Avoid These 5 Performance Gaps to Improve Enrollment Outcomes

enrollment outcomesHigher education recruiting is undergoing a massive transformation shaped by increased regulation, heightened consumer expectations, and an enrollment journey that is becoming less linear.

These changes have spawned serious marketing and admissions process gaps and left higher education institutions with no real way to ensure that every inquiry is maximized. Without sufficiently integrated and synchronized processes, prospective students are falling through the cracks with alarming frequency.

We’ve identified five performance gaps that are causing the most troubling impact on recruiting efforts:

1. Marketing and enrollment misalignment
2. Miscalculating prospect attention limits
3. Failure to meet student prospect expectations
4. Insufficient enrollment insight
5. Post-application attrition

But these gaps don’t have to undermine enrollment outcomes. Marketing and admissions departments can take the following steps to address these gaps and keep recruiting efforts on track.

Tip #1: Don’t Expect a Straight Line From Prospect to Enrolled Student.

Higher education administrators who develop marketing programs expecting prospective students to enter the top of the funnel and progress through without interruption will likely suffer from yield challenges. On the flip side, marketers who anticipate and plan for an irregular route to enrollment may experience enhanced conversion rates. Nurturing, remarketing and re-engagement campaigns all support enrollment efforts by maintaining strong brand awareness and encouraging movement to the next conversion milestone.

Tip #2 Take Advantage of the New Opportunities Resulting from New World Challenges.

The fragmentation of media channels makes it harder to achieve effective reach and frequency, but these enhanced capabilities are fantastic for nurturing, remarketing, and re-engagement campaigns. For example, nurturing efforts were previously restricted to email campaigns. But email-based targeting on platforms like Facebook now allows for display campaigns to support nurturing strategies as well. The cross-channel approach to nurturing delivers superior results than ever before.

Tip #3 Attention is Finite ― Be Fast, Be First.

Consumers are exposed to tremendous amounts of marketing clutter on a daily basis. And the same is true once they submit an inquiry to a higher education institution. Our research found that within the first 90 days after submitting a single inquiry, a prospective student receives an average of 39 calls and 17 emails. Because prospects get inundated and desensitized to marketing messages, recruiting-focused engagement must be timely and meaningful if it’s going to be effective.

Tip #4 Be Sure to Engage Prospects on Their Terms, Not Yours.

Consumer experiences with ecommerce giants like Amazon have set the bar higher for all purchase experiences. When consumers are ready to engage, they expect a timely response and attentive service, which makes tech-powered ways to deliver a tailored and consistent prospect experience at scale a must. With the right technology, an institution can become the Amazon of admissions, providing a rich customer experience fueled by insights on the prospect’s enrollment journey.

These are just a few of the most effective strategies for shoring up an increasingly unpredictable enrollment management process. Download Mind the Gap between Marketing and Enrollment to learn more.

About the Author: For more than a decade, Steve Davis has been consulting with education leaders to optimize enrollment management strategy and improve admissions outcomes. Currently, Steve is the Senior Enterprise Account Executive of Higher Education at Velocify. He is recognized for his ability to understand and solve a client’s toughest enrollment challenges. Prior to joining Velocify, Steve was a Regional Vice President for ESM, A Xerox Company where he provided strategic admissions management consulting and solutions to educational institutions. Earlier in his career, he held various executive sales and advertising positions for Verizon and the Denver Newspaper Agency.

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