Marketing and admissions professionals in higher education are faced with the challenge of personalizing outreach to thousands of prospective students. The fact that today’s students come from a wide range of ages, academic interests, life experiences, instructional preferences and more only makes that challenge harder.

So, how do you determine which personalization tactics will encourage a student to search, click, request a tour or apply to your school?

Science is always asking questions and seeking answers. In the digital age, the science of asking and answering questions about prospective students is known as behavioral analytics — and it is informed by the hard data generated as people use websites, apps and social media. Luckily for higher ed, this data is being generated in abundance across campus systems daily; it just needs to be harnessed and put to work as outreach intelligence.

Student Behavior Speaks Through Data

Understanding who your prospective students are and how to reach them is the task. In studying students, behavioral data can teach you what actions to take next.

You may already be mining data about what channel brought a student to your site, which webpages they visited, and how they interacted with your school. Outreach intelligence compiles data from across all those interactions to identify behavioral flags that can inform the next engagement, ensuring you’re reaching out at the right time, in the right channel, to the right person.

Let’s look at a prospective nursing student for example. A prospect’s response to a banner ad, social post and/or visit to that department’s page tells you they’re targeting a nursing program. Next time they visit, an optimized site could swap out neutral imagery for nursing-related photos. You can learn more about that here.

Retargeting ads that reflect that student’s interest in nursing (versus a generic ad for the school) tells the student you see them as an individual, not just a default prospective student. The more specific that targeting can be, the better the impression ads can make.

A prospective nursing student might engage at night or first thing in the morning — perhaps around their nursing assistant shifts. Someone working shift hours may not be available for calls during business hours. Using text or email as their preferred channel can ensure they are able to read what you send on their schedule, versus inviting feelings of exasperation from missing your contact attempts.

Analytics Chart the Course

Each student has an individual enrollment journey. However, their behavioral data is spread across multiple, and often disconnected, systems and platforms. For analytics to generate powerful insights, data about students’ needs to be collected, connected and activated in a process Collegis Education calls data enablement. Only then can schools create a single customer view (SCV).

We’re partnering with Google to offer colleges the ability to leverage the Google Cloud Platform to collect data from across the entire institution and apply Google’s built-in artificial intelligence (AI) models and analytics to identify behavioral flags that accurately predict the right content, message, or interaction that will move the student along their journey: the next-best action.

With enrollment growth a top priority, now is the time to transform your data into outreach intelligence so students are met with well-timed messages that strengthen their affinity for your institution.

Author: Collegis Education staff

Collegis is passionate about education and driven by the technology that keeps institutions moving forward.