If your school is investing heavily in creating brand awareness and generating leads at the top of the funnel (TOFU) but getting lackluster results, enrollment management issues lower in the funnel may be to blame.
To achieve enrollment goals, you need a strong enrollment management foundation—a system for guiding prospective students beyond the initial awareness phase and into a thoughtfully crafted relationship with your institution.
6 Signs of a Successful Enrollment Management Function
Whether you oversee enrollment management strategies in-house or collaborate with a third-party partner, you’re sure to see results when you invest lower in your funnel and speak to the heart of prospective students’ challenges, dreams, and desires.
Here are six strong, focused enrollment management strategies to guide you toward success:
1. Speaking expertly to prospective students
Like potential customers, prospective students will have questions. Does your enrollment management team have the information they need to answer those questions? Are they equipped with the soft skills necessary to respond to tough queries with compassion and competence?
This isn’t the time for a hard sell. It’s your school’s opportunity to support prospective students in making the decision that’s right for them. Through empathic and honest engagement, you can provide a positive experience that resonates with a prospective student long after the initial outreach.
2. Offering multiple communication options
Students represent a wide range of demographics, and communication preferences vary from one demographic to the next. Offering multiple points of contact ensures that each prospective student can communicate in a way that’s comfortable and familiar to them.
- Phone calls may not be popular among Gen Z-ers and many Millennials, who are notorious for neglecting personal phone calls and voicemail messages. But not all prospective students are anti-telephone. Older adult learners, in particular, are more likely to pick up the phone, so you need qualified enrollment management specialists ready to engage with them.
- Email is still highly regarded among marketers. Hubspot’s 2022 marketing stats reveal that “email ROI is an impressive $36 for every $1 spent.” In addition to sending outbound emails, ensure that your enrollment marketing team is adept at navigating inbound emails from prospective students. Aim to respond to inbound emails within 1-2 business days.
- Live chat services came onto the business scene in 2002. Today, the availability of live chat increases conversions by as much as 20%, with chatters 2.8x more likely to convert than non-chatters. Online chat is especially valued for its flexibility. Chatters like that they can multitask while on live chat and get immediate answers to questions. If a prospective student needs help completing an application, live chat is a simple solution that won’t disrupt or delay the enrollment process.
3. Being accessible and responsive
Offering multiple contact options is pointless if you don’t have the resources to handle incoming communications. Enrollment management tasks shouldn’t be casually stacked on top of other responsibilities, either. If your in-house team is already working full-time (and then some), they won’t be capable of responding quickly.
Prioritize accessibility and responsiveness by adding support staff or reorganizing your team’s responsibilities so that someone is always available to answer the phone, reply to emails, and engage in a live chat session. Inaccessibility and unresponsiveness can create a negative impression of your school, but offering prospective students the opposite experience has a markedly positive effect.
4. Adopting inbound and outbound strategies
Enrollment management teams shouldn’t merely be responsive; they should also be proactive. As part of the marketing funnel, enrollment management teams need a process for following up with prospective students, whether calling someone who submitted a lead form or sending a follow-up email to someone who initiated a chat the week before.
Remember that enrollment management is about relationships, and like any good relationship, the outreach must be two-sided.
5. Tracking every engagement
Effective enrollment management isn’t possible without powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. A CRM provides the structure necessary to track every prospective student, record every interaction, and maintain a record of the relationship that any enrollment management team member can view at any time. The right CRM, when used well, can also prompt follow-ups, trigger automations, and ensure no prospect is overlooked.
6. Providing critical qualitative insights
Your enrollment management team is your best resource for gathering and interpreting qualitative data regarding prospective students. Through their feedback, you can gain valuable insight into why students are—and aren’t—enrolling in your programs.
Because enrollment management team members engage directly with prospective students, they can document feedback in a student’s own words. Leverage this valuable information to inform and improve marketing messages from the top of the funnel to the very bottom.
The Enrollment Management Your Prospective Students Deserve
Enrollment management should never be an afterthought. Relationship-building is imperative if you want to grow enrollment and attract students who are the right fit for your school.
But to make enrollment management truly successful, you need a committed team of trained specialists with the time and resources to develop genuine relationships with prospective students.
If you’re not resourced appropriately to build a dedicated enrollment management team in-house, a partner like MindMax can help fill that gap. MindMax’s higher education specialists have the experience and expertise to develop effective enrollment strategies throughout every phase of your marketing funnel. The MindMax team will align their efforts seamlessly with your branding and messaging to accurately represent your school, its values, its programs, and its people.
If you’re ready to optimize your enrollment management function, reach out to MindMax.