I believe in the power of information you collect, curate and share as a University.
It is purposefully collected, stored and, if leveraged the right way, can be a powerful contributor to how you find new students, win them over, confirm their enrolment and maintain a relationship for years to come.
Collecting and curating the right information throughout your students’ life cycles, and leveraging best of breed marketing automation tools allows you to communicate to the right person, with the right message, at the right time.
1. How can we get prepared to communicate to the right person, with the right message, at the right time?
Get clear on the details below before you acquire a marketing automation platform. Strategy should drive the decision on which marketing automation platform to invest in – not the other way around!
- Student Journeys: Discuss, draw up and document your Student Journeys
- How do prospective students find out about you? List out each and every one of your new student sources
- How do prospective students convert to active enrolments? Who talks to them? What do they say? What are your prospective students wanting to hear? What works? What does not work?
- How do graduated students re-engage and become alumni who advocate for the University? How do they refer people to enroll in your courses?
- Do you have more than one Student Journey? Create as many as there are different engagement processes, conversion steps or re-engagement strategies
- Personas: An aggregate view of the subgroups of your target audiences.
- These could include faculty interests, age groups: High school, mature aged students etc., and/or lifecycle attributes: Potential Students, Current Students and Alumni
- Personas include: Demographic information, Life goals, Interests, Goals of education and any other attribute that will help personalise communication relevant to your audience
- Personas do not need to be complex and should be immediately understood by anyone
- Personas prepare your content writers, agencies and other stakeholders to individualise content to increase its relevance
- Content: Often left to last when contemplating a marketing automation strategy but it needs to be considered early on in the process.
- Content should be educative, engaging and linked to outcomes in your Student Journeys
- Tag relevant content to parts of the Student Journeys and your Personas
- Re spin your content into multiple formats including: Blog Articles, Video, Facebook/LinkedIn Posts, Tweets, emails and SMS
- Create a database of your content where you can draft, edit and approve pieces of content for use in your marketing automation journeys and nurture programmes
2. How can we start the process?
Universities are complex organisations. Depending on your University’s overarching marketing and communications strategy; there are two approaches emerging.
A. Top Down: Building a centralised CRM (database) for the entire University together with a digital marketing and communications hub that serves each faculty or division of a University.
- Support a holistic communications strategy managing the end to end Student Journeys for every student throughout all major faculties
- Collect and curate content from across the breadth of the University in one database for use in all communications – empower faculties to write, collect and curate their own content
- Opt outs and unsubscribes can be managed centrally and communication frequency controlled – reducing the risk of breaching relevant spam laws and reducing erosion of the database by communicating too often to the one contact
- Look towards robust marketing automation tools that allow for flexibility and dynamic controls like Pardot, ExactTarget and Marketo
B. Grassroots: A single faculty or division empowering themselves with a CRM (database) and a low-cost marketing automation tool that can deliver personalised and relevant communications to their audience.
- Develop Student Journeys and Personas relevant to your faculty or division
- Collect and curate content that is focused on the students you support
- Utilise affordable marketing automation tools like AutoPilot or Active Campaign to Email, SMS and other types of communication in sync with your Student Journeys
Engaged students are ready and waiting to become thriving members of your higher education community. Prepare your strategy, select the right marketing automation platform and start building an iterative marketing automation practice for your University or Faculty.
The Digital Marketing Strategies for Higher Education Conference takes place in Melbourne this July. Book your place by June 3rd to save $200 on ticket prices.