We all know it. We all understand it. And yet, it’s so hard to do. What are we talking about? The common understanding that students want personalized and authentic content at each phase of their college search.
Content marketing can seem hard. This is why so many of us revert back to static drip campaigns and stuffy legacy content. What if I told you that this didn’t have to be the case … that the tools that you need to build high-impact content are already in your toolbox. Here are 5 easy steps to get the most out of your data:
Identify Data In Sources and at Stages
Dynamic content in digital marketing campaigns provides personalization that can make students feel more connected to your institution and ultimately boost overall engagement, click rates, and enrollment rates. There are various points in the enrollment cycle where a direct, targeted message can support either recruitment or operational efforts … These opportunities neatly align with where you are already likely getting your data, including:
- Search lists purchased from testing or survey companies provide information such as majors and interests, allowing you to send top of the funnel marketing focused on academic program offerings, which research shows are the top considerations for prospective students.
- Inquiries who clicked a link in an email or visited a certain page on your website are giving you unique insights into what is most important to them. Page triggers are a great opportunity for delivering hyper-personalized content based on a student’s own behavior.
- There are opportunities to automate email sends that feel personalized to applicants with specific requirements or missing documents.
- Admitted students who have or have not yet deposited should be receiving tailored content to either drive deposits or prevent melt.
Now that we have identified the various times you collect data, it’s important to set yourself up for success.
Full stop. Before you even build a single email or open your ESP, you need to prepare yourself, and your CRM for success. Here are the 3 steps that will set you up for success:
- Identify data sources and make sure you’re storing all of the data that your vendors and analytics providers are sending you. You may ask yourself, “What on earth am I going to do with a student’s third choice for extracurricular activities? I don’t need to load that into my CRM when I import my college help site file!” However, you never know when a pattern in the data is going to become apparent and a unique message can be built around it.
- Collect and analyze your data before you make any assumptions about where to spend time and effort creating different versions of content. It seems logical to want to send unique messaging to students based on every single major that they’re interested in … but if only 2% of your recruitment pool are interested in Underwater Basket Weaving as their major, then you’re probably wasting your time.
- Focus on the dominant patterns from previous recruitment cycles and then pair dynamic content to support those findings as well as support institutional goals and initiatives.
Plan Your Communication Flow
Now that you know what content to build it’s important to ensure you can create personalized content at scale. Automated communication flows can be email, SMS, print mailing, social, or any combination. Regardless of the method of communication, they are best executed when they have a clear goal in mind.
- Establish your goals. Are you seeking to drive applications? More completed applications? More deposits? You may say you want to achieve all of these things (which is OK). But, each objective requires different messaging and calls to action.
- Tie targeted communications into dynamic communication flows. These can be established based on the key objective as well as how much data you have to work with.
- Once you’ve completed some micro-campaigns, incorporate dynamic messaging within your broad scale communications. Of course, only use it where it makes sense. The general message and goal of the flow will be the same for everyone.
- Evaluate timing, cadence and an appropriate calendar. An application completion campaign in July is not as meaningful as one in November.
Analyze and Adjust
Content marketing is an iterative process. This fact is what makes it so challenging for busy enrollment marketers. With that said, it’s far easier to start small and expand on what works. Start at the area where you need the boost the most. Do you need more completed apps? Try a targeted program focused on students who have started but not yet completed the application process. Melt a problem? Focus your efforts on students who have similar characteristics to those who cancelled their deposit a year ago.
All of that to say … in my experience simple and easy to measure is best!
How Conduit Data Can Help
Institutions who leverage Conduit are uniquely positioned to provide immediate boosts to their dynamic marketing plans with the added layer of insights that can be found when analyzing activity of students who are actively engaging with their live or on-demand video content or live online chats.
Here are 3 key ways:
- Post-event and weekly activity reports – Easily accessible via the Conduit dashboard, these reports allow you to know who engaged with what content. Students who engage with more content should be treated differently than students who are not engaging at all. And, with features like CRM Bridge and delivery via SFTP, Conduit users can have immediate insights built in to their CRM workflows.
- Dynamic content within an email – Students who have engaged with your content should be treated differently than those who have not … Using dynamic content with features like Q-Mail and through PlatformQ Education’s managed marketing services, Conduit users see up to 50% higher attendance during live webcasts than when they go it alone.
- Building a Solid Communication Flow – Regardless if you are building nurture campaigns in Q-Mail or in your CRM, Conduit data can be used to develop unique nurture tracks based on student activity. One example? Follow-up emails to students who click your “Apply Now” button to ensure they follow-through with next steps.
- Good content marketing means actively storing and analyzing your data. This may take some up front effort but will yield greater long-term results.
- Before you send one single email it is important to establish your goals. Start small and build.
- Conduit can help you provide an added layer of insights to drive greater conversion and yield at each phase of the process. Leverage insights from your webcasts, on-demand content, and chats to support these key objectives.
Ready to get started?
Contact us to see how you can boost your content marketing strategies with the Conduit platform today.