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Get the Equity Engagement Experience™ to Boost Your Enrollments

As educators look toward summer and fall 2021 classes, rows of empty seats confront them. Students disappeared from their Zoom screens last spring – and many did not reappear. Students graduated off the high school rolls – and enrolling in college was not on their radar.

As educators look toward summer and fall 2021 classes, rows of empty seats confront them. Students disappeared from their Zoom screens last spring – and many did not reappear. Students graduated off the high school rolls – and enrolling in college was not on their radar.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s latest report showed college enrollment declined by 4.4% this year. At community colleges, that decline was over 10%. Despite the popular rhetoric that many 2020 high school graduates took a gap year, the Clearinghouse numbers tell a different story.

For students in low-wage jobs and students of color, that ‘gap year’ is more realistically described as widening the ‘equity gap’ with many of these students abandoning plans for post-secondary education.

These students, along with college students who dropped out last spring, have now set themselves on a path to join the 36 million Americans who left college without a credential, positioning them for a lifetime of lower earnings.

Dire situations like this enrollment crisis require a different kind of enrollment marketing, not more of the same that has been employed in the past. Here at Full Capacity Marketing (FCM), we’ve been creating unique recruitment and enrollment strategies during COVID-19 and documenting them through our thought leadership blog.

One of these solutions is our Equity Engagement Experience™ — a strategy specifically designed to identify vulnerable student segments and reach them with ads personalization and post-click engagement that result in quality leads ready to convert.

A recent example is FCM’s work with Saddleback College (Saddleback) to bring students back and help close the equity gap via a summer campaign called “Make Your Comeback.” Using FCM’s proprietary psychographic targeting method, four student segments were identified and targeted with unique messaging under the “Make Your Comeback” campaign. The multi-phased ad campaign that starts next month will use lists of students that did not enroll in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 and creates custom digital ads to deliver segmented messaging.

By creating look-alike audiences, in late May and early June, we can then also reach similar people with similar behavior, interests and demographics and target them with the right calls to action and copy that fits their situation best. This allows Saddleback to capture that large group of students who did not enroll in post-secondary education after high school this year.

In addition to reaching these two critical segments, FCM will deploy customized strategies to raise awareness of Saddleback’s offerings among new audiences, showing ads to targeted zip codes to users 18-34 with expressed interests in going back to school, finding a new job or learning new skills, as well as reaching potential summer students who currently attend a four-year university.

An integral part of FCM’s Equity Engagement Experience™ strategy is the post-click experience: engagement via chatbot, email and text messaging. Many marketing agencies spend more time on the pre-ad click strategy, however, FCM equally focuses on the post-click experience to increase the likelihood of conversion by an audience that is known to need extra touches and prompts for decision-making and follow up.

To continue the conversation with prospective students and lead them to conversion, FCM will launch a “Make Your Comeback” segmented email series. Strategically written and delivered emails that apply relevant messaging by segment are a critical part of the conversion process. In addition with text messaging capacity, FCM will not only be able to collect more leads via a unique keyword opt-in but will utilize texting to deliver email follow-up messaging via text to the roughly 70% of users who generally decline to open their email messages.

We know it’s not easy to recruit students during this time while meeting equity goals—contact us for a consultation on how to apply our Equity Engagement Experience™ for your school.

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