In today’s education landscape, competition for student enrollments is stronger than ever. Your school may be investing heavily in filling its enrollment funnel with qualified prospective students, known as demand generation. But if those leads aren’t converting into enrolled students, you may need to revisit your enrollment pipeline—all the activities that happen once a student has started the consideration process that bring them closer to enrollment.
To build a solid pipeline, you need to create a great user experience that nurtures potential students every step of the way. There are simple, but valuable marketing best practices you can use to improve the effectiveness of your pipeline and achieve a greater return on your marketing investment.
5 Tips to Improve Your Enrollment Pipeline
When creating email content, consider where the prospective student is in their decision-making process. For example, a new lead that’s come in through a social media ad isn’t likely to start an application, so serve them more general program information. Your email sequences should tell a story. If a sequence has 4-5 emails, each one should share a new or unique piece of information. Consider the cadence of your emails as well. It’s less effective to email students two days in a row or at 5pm on a Friday.
Content is King
When it comes to content, less is always more. Avoid text-heavy emails and dense, hard-to-read formatting. Keep the content clear and concise with a definitive call-to-action (CTA): the one thing you want a prospect to do next. Implement dynamic visual content whenever possible. Emails with strong imagery, video, or infographics will have much stronger engagement rates.
Measure the Success of Your Nurturing Efforts
Consistently track the meaningful key metrics of your campaign through a platform like MindMax’s Enrollment Intelligence. While your measurables will vary based on your school’s specific goals, examples of common key metrics include:
- Email open rate
- Email engagement rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Lead to application conversion rate
- Time to conversion
Not All Programs Are Created Equal
The student decision-making process varies greatly based on the program type, so take that into account when building your lead nurturing strategy. Programs that require a larger financial and time investment are likely to take a great deal more nurturing before the student is ready to take the next step.
Non-credit certificates/courses typically have a 1-2 month decision-making timeline. Graduate certificates (15-20 credits) require 6-9 month of consideration, and Master’s degree programs (40-60 credits) can require up to a year.
Implement 1:1 Outreach as a Part of Your Nurturing Strategy
Efforts such as marketing automation and retargeting are effective for customizing the buyer’s journey, but a truly personal touch requires interaction between two real people. Incorporate 1:1 elements such as outbound phone calls, text messaging, and live chat on your website into your enrollment funnel. Pay attention to how your nurturing efforts are performing and make optimizations accordingly.
Mapping Out the Consideration Process
As you plan for resources and build out your marketing funnel, keep the length of the student consideration process in mind. The bigger the investment of time and money, the longer the student needs to reach a decision.
Effective marketing and enrollment services is crucial if you need to nurture potential students for a full 12 months. While the consideration process may be slightly shortened by a strong enrollment funnel, the primary benefit is keep prospects engaged, not compress the timeline.
Not only do you need to potentially nurture students for up to 12 months to get them to enroll, but you also need to calibrate your planning accordingly. Now is the perfect time to start building a sound marketing strategy that can significantly increase enrollments in 18-24 months.
To learn how to optimize your enrollment pipeline and convert more prospects into students, contact us for a free consultation with one of MindMax’s enrollment experts.