Throughout this series of blog posts on CRM best practices in higher ed, we’ve focused on how customer relationship management software can help future-proof your school—essential in today’s changing world. And what better way to ensure your university is set for the years to come than cultivating a robust pool of highly qualified applicants, and in turn increasing yield?
We advise focusing on quality over quantity, as applicants who are a better fit are much more likely to enroll and thrive at your school. Tracking lead scores through a CRM can help increase the quality of applicants attracted to your school—and increase enrollment from the pool of accepted students. These numbers are important for rankings, and (more importantly) for building your school’s reputation and brand, protecting its longevity far into the future.
Read on for more on how lead scoring can help.
Lead scoring basics
Like we mentioned in our last post on meeting students where they are, lead scoring is an incredible and underutilized tool in higher ed. All it means is that each prospective student in your database will be assigned a number, often ranked from 1 to 100, that indicates each student’s level of interest and their application readiness—based on things like time spent on your site, interactions with your marketing communications, and attendance at virtual or in-person open houses. Some CRMs, like HubSpot (which we recommend for enrollment marketing), will help you set up the process. And over time lead scoring will get even smarter, as the system learns what types of students are more likely to enroll based on other factors (like demographic information)—so the longer you track prospective students with lead scoring, the more accurate the results.
These numbers seem simple, but will ultimately allow you to market more intelligently—and in a more personalized manner—to the most qualified and application ready applicants, increasing ROI, building stronger relationships, and fostering trust in your institution. Read on for more details.
Use data to understand who your students are.
The magic of CRM is in the data you can collect and leverage. When you have as much qualitative data as possible from your applicants—whether from a landing page, open house, or tracking cookies on your website—you can encourage students to make a well informed decision by showing them that you understand their needs.
For example, those methods we just mentioned can help you indirectly identify a prospective student’s area of interest. You can design marketing campaigns specifically for students with a high score, likely to enroll, and interested in a specific area of study. And, many email capabilities within CRMs allow you to create smart calls to action that are personalized to users based on their lead score and where they are in the funnel–so likely leads farther down the funnel get a nudge to apply or enroll, whereas top of the funnel leads might get linked to a course catalog. That way, students in your applicant pool feel they are getting a personal experience.
Know the pain points for accepted students.
Lower down in the funnel, once those applicants have been accepted, higher ed marketers turn our attention to enrollment—how we can increase yield and build a rich class of incoming students. We want to ensure that enrollment is as easy as possible for accepted students—removing pain points by sending tailored emails that help students understand the process.
CRM data can be used here to make a deeper connection with students. It’s worth examining, for accepted students with lower lead scores, why those students don’t end up enrolling. For example, given what you know about students, you might be able to tell which families may be concerned about affordability, and highlight your school’s financial aid options to those individuals.
The beauty of lead scoring and CRM data is that it brings your applicant pool and enrollment pool to life—and helps you reach those students personally, building community that will last for years to come and help prepare your school for the future.
These are just a few examples of how CRM can help future-proof your university and build strong, lasting community. Seem like a lot to handle? Viv Higher Ed has CRM and content marketing experts on our full-service team who can help your school leverage the power of transformative CRM to achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consult and see how we can help. Schedule a consult now.