Everyone knows the importance of stealth applications as it relates to enrollment management in higher education. Here are five ideas to increase those valuable prospects:
1. Track the Links
Look for opportunities to get links targeted to those prospects that are outside of your search list. Are there unique URLs used for billboards? Can you put QR codes on literature for college fairs? Take a play from the corporate playbook and look for ways to track where your leads are coming from.
2. Send the Links to Landing Pages
Every one of the links above should be sent to a landing page, and NOT to your general core page. These links are put out there for a reason, and should be the call to action for a unique demographic. When that demographic (your prospective student/parent/family influencer) interacts with your link, they should first land on a page that recognizes them as a demographic that wants/needs to do something specific. Serve up links that are relevant (review our majors, take a look at the admissions area, etc.) AND offer them something to get them into the system…maybe it is a download of a brochure, or register to win a sweatshirt. The goal is to get them to give you permission to market to them.
3. Review the Data
Utilizing metric data can give you a perspective on those outside of your search database. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you need to get that immediately to start tracking the valuable data. Most schools have an IT department that will provide data that is typically “how many visitors per month” and perhaps “bounce rate.” But for enrollment management, that data should be sorted and sifted to analyze only those who are prospects. You don’t want to know that 1,500 visitors were on the site yesterday, to only find out that 500 of those were staff. Setting up goals, funnels, and tying the analytics account into your application pages are all valuable tools to allow you to understand where, when, and how the application is being “aborted” and not finished. Applying ecommerce techniques to online applications is critical to complete the “transaction.”
4. Simplify the Application
No one wants to start an application that is a black hole. Be sure that your application is user-centric. Provide ways for the users to save their work and return later. Look for ways to only ask the critical information for the application and provide ways “post submission” to get the other data necessary (referrals, etc.). The easier it is to fill out, the greater the chances that they will be completed and submitted.
5. Set up Drip Campaigns
Look for ways to establish creative drip campaigns for those who have started an application but not yet finished. Avoid the temptation to just insert the name and email into the standard search mailings; you have to understand that these stealth applicants are different and should have a slightly different marketing message. Also be sure to leverage several methods for the drip – email, calls, texting – all based upon the communication preference indicated in your initial form (see landing page).
With a few tweaks to your marketing campaign, stealth applications can be increased to reflect the needs of your institution. Contact us for more ideas and to engage with Caylor Solutions to set up a plan of action for your enrollment marketing plan.
How are you increasing stealth application at your institution?