Marketing Automation for Education: Enrolling Students through Nurture
A new enrolment period is on the horizon. Over the next few months, you’ll see your website visitor count go up and more people will be liking your education institution’s Facebook page and following you on Twitter. Prospective students will be combing the different pages of your site and jumping from one institution to the next as they try to narrow down a list of schools they’d like to attend.
Though this is an exciting time for your education institution, you need to be actively nurturing these prospective students if you want to keep your institution at the front of their minds. Luckily, with marketing automation, the lead nurturing process is not nearly as daunting as you might believe it to be.
To start enrolling students through nurture, marketing automation will be your most useful tool. Learn how it to use it, and you’ll be prepared to target leads and continue nurturing them through the enrollment process.
Monitor lead generation
In order to effectively nurture your prospective students, you have to monitor how they become involved with your institute in the first place. After all, why waste time perfecting your emails if most of your leads are connecting with you first through Facebook? Knowing how your leads come to you can help you determine how you should then use marketing automation to further reach out to those leads.
Popular marketing automation systems like Marketo can monitor all sorts of interactions with your website, emailing list, social media pages and Google Adword ads. Defining which ones are the most effective at generating leads can help you decide which avenues are best for nurturing those leads, once you’ve captured them.
Automate some responses
Prospective students who contact your institution directly with inquiries should be some of your top priorities. These students clearly want more information, and the better you are at delivering that information, the better your prospective student will view your school.
When a student submits an inquiry, create an automated response through your marketing automation software and schedule it to trigger when a student emails their details. Your email should:
- Thank the student for reaching out to you.
- Provide them with a timeline so they will know when to expect a personal response from one of your office administrators.
- Include links to any FAQ pages.
- Invite them to join your email subscriber list or any social media groups and pages you have.
This will not only assure your prospective student that their email was received, but it also encourages them to interact even further with your institution.
Automated email is only part of this process. If you really want to nurture that lead, make sure your administrators get back to all inquiries within a 24-hour period. The quicker you respond to their questions, the better chance you have of keeping your institution’s name in the front of their minds.
Craft the best drip campaigns
Email is one of the best ways to reach prospective students and share relevant and timely information with them. With marketing automation, you can create multiple types of emails that speak to different segments within your prospective student group. These emails will send targeted, useful information to these students over time and provide them with plenty of help as they move through the decision journey of where to enrol.
Marketing automation allows you to easily segment you email subscriber list so you can send out targeted emails, rather than generic ones. You can weed out your current or past students who have no interest in these emails and narrow subscribers based on what they seem to be interested in. If you know a group of prospective students is interested in your Bachelor of Business for instance, then you would send emails covering student stories, campus facilities, Open Day programs and career outcomes.
You can also use marketing automation to schedule your emails and recycle existing content, with drip campaigns. Bombarding subscribers with emails will only cause your unsubscribe rate to go up, so it’s important to schedule these emails out over time.
Using the metrics marketing automation provides, you can monitor when prospective students are opening your emails, engaged on your site or visiting enrolment pages. Measuring these behaviours will help you create action triggers, inform Sales Development and track lead progression.
Facebook advertising and marketing automation
Not all of your website visitors will leave you their contact information, but just because they didn’t, doesn’t mean that they’re lost forever. Using Facebook advertising and marketing automation, you can retarget those anonymous website visitors.
Marketo, for example, integrates with Facebook’s Custom Audience feature, giving Marketers the chance to monitor all their Facebook advertising from within Marketo. This means that you can track website visitors to Facebook using a conversion pixel and send them relevant ads about your institution directly to their newsfeeds.
To do this, go to Ads Manager pane and select Conversion Tracking, located on the left-hand side of the page. Hover over the green “Create Pixel” button and click to craft the pixel you need to put into the specific pages on your website. You can name the pixel and give it a specification such as “Registrations,” “Leads” and “Key Page Views” to help you create the right ads for visitors depending on where they landed on your website. Once you create the pixel, copy and paste it into the code on your webpages.
Now you can track the movements of your anonymous website visitor to facebook and retarget them using Facebook ads. If you use more than one pixel, you can give yourself a better idea about what to include on the ad. For example, having different pixels for the courses you offer can help you create more concentrated content. Instead of an ad that says “Come to X University,” you can instead say, “Learn more about Y course at X University.”
When it comes to marketing automation for education, your best chances of attracting the most talented students is through lead nurturing. Like any other consumers, prospective students need to be guided through the enrolment lifecycle, and if you’re diligent about interacting with students and providing them with the right information, you can expect to see great returns on your marketing automation investment.