enrollment

How Two Universities Converted Their Target Audiences With Hyper-Focused Digital Campaigns

Eric Groves

Vice President and Consultant

August 14, 2020

It seems natural that much of the conversation around the contribution of college digital marketing has been in the area of lead acquisition. From an undergraduate marketing perspective, developing new channels to drive leads is important. However, that is not the only or even maybe the best way to use digital marketing to increase undergraduate enrollment. I have conversations with 15 to 30 institutions every week, and the reality is very few colleges are using digital marketing to increase activity further down the funnel—which is a HUGE miss!

College digital marketing for conversion
By focusing on college digital marketing for conversion instead of lead generation, institutions can have a greater impact on enrollment with their digital outreach.

It was a funny phenomenon when schools wanted to more proactively promote their graduate degree programs, they searched for a list (GMAT, GRE, etc.), much the same way you would have if you were doing student search, using SAT or ACT lists. Lists on the graduate side, though, usually didn’t seem to work very well. In the same fashion, as schools look to market to undergraduate students digitally, they often run to what has worked for graduate enrollment, focusing on lead generation. With undergraduate student marketing, however, the power of digital marketing might be better focused on conversion and yield rather than lead generation.

Two of our campus partners took this approach, using programs created with RNL Digital Boost to increase engagement in order to increase conversion and yield.

Bowling Green State University: Driving more visits to the visit page

Bowling Green State University BGSU logo

At Bowling Green State University, visits are king! The national average for students who visit campus and actually enroll is more than 50 percent. For them, they drive campus visits as a way to drive enrollment. RNL recently partnered with BGSU for a one month campaign to increase visits through the digital marketing of RNL Digital Boost. The response was immediate, with an additional 3,326 students visiting the Admissions Visit Registration page over that month.

Pace University: Increasing interest in applying

Pace University

Pace University is a marketing machine! They feature great web content and engagement for prospective students. However, because of the high volume of web traffic, they needed a marketing partner to develop new strategies to increase applications using more sophisticated retargeting strategies. In just one month, RNL was able to drive over 1,000 new visitors to the university’s application website.

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Engaging the funnel differently

The schools I speak to are often trying to understand how to best engage with students, particularly using their “travel” budgets. I always ask how they are engaging their current funnel differently. Too often, they answer, “We really aren’t.”

To be clear, RNL has long been a proponent of down-funnel strategies first. I remember when I worked on campus, my RNL consultant told me that 40 percent of my inquiry pool was useless to my enrollment efforts. These prospective students had gotten into my inquiry pool somehow, but they really weren’t interested. Conversely, my consultant challenged me to think about where the other 60 percent were on the decision-making scale and whether more engagement with those students could lead to increased conversion and yield? He was right, as we focused our efforts down the funnel, we increased our applications from targeted groups, increased visits, and even increased FAFSA Submissions. Ultimately, we increased enrollment and net revenue as a result.

RNL Digital Boost is the solution for this time, focused on college digital marketing for conversion and yield, in a time when many will run to digital lead generation alone and chase after students who are not really interested. I’m finding the most fun conversations right now are around how RNL Digital Boost can be combined with RNL Parent Engagement, RNL Online Engagement, and RNL Melt Prevention to dramatically influence conversion, yield, and ultimately, enrollment.

Let’s talk about your strategies for engagement and conversion

We can share how you can increase engagement with the right students through digital marketing strategies that produce more conversions and more enrollment. Ask for a 30-minute personalized consultation on your enrollment and marketing strategy.


About the Author

Dr. Eric Groves joined the Enrollment Management team in 2014, bringing with him 15 years of higher education experience, as a director of undergraduate admissions for 12 years and as a director of development for...

Read more about Eric's experience and expertise

Reach Eric by e-mail at Eric.Groves@RuffaloNL.com.


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