Enrollment challenges include global supply fluctuations, competition, and tuition increases, adding pressure to the usual goals of increasing quality and reach.Here are 3 key tactics we have successfully used for our clients to increase application rates, uncover specialized applicants, and increase qualified enrollment.
Optimize for International Enrollment
One of the key sins of institutional sites is talking like institutions. Overly formal language can convey authority and gravitas, but for international applicants, it can cause enormous friction. For the Yale English Language Institute, we overhauled the website and focused on the User Experience we want the visitors to have: we gave it simpler, more direct language, re-structured the navigation to lead visitors through a clear step-by-step progression from discovery to application, and showed them what the experience on campus might be like. Once the site launched, we supported it with international pay-per-click campaigns featuring native language landing pages. The Result? In the first year, enrollment jumped 69%.
Target for Special-Interest Enrollment
If you have niche programs, you have multiple options for interest targeting. Quora allows you to target by the questions prospects ask. Amazon, by the books they purchase. If you have a robust email list you can upload it to Facebook and find a “lookalike” audience that matches the profiles of your current students. (Relax. It’s encrypted.) To recruit working professionals for an Executive MBA program, we use LinkedIn to uncover specific niches of interest at particular levels of experience. We time the Pay-Per-Click and programmatic display campaigns to match deadlines. This past year the program had over 1300 applicants for 90 spots.
Nurture Leads to Reduce Melt
A lead-nurturing email program is one of your strongest tools for nurturing students through the application process and keeping them interested. Invest in an automated platform that allows you to respond to multiple stages and set up your communication in advance. When an application is started but not completed, send a “we know you’re busy” message. Keep reminding, supporting and encouraging through subsequent emails, all triggered by specific application steps. Include links to videos of faculty excited to teach the course, give them a preview, welcome them and help them see themselves in the classroom.
Well-structured, thoughtfully timed campaigns require interdepartmental coordination, so work with your IT department, to make sure all of the technical needs are met and tracking is in place as you launch.
The challenges for Admissions departments will continue to evolve, as will the technologies to meet them. If you need help, let us know.