How to Use Mid-Funnel Content in Higher Education Remarketing to Drive Action

How to Use Mid-Funnel Content in Higher Education Remarketing to Drive Action

Many colleges and universities use remarketing in their digital marketing strategies. In the simplest terms, this digital marketing tactic involves targeting prospective students after they’ve bounced from a website or landing page without taking action, then serving them customized ad content as they browse other websites or use social media.

The goal is to re-engage prospective students and drive them to take some form of action, like filling out a lead form or starting an application. 

In theory, remarketing is an extremely effective (and low cost) tactic, but most schools aren’t leveraging it to its full potential. Many remarketing campaigns serve prospective students the same top-of-funnel content—usually high-level program information—over and over again. In failing to add any new value to these interactions, the schools don’t see the results they want. 

At MindMax, one of our core values is to learn always, so when we notice that a standard approach to marketing in higher education is becoming less effective, we chart a new path forward. Recently, we’ve taken our remarketing tactics to the next level, borrowing ideas from an entirely different corner of the internet—e-commerce.

MindMax’s Mid-Funnel Approach to Remarketing

You are shopping online, place an item in your cart and then bounce before checking out. You might see a banner ad a few hours later—perhaps the next day—reminding you to complete your purchase. 

If a few days pass and you still haven’t taken action, you’ll probably come across another ad online or in your inbox—but this time, it might contain a promo code to save 10% on your next purchase. This new offer is more likely to entice you to take action. 

At MindMax, we’re taking a page from the e-commerce gameplan and delivering prospective students snippets of mid-funnel content—information they would typically receive only after filling out a lead form—via advanced remarketing strategies.

Higher Education Remarketing in Action

One of our clients wants to grow enrollments for a certificate program they offer. The standard decision cycle for this type of program is 60-90 days from when a prospect first engages with marketing content to when they enroll. We implemented three different mid-funnel remarketing experiences for prospective students, starting 90 days out from the enrollment intake deadline:

  1. Outcome-driven messaging. The ads at the beginning of the enrollment cycle convey the opportunities students can expect with this type of credential, including career paths and earnings growth.
  2. Academic experience messaging. Further into the decision-making cycle, the ads focus on the academic experience. What type of faculty will prospective students learn from? What does the curriculum look like? What’s the online classroom experience like?
  3. Time-driven messaging. Toward the end of the enrollment cycle, the ads have greater urgency, reminding prospective students that the enrollment deadline is approaching in a few weeks but they still have time to enroll if they act fast.

The ad content itself isn’t the only variable in an advanced remarketing experience. We also drive prospective students to different landing pages depending on where they are in their enrollment cycle. 

We develop higher ed remarketing strategies according to factors like program modality, prospective student personas, and degree types. For instance, the enrollment cycle for a master’s degree is significantly longer than for a certificate, so our remarketing strategy will inevitably differ considerably in both length and content.

Our approach is relatively simple by modern e-commerce standards, but it’s well beyond how most schools are currently deploying remarketing as an enrollment tool. 

If the ultimate goal is to grow enrollments, the smaller and more immediate goal is to get prospective students into the marketing funnel, usually by engaging them effectively enough that they fill out a lead form. At that point, we can begin sending much more robust mid-funnel content via email, 1:1 outreach, and other digital channels. It’s helpful to think about the mid-funnel content we serve prospective students during retargeting as a “teaser” for what’s to come. 

Could your remarketing efforts benefit from MindMax’s next-level approach? Contact us today to learn more about our higher education marketing services.