One of the most basic tools in enrollment marketing is your customer relationship manager, your CRM. In this post, let’s explore ways you can get the most out of your enrollment CRM so you can recruit more students for your private educational institution.
At this point in the history of enrollment marketing and technology, it’s probably safe to say that you’ve got some kind of CRM tool.
Most private colleges, universities, and even some independent schools have learned the value of a good enrollment CRM.
However, too many schools are getting less-than-optimal results from their CRM solution.
And a good enrollment CRM solution doesn’t come cheap!
Today’s post isn’t about helping you choose which CRM platform is right for your school. It’s not a comparison of different technologies and their features.
In today’s article, I want to show you how to get the most out of any enrollment CRM tool you might be using.
Sure, you may want to consider another solution. But before you spend more of your precious marketing budget and a whole lot of your time…
I recommend putting these steps into place to see if any of them are the real problem and not the tool you’re using.
1. Understand what your teams need from your CRM.
To get the most out of your CRM, more than one department should be using it.
While recruitment officers might be the primary users of your CRM, your marketing team should be able to add quality leads who’ve requested that someone contact them.
Both marketing and enrollment — and any other team who needs access — will have their own set of requirements for the CRM.
That’s why it’s important to take time to speak with each department separately about how they will use the CRM.
What features are most important to them? What features are really not important to them at all?
It’s never good to assume what a team needs out of the CRM.
Besides that, talking to various teams about the CRM can help prompt them to use it — and that’s always a good thing!
Armed with this knowledge, you can better configure your existing CRM for everyone’s use. And if you’re just starting out, you can better select the right CRM for you.
2. Invest in enrollment CRM training.
This step is really important! Most schools are looking for ways to save money, but this is not an area that you want to skip.
If your team doesn’t know how to use your CRM, they’ll find ways around using it.
And if you’re not using your CRM, then you’re not getting the benefits of a CRM.
CRM training for all the departments who’ll be using it is an investment that always pays off.
Once your teams understand how to use your enrollment CRM and what the overall strategy for your CRM is, they’ll be comfortable using it every day, and indeed will come to find it essential.
3. Connect with your prospective students’ social media accounts.
When CRM’s first came to marketing, they were basically glorified databases. The only information you could get from them was what you put into them.
But today, CRM’s often can connect to the social media accounts of your prospective students.
That means your CRM can grab information about your prospective student right from their social media account to help you better serve them.
Connecting to their social media accounts can show you what your prospective students are interested in outside of academics.
It can also show you their birthdays and other special events in their lives.
By connecting your enrollment CRM to your prospective students’ social media accounts, you’re able to get to know your prospective students on a much more personal level.
4. Leverage your CRM data in your enrollment marketing.
If you think of your enrollment CRM as a mine, you’ll see that it is full of marketing gold!
For example, you can use your CRM to see the median age, ethnicities, and other demographic data of your prospective students. This data can help you improve your marketing personas.
Another important data point you can glean from your CRM is the location of your prospective students. Are most of them coming from a certain region of the United States? A certain state?
With this knowledge, you can mention local issues or happenings in your marketing messages because you know where your audience is coming from.
This also helps you determine where to target your PPC or social media ad campaigns.
If you know where the average student is coming from, then often, it makes sense to spend more to target that area.
5. Integrate your CRM with other tools you use.
Today’s enrollment CRM’s typically connect to every digital marketing tool you use.
This is important so that your enrollment officers can see at a glance what communications a prospective student has received from the school to date.
Let’s take email marketing campaigns for example.
Most CRM’s integrate with email service providers like MailChimp or Emma, which means that you’ll see in their contact record a list of all the email campaigns that your marketing team has sent to them.
Look for CRMs that have a robust marketing component already built in…
…like Slate or Leadsquared. If they don’t be sure that they have an open API that can easily integrate with marketing services.
Check Zapier too to see if they have a native connection already. Zapier’s “zaps” can upon up your CRM to a wide range of integrations and automations.
Enrollment CRM’s also integrate with your mobile calendar, whether it’s Google Calendars or Outlook or something else.
This can help keep your enrollment officers on top of their schedule whether they’re at their desks, in the office, or at home checking their emails before bed.
While separate teams, they’re working towards the same goal of boosting your enrollment numbers. Having a CRM that unites their efforts will help you go further to hitting that goal.
Enrollment CRM Know-How
All of these steps above apply to whatever CRM solution you’ve chosen to use.
If you’re not getting the best results from your current CRM, you might not have to look for a new tool. You may just need to put these steps into practice to get the most out of your current solution.
For more help on improving your enrollment marketing results including more tips on using your school’s CRM, contact us today.
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Featured image by onephoto via Adobe Stock