaging content like augmented reality and personalized video.  If you can deliver content that delightfully surprises your contacts, you’re going to achieve engagement.

4. Number of Touchpoints: Finding the Sweet Spot

There’s a sweet spot for the total number of communications you deploy within a given period of time, and you have an opportunity to heavy up your communications through the initial week of a new inquiry.  The average college is sending 3 unique outbound communications through the first week after a prospect inquiries.  The top 10% of colleges are sending 5.  If your institution falls into the average category here, there’s not much of a lift to shift into top 10%.

5. Response Time: Speed is of the Essence

The average response time to a new inquiry is 72 minutes.  The interesting thing is that this is the median average, meaning there are MANY institutions that take several hours, and sometimes even days, to respond to a new inquiry.  There is huge room for improvement in this area. How are the top 10% of colleges doing?  They’re all responding to new inquiries within 1 minute.

Boost Your Enrollment Rates

These are all important considerations on their own, but in aggregate, they’re incredibly powerful. Improvements in these areas can significantly boost your enrollment rates. For more details, download our white paper.

For any further questions or support, feel free to reach out here to schedule a call. Talk soon!