Broadly understood, business and the education industry have more in common than you might think. The best example is the student recruitment process and the process of acquiring customers for the company.
In business schools, as well as in companies, the basis of operation is to ensure an appropriate number of clients/students who will generate income that guarantees the possibility of functioning or scaling.
Both business and the education industry demand the same rights. You will not acquire the right number of customers = students if you do not conduct an appropriate marketing campaign.
The data is absolute – in business, you need from 8 to 14 points of contact with the brand, and in education, you need up to 10 touchpoints for a candidate to decide to apply to your university.
There are three main stages illustrating the recruitment process within the sales funnel:
- Student inquiries,
- Student applications,
- Students admitted.
In this article, we will focus on the first stage, which is crucial from the perspective of results.
It is necessary to use omnichannel marketing to generate the appropriate number of views of your university’s brand.
Moreover, you can optimize activities aimed at increasing the number of applications by potential students.
Why do you need so many brand touchpoints to achieve Student Recruitment success?
The importance of brand touchpoints in the student recruitment process cannot be overstated. These touchpoints serve as the connective tissue that binds prospective students with your institution, fostering a relationship that can influence their educational journey profoundly. Let’s delve deeper into the significance of these touchpoints:
- Building Trust and Credibility: Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, and it’s no different when it comes to attracting students to your institution. Consistent and positive brand touchpoints create a sense of credibility. When prospective students encounter your institution’s brand across various channels and consistently find reliable information and support, they develop trust in your institution’s integrity and commitment to their educational goals.
- Staying Top of Mind: In today’s information-saturated world, maintaining a prominent presence in the minds of prospective students is crucial. The student recruitment process often spans months, and even years, as students research their options, evaluate programs, and make choices. Multiple brand touchpoints ensure that your institution remains at the forefront of their thoughts throughout this process. When they eventually decide where to pursue their education, your institution is more likely to be their first choice.
- Providing Essential Information: Prospective students hunger for information at every stage of their journey. From initial curiosity about program offerings to in-depth research on faculty expertise, scholarships, campus facilities, and extracurricular activities, students seek answers to myriad questions. By strategically placing brand touchpoints across their path, your institution can disseminate vital information precisely when they need it, nurturing their understanding and interest.
- Personalization: Every prospective student is unique, with distinct aspirations, interests, and concerns. Multiple brand touchpoints enable your institution to tailor its messaging and content to specific groups or even individuals. Personalization goes a long way in making prospective students feel valued and understood, enhancing their connection with your institution.
- Addressing Concerns and Queries: The decision to pursue higher education is a significant one, often accompanied by a host of questions, doubts, and apprehensions. Effective brand touchpoints provide opportunities for these concerns to be addressed promptly and comprehensively. Whether through responsive social media engagement, informative webinars, or one-on-one communication, you can actively alleviate uncertainties and provide reassurance.
- Fostering Engagement and Interaction: Engagement is a vital aspect of the recruitment journey. Multiple brand touchpoints disseminate information and encourage prospective students to interact and engage with your institution. Webinars, virtual campus tours, and information sessions offer platforms for meaningful engagement, allowing students to connect with faculty, staff, and current students, gaining a deeper understanding of what your institution offers.
In conclusion, the power of brand touchpoints in student recruitment lies in their ability to nurture relationships, instill trust, and provide essential information. An effective multichannel approach ensures that your institution remains visible, relevant, and responsive throughout the student’s journey. By strategically designing and optimizing these touchpoints, universities and colleges can create a compelling and lasting impression, attracting top talent.
Omnichannel marketing strategy for Student Recruitment
Leveraging multiple touchpoints has emerged as a cornerstone strategy for universities and colleges seeking to attract the most promising talent. These touchpoints serve as strategic nodes along the intricate web of student engagement, facilitating meaningful interactions and influencing critical decisions. Let’s delve into the myriad facets of why and how institutions can effectively harness the power of multiple touchpoints in their recruitment endeavors:
Comprehensive Digital Presence: A robust online presence is indispensable. Universities and colleges must ensure that their website is not just a static repository of information, but a dynamic hub that caters to prospective students’ evolving needs. Regularly updated content, intuitive navigation, and responsive design are essential elements. Furthermore, institutions should embrace SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies to ensure their web content ranks high in search results, increasing visibility among potential applicants.
Email Marketing: Email remains a potent tool for personalized communication with prospective students. Segmenting your email lists based on factors like interests, academic goals, and geographic location allows you to tailor messages to specific groups. Additionally, automated email workflows can nurture leads over time, delivering the right information at the right stage of their decision-making process.
Virtual Events and Webinars: The advent of virtual events and webinars has opened up new avenues for engagement. Hosting virtual campus tours, information sessions, and webinars on topics of interest to prospective students creates opportunities for meaningful interactions. These events can cater to diverse audiences, from high school seniors seeking general information to graduate students with specific academic queries.
Social Media Advertising: Paid social media advertising enables institutions to reach a broader audience and target specific demographics. By utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, universities can create targeted campaigns that retarget individuals who have previously shown interest in their programs or institution. This ensures that your institution remains on the radar of potential applicants.
