Here are the executive summary and quick facts from our recent research report.
Amidst the stressful, strained year of 2020, we witnessed higher ed adapt in many ways beyond just marketing (like going test-optional, pivoting to remote learning, etc.), most of which our team at DD Agency had little or nothing to do with. Just bein’ honest.
We’re humble enough to acknowledge we only know what we know. And proud enough to say we know quite a bit about enrollment marketing — especially at the graduate recruitment level.
Harnessing our passion for, understanding of, and access to data within enrollment marketing tactics, we set out to research and analyze key tactics in order to shape the enrollment strategies we craft for our higher ed marketing clients. And to further serve our mission of helping Davids beat Goliaths, we’re equipping any and all curious enrollment marketers with these facts.
What We Learned About Content Marketing
We already knew that content plays a critical role in attracting and converting both new and existing prospective students. Taking content like blog articles, premium content (eBooks, pillar pages, videos), and landing pages into consideration, we analyzed prospect actions and conversion opportunities to find the winning tactics across content types.
“When it comes to blogging, hitting the 18-month mark matters. Blogs that are active for at least 1.5 years generate 5x more page views, 80% more average views per post, 54% more clicks per post, and 26x higher traffic from organic search.” More insights like this.
What We Learned About Event Marketing
There was an obvious shift during the pandemic to virtual-only events that is already shifting again as the world opens up, yet will likely have a lingering effect on the future behavior of prospective students who were forced to engage virtually. The data shows that more students signed up and attended recruitment events than ever before given the accessibility and convenience in the virtual model.
Tactically speaking, though, we tracked event emails, event digital advertising, and event landing pages to better answer questions like “How many invitation emails should I send?”
Based on that one question, we found that “Sending 4 invitation emails (of varying styles) achieves the peak performance when it comes to total submissions, total RSVPs, and total attendees for an event. After 4, additional emails see diminishing returns.” More insights like this.
What We Learned About Email Marketing
All too often, benchmarks are established for emails in general without breaking them down into specific sub-tactics, which is what we focused on in our research — not just all-encompassing email metrics — but content promotion emails, triggered ‘thank you’ confirmation emails, prospect nurture email flows, content promotion emails, etc.
And speaking of content promotion emails, we learned that “Including more primary calls-to-action in content promotion emails directly correlates to improved click engagement. Prospects are more likely to click through when these emails include multiple ways to get to the primary offer.” More insights like this.
What We Learned About Digital Advertising
The majority of graduate schools are targeting prospective graduate students via two main digital advertising channels: paid social media ads (predominantly Facebook and LinkedIn) and paid search and display ads (predominantly with Google Search and the Google Display Network). It was interesting to see the winning strategies among these specific channels, and we even learned about common challenges schools face with their ad strategies in general.
One common challenge is the lack of attribution reporting. “Most schools don’t know how many applicants and enrolled students were influenced by or sourced from their digital ads. Without more advanced tracking, enrollment marketers really struggle with how to optimize future ad campaigns.”
One deep dive discovery has been that “On average, Facebook ad campaigns with conversion offers have a 54% chance of generating at least 1 new contact.” More insights like this.
All In All, We Learned...A Lot
Most of which will enable smarter inbound marketing for colleges. And it’s all available for you to learn from as well in the Deep Dive: 2021 Enrollment Marketing Benchmarks Report, available as an interactive eBook or PDF download. Dive in and reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more about our research.