There’s this new wave of supporting your prospective student pool beyond the inquiry stage. It’s called digital strategy. As you’ve probably discussed with your team, in addition to traditional marketing efforts such as emails, phone calls, and letters; innovating your strategy to include engagement with students through live chat, webcasts, and social media is imperative.

To effectively communicate with students throughout the enrollment cycle we must first understand why and how we utilize an online strategy. It used to be that the main focus of an institution was to drive a certain amount of applications to meet their goal of enrollment each year. Over the last 15-20 years, we’ve seen the industry and the enrollment funnel evolve. The increase in methods you have to get your institution name in front of students has exploded. Unfortunately, at the same time admitted student yield has dropped by as many as 50 percentage points.

In essence, the number of applications that an institution has to generate in order to gather more enrollments has doubled over the past 15 years!

The #1 way to combat these challenges is to leverage technology, which will allow your team to be more efficient with their efforts and become less reliant on doubling or tripling applications, and in turn, increase yield. If you’re not effectively plugging the holes in your strategy by incorporating an online solution, the need to triple your applications is crucial. By meeting students online, you’re able to supplement your existing process and more efficiently streamline your strategy.

Technology and its implications on conversion – by the numbers:

Data from Ruffalo Noel Levitz indicates that when institutions align their online engagement strategy with their broarder enrollment plans, they see better conversion at each phase in the cycle. This includes:

  • Inquiry to application is boosted by 35%
  • Application completion rate is boosted by 26%
  • Inquiry to deposit is boosted by 7%

As we talk through each phase of the process and how institutions are seeing significant growth, we talk in terms of three different strategies:

  • Maximizing Yield
  • Freezing Summer Melt
  • Continuous Engagement

Maximizing Yield:

We see maximizing yield come to light very nicely with our partner, the University of Tampa. Year-over-year, they host their online “I’m Admitted, Now What” series, which we know is extremely important this time of year. In 2018, UT realized how crucial an online strategy was when a snowstorm hit the New England area and many students and their families were unable to attend a regional admitted student reception. In short order, they organized an online admitted student reception that yielded 168 attendees. More importantly, they saw a 56% yield rate of those who attended the online event.

By the Numbers: 56% yield compared to their institutional average of 21%

Freezing Summer Melt:

Not only has the industry evolved, but the student process and prospective has as well. Most recently, students have been depositing to several universities at a time to keep their options open in terms of housing and financial aid.

The best way to keep students engaged over the summer months is through presenting information that is imperative prior to their arrival and the University of San Diego does just that. USD combats summer melt through a summer orientation online series that includes information on how to get classes, how to help parents transition, and how to ensure students are prepared for arrival. Most importantly, USD implements a full-lifecycle engagement plan, hosting online events beginning with the application process, all the way through pre-orientation. Over a two-year period, they were able to reduce summer melt by 50%, which for many institutions can result in millions of dollars in net tuition revenue.

By the Numbers: USD reduced summer melt by 50% over a two-year period

Continuous Engagement:

Supporting students beyond the inquiry stage and online events is crucial. As many institutions are, Syracuse University is focused on branded content from their “.edu” site (as it’s the most trusted source of information by prospective students). Additionally, sharing student stories and allowing admissions counselors to review the application process is a key focus of their online events.

Throughout the year they host an online series that encompasses academic spotlights and student stories on an institutionally-branded platform through live and on-demand presentations. On-demand content allows you the opportunity to leverage the content you’ve created and students an opportunity to engage if they were unable to attend the first recording.

By the Numbers: With the use of on-demand presentations, Syracuse boosts event attendees by 50%

Key Takeaways:

  • Continuous online engagement yields greater results at each phase of the process
  • Marketing an online event is different than marketing an on-campus event and it takes the right expertise to do so.
  • The best results come from appropriate strategic planning ahead of time

Ready to get started?

Contact us to plan your yield and demand generation strategies with the Conduit platform today.