A Starting Guide to Nurturing Prospective Students
You believe in your institution, and your goal is to bring in students that will most benefit from what your college or university supplies. As students become more tech-savvy and honing in on good leads becomes more and more difficult, it’s imperative that you adopt an inbound marketing strategy that’s not only sustainable, but provides the kind of results you can smile about.
Those coveted “good leads” — i.e. serious prospective students — are worth putting time and effort into, “nurturing the lead”, as many marketers would say. Forrester determined that, using an effective lead nurturing strategy, you’ll see a 20% increase in opportunities versus going without. What’s crazy about the clear benefit is that less than half of the market is employing a nurturing strategy — that means it’ll put you ahead of the game to implement your own.
Even more importantly, Marketo determined that companies with a heavy focus on lead nurturing saw a 50% more conversion at a 33% lower cost! Those are numbers you’d like to mimic, right?
It’s not as easy as it used to be, though. The commonality of email opened up an easy route of discourse in the early 2000s, but now that there are popular providers like Gmail, who very thoughtfully divide out social and promotional emails from the primary inbox, it’s not a reliable source for communication anymore.
So, how are you supposed to foster your relationship with prospective students?
That's the million dollar question, isn't it? Creating an open line of communication between your admissions office and your marketing team is one of the most beneficial ways to up the ante. This paves a path to create targeted content and multi-channel lead nurturing, which are huge components of the nurturing process.
Everyone wants to feel like an individual — after all, there are very few things where one-size-fits-all actually works. Putting thought and effort into the multiple paths your prospective students need to navigate is one of those endeavors that seems time consuming and tedious up front, but will ultimately provide a prominent payoff come acceptance day. As you likely know, a high school junior’s needs are different from a high school senior’s needs, and your content has to reflect that — and this pulls double duty, actually. On top of catering to your prospective students needs, it also shows that you understand what those needs are.
Multi-platform marketing is essential these days. With email producing such a low yield, it’s past time to turn to what’s really being used: social media. If you’re not already taking full advantage of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, then the time has come. If you’re already making waves with your unique brand voice and whip-smart marketing, keep it up. Using social media to up your response times is a way to make your accounts pull even more weight — getting prompt responses ups the odds of making that prospective student an admitted student!
The other aspect of multi-platform marketing is taking full advantage of the tools students naturally gravitate towards to help in their college decisions. This can be especially beneficial for institutions with small or nonexistent marketing departments because it can lend the feel of a much larger force. It’s utilizing platforms like us here at Cappex that can add the extra oomph to your admission rates. Students come to us to sort out their safety, reach, and match schools, apply for scholarships, and keep a firm hand on their applications.
Don't Neglect the Classic Route
Just because email alone doesn’t produce enough of a spark to support all of your inbound marketing doesn’t mean that you should neglect it — you should really do the exact opposite. The key is to make sure that the emails are relevant and strategically sent.
In the end, creating a nurturing environment to nudge students from prospectives to enrolled means remaining on your toes, being flexible, and understanding the audience. Providing emails with targeted information, feeding the desire for prompt replies, and multi-platform marketing remain top contenders in tipping the odds in your favor.
Step one: call your marketing and admissions teams into the same conference room and make sure that you’re all on the same page. Nurturing will come naturally from there!