3 Things You Can Do Now to Increase Student Enrollment
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to hit the economy, many businesses have had to shut down in the midst of strict quarantine rules. The Travel industry was one of the most impacted due to travel restrictions, and the News & Media property undoubtedly, saw growth.
Despite the measures to stop the spread of the virus, the lockdown has created unprecedented opportunities for several industries, including the Education industry. Universities, trade schools and e-learning platforms are quickly adapting to the new landscape, migrating their events to online platforms and creating new courses and content.
In fact, some coding bootcamps and online learning platforms saw a higher increase in traffic during the last month compared to previous months.
However, the current e-learning boom might not translate into higher revenue in the short-term. Smaller education organizations still need to cover fixed costs, such as rent and salaries, and they might encounter cash flow shortages.
This is why comprehensive research is key to map out an immediate strategy for these new times. Without understanding your data you have no reference from where to begin. But instead of tracking and analyzing your data by individual source, you can use Improvado to simplify the process for you. Improvado centralizes all of your data so you can easily analyze it in a single dashboard, in real time.
So which data matters the most?
Focus on the right metrics
Cost per enrollment (CPE)
The cost per enrollment metric shows the cost of putting a student in a classroom.
($) CPE = ($) Total marketing spend / (#) Enrollments
Why is this metric important? Firstly, you can calculate CPE by marketing channel. This will help you prioritize certain channels that are generating higher conversions or bringing more students at a lower cost.
Secondly, CPE brings great insights for your budgeting purposes. For instance, if your CPE is $70 and you need to fill 5 spots, then you should budget $350 for marketing activities.
Consolidate all your marketing figures so you can see exactly where your best conversions, and ultimately enrollments, are coming from. If you're already using a visualization platform like Tableau, Google Data Studio or other, you can skip to the next section.
The report should include all your channels, for example: direct, PPC, social, paid social, email, etc. Improvado can aggregate all this data for you, so there's no need to spend hours on manual migration.
These reports help you see where you can capitalize and where you need to improve your marketing tactics for better results, adapting your strategy along every stage of the funnel.
You can check them in Google Analytics > Reports > Goals > Funnel Visualization
This report provides a quick view of the customer’s journey, based on goals and steps, that you have to previously define. You can see the user's behavior in each step of the funnel.
Once you have identified channel performance, and which stage of the funnel leads are dropping, you can move forward and plan some strategies to increase student enrollment based on your data.
3 strategies for student enrollment growth
Below, we list 3 strategies that you can implement now and are proven to bring higher conversions through low cost channels, using existing resources and leveraging your database.
#1- Nurture prospective students
According to a study by Salesforce, 63% of marketers say that re-engagement campaigns are “very effective.” Joining the dots between your marketing automation tool and CRM, you can develop workflows to create a more streamlined lead management system and influence conversions.
Step 1: Define goals and action items
Identify the audience you want to nurture and in which stage of the funnel they are. Are you targeting all the potential students that dropped during the admission process? Or are you focusing on the prospects that were interested in one of the courses only?
For example, let’s say I want to focus on nurturing leads that dropped during the admission process of a UX Design bootcamp more than three months ago. Reasons for dropping are:
- Didn’t have time to join the course.
- Didn’t have enough resources to cover the cost.
These are leads that were qualified already and you know they are interested in a particular course.
The goal is to contact these leads again and offer them something valuable or a discount to re-engage them and convert them. You can be more specific with your goal here and establish a conversion rate, or the number of enrollments.
The checklist below can be accessed here and it can be helpful to organize your information and map out the content you need.
Step 2: Set up your campaigns
This is a great example of how you can apply marketing automation now to scale processes fast and run a short-term strategy to increase enrollment growth.
- This process might vary depending on your admissions process and CRM set up.
- When creating your segments, you might need to match your CRM fields to your automation tool ones. In some cases, you might need to create custom fields to capture this information on your automation tool to build the audience segments.
Step 3: Performance and optimization
Check your KPIs and reports, understand how this campaign is performing against others, and optimize if needed.
For optimization purposes, A/B testing can be a helpful tool. See the section below to see how it could be implemented.
#2- Split testing
Split testing (also referred to as A/B testing) is a method of conducting controlled experiments with the goal of improving a metric, such as traffic, CTR, form completions, conversions, and more.
Split testing provides benefits, but above all, A/B testing is valuable to a marketing team because they're low in cost but high in reward.
To get started with split testing, choose a goal. The previous data you’ve pulled by channel can give you a hint regarding which channels should be tested for best performance. The key here is picking one element to start with. You don’t want to test multiple hypotheses at once. Testing multiple elements won’t bring conclusive results because you won’t know which variation impacted the results.
For example, if your conversion rates are low, one hypothesis could lead to interpreting that there’s a step in the checkout process that is not working and you might want to fix.
If your ads are having low performance and you need to increase traffic to your website, then it might be a good idea to apply A/B testing to your Facebook ads, for instance.
So split testing can be applied to a lot of different marketing tactics and resources.
Here’s a list of examples of the tests you could run:
- Heros on your website
- Call to action copy
- Pre-header text in an email
- Layout of the email
- HTML vs. plain text
For example, if we wanted to do some A/B testing for the emails being sent through the engagement program listed above (to nurture leads that dropped during the admission process), we could test the call to action button and to understand how a plain text call to action versus an HTML button performs.
A test from Campaign Monitor showed that using a call-to-action button instead of just a text link got them a 28% increase in click-throughs.
Research shows most people scan email campaigns rather than reading them word for word, so using buttons for your call to action means they’ll stand out to skimmers, while text links will often go overlooked.
Once you’ve run your email campaign with the two different email versions, it’s time to take a look at the results. You’ll want to look at different reports including:
(%) CTR (Click-through rate)
(%) CR (Conversion rate)
#3 - Webinars
Some companies had to move fully remote, which means a lot of investment and time destined to migrating resources and finding creative ways to attract students in times of uncertainty.
Higher education organizations are using different strategies to attract potential students, repurposing content that they have already created for their courses.
Although in the short-term, conversion rates might not increase much, this strategy allows you to continue to build brand awareness and create prospecting campaigns that will also benefit your business in the long-term.
Organizations are integrating their automation tools with platforms like Zoom to host their webinars, using Zapier to streamline processes and information flows.
- The Education industry has a big opportunity ahead as learning methods continue to migrate online.
- Making informed decisions based on your own data will allow you to execute smarter campaigns and prioritize resources.
- Lastly, leverage what you currently have and utilize resources smartly so you can increase student enrollment efficiency.