There was a time when your University "brand" alone was all the enrollment service you need. Students indicated where they wanted to go on their ACT / SAT or they called your main office number - and there was probably only one back then - or they were legacy students and the only, "service" you had to offer was to ask the graduation year of mom and dad.
Those days are gone.
Today's hyper-competitive and technology enabled enrollment management process is a multi-layered, people intensive, and expensive undertaking. Add to that today's Millennial and Generation Z students aren't really brand loyal to any institution the way their parents and grandparents were and things get confusing fast.
That means to attract, convert, close and delight the type of students you want, you've got to have an efficient process that's cost effective but leverages every spare byte of technology (see what I did there?) you can afford.
Enter Inbound Marketing. As long time readers of our blog know, we fully embrace inbound marketing in Higher Ed as a cost saving and much better alternative to traditional, outbound heavy and intrusive marketing. Similarly, as HubSpot agency partners, we believe in the power of using a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, fully stocked with marketing AND sales tools.
And that's the perfect intro for how to use inbound for enrollment services! Read on....
There are really three parts to the inbound for enrollment services, which as coincidental as it seems, align almost perfectly with the three core strenghts of HubSpot's full stack platform.
1. Improve the prospective student experience. Today's prospective student's rely on word-of-mouth, online (social media and the internet) and to a lesser extent, brand perception. That means as enrollment management executives, you can fully leverage your online presence and content as part of the attract and convert stage of inbound. Through a coordinated effort with other campus entities, you can also develop and maintain a strong online influencer program as well as engaging content on popular and often visited platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. What you are tasked with doing is striking the correct balance of helpful content that seeks to answer a prospect's questions but also doesn't shout, "LOOK AT US!" all the time.
2. Leverage analytics and a test-and-learn methodology. With HubSpot and, where possible, an agency partner, you can track other enrollment management teams at *ahem* competing Universities, measure website traffic, optimize for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), track keywords and phrases, and use reporting to help determine what content is actually engaging and converting prospective students and where you need to shore up your content and overall inbound strategy.
Are your forms too long? Why not test and learn with multiple formats on your landing pages? Are your emails being opened? Read? And are they driving the next step in your enrollment management process?
If not, you can make changes to landing page copy, images and forms as well as optimize your emails for open rates and click throughs using HubSpot.
How digital is your Dean? Should they be? Our latest survey of currrent students and recent grads will show you where to guide your Dean in the social media relationship building process.
3. Reduce overall cost and spend resources in other areas. When the landscape is as competitive as it is in today's enrollment services world, you've got to keep an eye on costs and avoid adding headcount as your solution. Likewise, there are a lot of Software as a Service (SaaS) salespeople out there who have shifted their attention to the world of Higher Ed, because, well, it's literally untapped for traditionally business minded solutions. Where an agency like Verge Pipe Media can help is putting our six (6) plus years of experience with Higher Ed to work by tailoring the best practices from inbound sales with your existing enrollment services.
To be clear, there is more to this topic than one 600 word blog post can tackle. Applying the inbound approach will require retraining some of your current staff and *gulp* outsourcing some of your marketing and content. However, a hybrid team and a new approach are an excellent way to jump start your enrollent management for 2018 and beyond.
If you'd like to learn more about inbound and higher education but aren't ready to contact us just yet, check out our FREE guide by tapping the, "FREE DOWNLOAD" button below.