Leveraging Content Strategy to Yield Higher Ed Students

Leveraging Content Strategy to Yield Students


Things aren’t adding up for higher ed marketers. Brand and Marketing spend is rising, but enrollment yield rates are sinking.

According to “The State of Higher Ed Branding” report and the “2016 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Directors,” fifty-three percent of marketing officers at colleges and universities are spending more than $100,000 on branding—but 63 percent of institutions didn’t meet their enrollment goals by May 1, 2016.

So, what do we do about it?

Fifty-three percent of marketing officers at colleges and universities are spending more than $100,000 on branding—but 63 percent of institutions didn’t meet their 2016 enrollment goals.

The first step toward increasing yield is connecting a quality content strategy to your recruitment plan.

My Converge 2017 presentation, “Higher Ed and the Campus Content Strategist: A Love Story,” empowered higher ed marketers and recruiters to look beyond the allure of shallow brand stories and refocus their content around data to refresh recruitment strategies.

Check out the key points from the presentation and download the slides.

Real Data + Storyteller’s Instincts

While higher education branding has embraced a white space, skinny-font, Valencia and Hudson filtered visual approach, beautiful creative isn’t enough to win over students in a crowded marketplace.

Enter content strategy, which combines real data with storyteller instincts to create content that aligns with the mission, vision and values of your institution. The tools for building quality content are simple:

Know Your Position

Who are you as an institution?

Build Your Audience

Who makes up your ideal class profile?

Learn and Track Their Behavior

Where do students find you and interact with you prior to enrollment?

Leverage Your Content for ROI

As digital advertising advances, schools are generating more qualified leads but that doesn’t necessarily translate to yield. The response has been to build out CRM and marketing automation strategies with diverse touchpoints to engage with students throughout the decision-making process.

While higher ed has been slow to adopt communication flow strategies—instead relying on traditional methods, such as recruitment fairs and view books—recent data reinforces the shift to email marketing.

According to the 2016 Chegg “Social Admissions Report” which surveyed 1,926 high school seniors and college freshmen, 69 percent of students prefer email communication with college admissions on their mobile phone.

Other supporting statistics show that 53 percent of students expect a response within a day of contacting a college rep.

Considering the climate of higher ed recruitment, connecting sound content to a CRM and marketing automation strategy allows you to more effectively reach prospects.

Content Strategy Can Make Your Recruitment Beautiful AND Effective

But what does content strategy look like in the context of digital recruitment?

Look no further than the University of Illinois 2015-16 undergraduate recruitment campaign, which featured unified, integrated content across print and digital strategies that yielded their largest and most diverse class to date.

What makes this campaign so unique is not only it’s comprehensive application of content strategy, but the university’s rigorous attention to tracking the ROI of their efforts. According to their 2015-16 Marketing Report, U of I reduced costs by nearly $50,000 while increasing yield.

Want more insights from the session?

Download the full presentation and check out the rest of the presentation recaps from Converge 2017.

Brittney Dunkins
Brittney Dunkins
March 16, 2017