Consider These Areas Before You Decide Your Enrollment Marketing Budget
As you approach budgeting for next fiscal year, here are several things you need to consider when evaluating your marketing spend and effectiveness.
Question: Are you struggling with your return on ad spend? Are you getting the lead volume and lead quality you need to grow your online and graduate programs?
With the seismic shifts in the prospect’s journey, increased competition, and a variety of potential tools, marketers are planning their futures with greater uncertainty than ever before.
Successful marketers of today and tomorrow recognize that the space in between the beginning (awareness) and the consideration set (desire) is critical, which make both direct response and inbound marketing strategies vital. Unfortunately, just being in the game isn’t enough. Universities need to excel at it, and the ones that do will have an overwhelming competitive advantage.
At Education Connex, we believe there are seven things you need to consider when evaluating your marketing spend and effectiveness. We like to call it the Art of Spending Wisely. Show me a boss who doesn’t like that?
- Evaluate Your Existing Digital Media Mix. When it comes to marketing growth, self-awareness is everything. Are you overly invested in awareness media that is difficult to capture and measure and monetize? So, just what is a healthy digital media mix? We believe that 50% of your inquiries should be from organic, inbound inquiries. Not getting that lead volume? Read on.
- Consider how your CTA’s are performing. Are you measuring and tracking inbound calls and Live Chat for original source attribution? What CTA’s are performing well and can you add other CTA’s? We find universities are losing out on 25% of potential lead volume. 25%! Take care of that alone and you will make significant progress in your marketing. We’re working with our clients in all these areas, but, we believe the major opportunities are found by increasing web traffic & on-page conversion to increase inquiries and applications. And speaking of your website. BTW, Google made the announcement they were moving away from the third-party cookie – tracking tech that marketers were (and really, still are) wholly dependent on to understand their audiences. First-party is key, as it will be more difficult to capture cookies.
- Do you have optimized web pages? Are they missing Click2Call (Mobile), Live Chat and a prominent phone number? This will significantly increase inquiry volume for SEO & PPC. Remember, small changes can make a big difference. If you can capture it you can measure it. If you measure it, you can increase it.
- Commit to Driving More Calls and Chats, Not Just Clicks. We’ll go on the record as saying we all love that endorphin rush you get when you tally up your click numbers at the end of the month. But, you and I both know, inbound calls are better than digital submissions. And, yes, increased inbound calls + increased digital submissions are even better. Historically, the measurement for media performance and the goal was the digital submission via the RFI (Request for Information) form. However, the model shifted to creating more web traffic and converting more on-page traffic with response devices, including inbound calls and live chat.
- Prospects now demand that you “be there” in the moment and provide the information and answers they are looking for regardless of when they call. Remember we can take inbound calls or live chats 24/7; our team is US based and are experienced professional admissions personnel.
- Inbound calls have greabter intent and covert at a higher rate. Most people don’t enroll or make a major purchase without speaking to a person.
- Increased inquires
- Prospects make immediate contact. Better conversations drive better conversions. Prospects feel safer providing personal information in a direct conversation, and phone interactions provide the ideal circumstance to gather the soft data that is often difficult to get through other channels.
- Unique approach that circumvents competition by speaking directly to prospects who are lower down the funnel and are ready.
- Phone interaction provides things that online channels do not, including the opportunity to engage on a higher level and guide the interaction based on information like tone of voice, reaction, verbal cues, and response time to build rapport and create a positive and memorable customer experience
- And…most important, it increases enrollment. When you boost lead conversion rates and enrollment productivity, everyone wins. You and the prospective student.
- Speed to Lead/Immediate Response: Conversion rates are eight times higher within the first five minutes of a prospect expressing interest. Disrupters such as Southern New Hampshire University, deliver immediate, rapid response, eliminating competition completely. Prospects expect lightning-fast response to their initial inquiry, so an immediate and professional response is a minimum expectation. If you can’t respond immediately, call us.
Persistent follow up is equally critical. Most schools stop reaching out to prospects after the first week. Ongoing, continued, and frequent nurturing that includes voice, print, email, and text is mandatory. A high level of service culture and strategy are key differences.
- Consider Paid Media Performance. While there is a role for limited outbound marketing, primarily Pay-Per-Click and branded display, the following elements must be present in your paid media to be successful:
- Defining qualities must be your unique value proposition and message
- Media must elevate unpaid organic and web traffic
- Media selection is based on historically low Cost Per Enrollment performance and measurable return on marketing performance
Bottom line, EDU marketers must now rely on brand by creating quality content that pulls people toward the university and establishes a relationship based on the student’s journey. A relationship that genuinely answers the student’s most important question: “Why Buy?”
If performance is poor…Consider New Partners: Tired of the same old OPM’s, enrollment services firms, or agencies and their expensive solutions that don’t work along with their hyperbole? Call us. No hype, no gimmicks. Sound strategy and affordable enrollment solutions.
Marketers you work hard generating leads, let us help you convert them and get the ROI you deserve.