A tip of the beret to the French firm, Noir sur Blanc Production, who created this piece for EM Strasbourg Business School. Notice the product placement for the SteelCase chairs. Apparently the school partnered with SteelCase who picked up most of the tab for the production. Something to think about for our next Higher Ed production.
Excited to share a content marketing project we just wrapped up with the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. Hornstein is a graduate program for young men and women interested in working in Jewish Communal Service. For those not familiar, that means working as advocates for Jewish causes, as leaders of Jewish philanthropies, as directors of Jewish camping, or in any number of other professional fields that aim to advance the cause of Jews and Judaism around the world. It’s a unique program, one of the best in the world, but the folks at Hornstein wanted a better way to share their value with prospective students.
After some initial meetings and discussions of past marketing efforts, we decided to focus on upgrading the Hornstein web presence with some re-organization and the development of several videos designed to effectively share Hornstein’s value with prospective students (who are often referred to the program by other Hornstein alumni).
4 months, nearly 30 interviews, 2 weeks in editing, 2 rounds of revisions, 2 more weeks of editing, and a big happy approval later, and here we go:
Effective video, and more importantly, interesting content has never been more important in marketing. The line between earned and purchased media is blurring more and more every day. How is this change affecting your marketing strategy? What content would you want to better sell your product or service? Leave a comment or catch us on Twitter @Triad_Ideas #ThinkSuccess.
This is an easy one that many schools miss. When a prospective student goes out of his or her way to ask for interaction (by info form, phone call, email, postcard, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, you get the point – they want to talk with you), GET BACK TO THEM. It sounds so simple, but so many institutions take a day, a week, or longer to respond to inquiries. We secret shop around ten schools every month, and at least six out of ten won’t get back to us within 48 hours. That is a BIG mistake. According to a new study by lead management firm, Leads360, “Calling a prospect within 60 seconds of inquiry increases chances of conversion by 391%.” The more you respect a prospective student like a prospective customer, the better off you’ll be.
2) Relevance and Quality
When you do promptly contact the prospect, have a plan in place. Based on their answers to your info form, the content of their email, or the context of your phone call, develop meaningful, relevant information for this person’s needs. If someone contacts you about a grad management program, don’t send them the entire brochure detailing all 20 degrees and certificates you offer. And for goodness sake, never ever send a course catalog again. Registration is most likely done online, and your prospect will only use that catalog as a paper weight, a booster seat, or to prop up a table. Save yourself the printing and postage and send a strong marketing piece with detailed next steps.
3) Next Steps
Don’t forget this is a sales process. Don’t just answer a prospect’s inquiry with a brochure and leave it at that. Or worse, send the brochure and then periodically spam the prospect until they can’t stand the site of your letterhead. Instead try sending good, detailed information that is relevant to the prospect’s inquiry. Along with that information suggest a next step – a phone conversation, visit to campus, upcoming webinar on financial aid, work/life balance, the jobs prospects can expect using this specific degree. Give the prospect a reason to continue interaction with you. This will build trust and lead to an enrollment.
As with all marketing – tracking, tracking, tracking. When you get an inquiry, you should know what media they came from, what they are interested in from you, and how you can best get in touch with them. Next you can track what pages of your web site that prospect has been to. What emails from you they open, and how long they read them. Did this prospect attend a webinar or an info session? Have they spoken with an admissions representative yet? What were the results of those conversations? Tracking all of this data helps you have a better conversation with a prospective student.
None of these steps will work if you don’t have a capable and well trained staff. Most higher education admissions staffs have all the talent you need (friendly/easy with people, good phone skills, can handle widely used technology). What they generally need is a well thought out plan. Your staff should know their closing ratios, they should know what they want to accomplish with a call or email before they dial a number or punch a key, they ought to know what is generally more successful (a webinar or an info session). Your staff should be on board with your marketing plan, because they are a part of your marketing/sales operation. It will make you a better team to train on these points monthly, to distribute internal marketing pieces, hold contests, etc. Make it fun.
This is ridiculously long….and campy (I won’t lie, I loved it!). Certainly worth a watch, but make sure you have 16 mins handy….I told you it was long. Videos like this are a great illustration of the difference between marketing to undergraduates (focusing on the “college” experience – dining halls, clubs, opportunities abroad) versus marketing to adult students (focusing on improved quality of life and earning potential). I’m not saying a grad marketer ought to make a music video to increase enrollment, and I’m not suggesting all undergrad marketers turn their admissions efforts into episodes of Glee. But a small good dose of this kind of young creativity can add some real kick to your higher ed marketing efforts.
Why not do a video or campaign based on an adult student daydreaming at their dead end job of all the great career opportunities, life changes, and higher earning power they can get, once they enroll at your institution. Done right, it could be a lot of fun, differentiate yourself in the marketplace, and get your prospects talking.