No Slowing Down For Yield

Jason LangdonSenior Vice PresidentNovember 13, 2020

Co-written by Gil Rogers, Executive Vice President, PlatformQ Education

With recent reports of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials, many are hoping for a rapid return to normalcy. Unfortunately, even if peer reviews and further testing is completed at a rapid pace, there might not be rapid distribution until well past the height of the traditional “yield season” for enrollment marketers. With this in mind, it is important to begin planning now for a yield season that is once again completely virtual. However, unlike back in April 2019, we now have the advantage of time and experience to approach virtual yield events strategically.

Adjust expectations

If there’s one thing that we know for sure, we cannot simply replicate in-person events online—particularly during the mission-critical yield season. It’s also important to understand that in a year like no other, conversion and yield cannot be offset by increasing volume. We should not treat virtual events like traditional search campaigns…. More does not equal better.

As we develop a virtual engagement strategy for yield in 2021, it will be critical to evaluate where we are with our overall recruitment pool.

  • What can we do now to better drive application completion?
  • How can we be more accessible without asking our staff to work 24/7/365?
  • What should we do to ensure we’re reaching as many students as possible with so much digital noise?

It’s important to understand that starting now, every interaction is a yield interaction. Every event is a yield event.

In a world of smaller lists, conversion is key.

Build a plan that scales

College enrollment yields will become even more vital in a disrupted higher ed environment
Leading institutions will adapt in light of continued COVID-19 challenges so that they can maintain strong college enrollment yields.

In what used to be a traditional recruitment cycle, many of us were reliant on as many in-person, face-to-face experiences as possible. With those opportunities off the table or at minimum drastically reduced, it’s important to consider how to make your best presenters available as often as possible without burning them out. Hosting single family campus tours is not going to fill your class.

Consider what content is important but repetitive:

  • General information sessions
  • Financial aid overviews
  • Academic showcase presentations

These programs tend to require a strong presenter who is used to standing on a stage or in front of a full room. Presenting virtually creates a different experience. Consider ways to record a presentation once and then play it again for new audiences. Simulating live experiences can be just as effective as clicking “go live” but at a fraction of the effort. Read more about simulating live content on the PlatformQ Education blog.

Stop the irrational commitment to effort

Last month we wrote a piece encouraging you to stop what we called the “irrational commitment to effort”. The focus of that piece was to help enrollment leaders understand that many tactics meant to replicate in person experiences as closely as possible (namely repetitive online presentations via Zoom and virtual college fairs) were having hard-to-measure results at best or no results at worst. While our hearts are in the right place, lessons have taught us that trying to do it all leads to staff burnout and poor results.

There are many ways to build a continuous and consistent virtual engagement plan to drive better results. Conduit integrates with RNL Demand Builder and Applicant Cultivator and third-party analytics tools like Google and Facebook pixel to align your virtual events strategy with your overall marketing and recruitment campaigns. Incorporating a digital marketing strategy with consistently available on-demand content supported by live online chats are a great way to drive conversion and yield while also maximizing your staff time.

Don’t wait to get started

As we’ve said before, in a heavily virtual world, we can tweak our strategies frequently based on new information. It’s oftentimes impossible to cancel physical programs that are pre-booked because of deposits on venues, catering orders, and physical materials that are produced and sent. Take advantage of the knowledge that you won’t have these logistics to wrestle with in the spring.

RNL Online Engagement, powered by Conduit, allows you to be more flexible while thinking strategically about your plans based on engagement metrics you are seeing with your identified student audiences. Planning for the spring now will save you time and energy down the road, and leave your team far more prepared to run top notch virtual yield programs. Avoid a repeat of this past April next year. Get started today.

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About the Author

Jason Langdon

Jason Langdon leads RNL's undergraduate enrollment team of sales consultants. He has more than 25 years of higher education enrollment experience at both private and public campuses across the country. His particular areas of expertise...

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