Competition for students is heating up because of the declining number of college-age students, changing demographics, and price-sensitive families. Doubling down on your traditional feeder markets may not be the best strategy or the most cost effective.
Savvy enrollment marketers are using advanced analytics to step up their recruitment strategies.
Read more below to find out why (and when) you should be using advanced analytics for enrollment marketing strategies.
The longtime college admissions practice of purchasing student names is one of the most common ways to build the enrollment funnel.
It is also costly. In 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported the cost per name was 47 cents. Not only is it costly - but COVID has changed the game.
College Board, ACT, and others have not been able to offer tests as widely as before the pandemic, resulting in fewer students taking the tests. Additionally, with more schools going (and perhaps) remaining test optional, the number of students taking the exams may continue to decline.
The cost per name is likely to increase because there may simply be fewer names to purchase.
Advanced analytics can help. Using your data from your previous list purchases, advanced analytical models identify the sources that deliver the best ROI – the lists that yield the most students.
With that information, you can make more informed decisions about which lists to purchase and build recruitment strategies to fill your funnel with the students most likely to enroll.
You know those students that are in the middle? The ones you can’t quite figure out if they are interested or if you’re one of 10 other schools on their list, and you don’t want to spend too much or too little of your counselor’s time recruiting them. One of our partner institutions calls them bubble students.
Advanced analytics identify the bubble students, the ones that fall into that middle group. Then, you can use the insights to further segment the list of bubble students by region or another variable. We see enrollment marketers, like yourselves, use that information to strategize and plan the best interactions, whether it is a broadcast email or a text or a phone call, to move those students through the funnel.
An advantage of this approach – advanced analytics may cut your list in half. If you’re working with a smaller group, that’s less time spent on students who are kinda interested and more time and resources on those students who need a nudge to apply.
Decile rankings are a way to organize data. It is a method to divide up a set of ranked data into 10 equal segments. A decile rank arranges data from lowest to highest on a scale of one to 10.
And for enrollment marketing, decile rankings are important because institutions can use them to prioritize recruitment actions by students’ likelihood to enroll.
Decile scores narrow down a large prospect pool, and they can be used to further segment your population by specific geographic area or another variable.
For example, you have a budget for 25,000 view books that you want to mail, and to get the highest ROI, you need to make sure you’re reaching students who will be impacted. That’s where the decile scores help you, segmenting those students by likelihood to enroll scores. You can build a more targeted mailing list and stay on budget since you know who will be positively impacted by the view book.
As students move through your funnel, advanced analytics will be there to support your efforts for yield.
One way enrollment marketers use advanced analytics for admitted students is to determine what action will most impact a student’s likelihood to enroll.
For those with limited resources and a small troop of counselors, knowing the most impactful actions for an admitted student is a game changer.
For example, you’ve identified 500 students in a specific region to call. You could have one counselor dedicate hours to making calls during your busiest season, but their time is limited and calling 500 students to leave voicemails is not the most efficient use of their time.
Advanced analytics identify which students are most impacted by the call – to which student does that phone call mean the most? Once you know who will be influenced the most, you can build a list for your counselors that is intentional, manageable, and impactful.
Enrollment marketers use a similar strategy for events.
Advanced analytics show which students will be most positively impacted if they attend an event. With that information, your counselors can make targeted and direct communications to that specific group of students. And you can cut back on your costs because you will be sending 100 paper invites at $5.00 a piece instead of 500.
In one case, our partner institution increased event attendance by 31 percent in one year using decile scores.
Right now, on-campus visits aren’t always possible. If you know who will be impacted by a campus visit, you can more precisely target students for a virtual campus experience.
For example, a campus visit will increase the likelihood to enroll for engineering students. Then you can tailor a virtual visit with that group of students in mind or start the campus tour at the College of Engineering.
Enrollment marketers often get creative to get students across the finish line. Advanced analytics can help deploy those creative and sometimes risky strategies. One of our partner institutions looked to advanced analytics to increase attendance at one of their highest-yielding events.
The platform identified among their prospective students who would be more likely to enroll if they attended the event. It also showed how many more students were predicted to enroll if they attended the event.
They used that information to build a list of students to target for the event. The college planned a significant outreach campaign to the targeted group to get them registered for the event and make sure they didn’t leave any inquiries on the table.
The college decided to offer a scholarship as an incentive to the students who attended the event and subsequently enrolled. The combination of filtering down to a targeted group of students and focusing on those students with the incentive proved fruitful, and the institution met its enrollment goal.
The results? From 2019 to 2020, attendance for the event doubled and enrolled and yielded students almost doubled.
Those are results you can’t argue with.
So, the next time you’re thinking about ways to improve or streamline your marketing, think about how advanced analytics can help. Contact us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing and how we can partner to take your enrollment marketing to the next level.