Content Marketing: Content is king in the digital realm, and universities can harness its power to engage and inform. Implementing a comprehensive content marketing strategy involves producing a variety of content types, including blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics. These pieces should address common questions and concerns of prospective students, offering valuable insights into programs, campus life, financial aid, and more.
Student and Alumni Ambassadors: Enlist current students and alumni as brand ambassadors. Their firsthand experiences and authentic stories can resonate strongly with prospective students. Encourage them to share their journey through social media, create video testimonials, or participate in virtual Q&A sessions. Their insights and relatability can be incredibly persuasive.
Traditional Media: While digital channels dominate the modern marketing landscape, traditional media channels should not be overlooked, especially for targeting local markets. Radio, print advertisements, and participation in local events can still play a significant role in reaching certain segments of the prospective student population.
Application Assistance: Streamlining the application process and offering readily available support is a crucial touchpoint. Universities can provide guidance through online chat support, dedicated admissions helplines, or comprehensive FAQ sections on their websites. Ensuring that applicants can navigate the application process seamlessly is vital in preventing potential hurdles from deterring them.
Salesforce’s role in Omnichannel marketing strategy for Student Recruitment
Let’s explore how Salesforce can enhance the power of omnichannel marketing in expanding brand touchpoints for student recruitment:
Centralized Data Management
Salesforce serves as a robust repository for student data, encompassing information from various touchpoints. It allows institutions to store, organize, and access data efficiently. This centralized database ensures that every interaction, whether through email, social media, or events, is informed by a comprehensive understanding of the prospective student’s history and preferences.
Automation and Workflow Optimization
Salesforce offers powerful automation capabilities, streamlining communication and engagement across channels. Institutions can set up automated workflows that trigger personalized messages based on a student’s behavior. For instance, if a student attends a webinar, Salesforce can automatically send a follow-up email with related content, further enriching the engagement.
Segmentation and Targeting
Salesforce enables precise audience segmentation. Institutions can create tailored marketing campaigns for specific student segments based on factors like academic interests, geographic location, or engagement history. This granular targeting ensures that each touchpoint is relevant to the recipient, increasing the likelihood of positive responses.
Multichannel Campaign Management
Salesforce’s campaign management features facilitate the orchestration of multichannel marketing campaigns. Institutions can plan, execute, and monitor campaigns across email, social media, webinars, and other channels within a unified platform. This cohesive approach ensures that every campaign resonates with the overall recruitment strategy.
Real-Time Analytics and Reporting
Salesforce provides real-time analytics and reporting tools, offering insights into the performance of each touchpoint and campaign. Institutions can track metrics such as email open rates, webinar attendance, and social media engagement. These insights empower data-driven decision-making, allowing for agile adjustments to the marketing strategy based on what’s working best.
Salesforce’s robust data capabilities enable deep personalization. Institutions can create dynamic content that adapts to each student’s unique journey and interests. Whether it’s tailoring emails, customizing event invitations, or recommending specific programs, this level of personalization enhances the effectiveness of every touchpoint.
Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Tracking
Salesforce allows tracking of student interactions across devices and channels. This capability is crucial in understanding how students move seamlessly between touchpoints. It ensures that no matter where or how a student engages, their journey is cohesive, with each touchpoint building upon the previous ones.
Integration with External Tools
Salesforce can integrate with other marketing tools and technologies, enhancing the omnichannel experience. For example, it can seamlessly connect with marketing automation platforms, social media management tools, and webinar software, ensuring a seamless flow of data and communication.
Salesforce’s predictive analytics capabilities can forecast which touchpoints are likely to yield the best results for specific student segments. This proactive approach allows institutions to allocate resources more effectively, ensuring that they invest in the touchpoints that are most likely to drive conversions.
Salesforce is highly scalable, making it suitable for institutions of all sizes. Whether you’re a small college or a large university, you can tailor Salesforce to your specific needs, accommodating the growth and evolving requirements of your student recruitment efforts.
Student Recruitment Journey – summary
In the article, we raised the issue of the importance of the student recruitment process in the context of the proper functioning of universities (from a business point of view).
Building trust, remaining in the spotlight and providing potential students with important information is a key aspect of a properly conducted first stage of the recruitment process.
The student recruitment process is not linear, but a dynamic and evolving path, highlighting the need for a differentiated approach to effectively reach and engage students.
Universities must make data-driven decisions, analyzing the effectiveness of touchpoints and adapting strategies accordingly.
Salesforce provides a robust infrastructure for institutions to orchestrate and optimize their omnichannel marketing strategies seamlessly.
By centralizing data, automating processes, and fostering personalized communication, Salesforce empowers universities and colleges to create cohesive and highly effective student recruitment campaigns.
With Salesforce as a cornerstone, institutions can integrate diverse touchpoints, from email and social media to webinars and mobile apps, into a unified recruitment ecosystem that cultivates meaningful connections with prospective students.
This CRM platform streamlines the management of student data and offers data-driven insights, allowing institutions to adapt and refine their strategies in real-time.
As the recruitment landscape continues to grow in complexity, the integration of Salesforce into an omnichannel marketing approach becomes an invaluable asset, enabling institutions to stay competitive and reach out recruitment goals.