With robust prospective student CRMs becoming table-stakes for admission offices, a complicated flow-chart of email segments and triggers may not provide the competitive edge it once did. There are some ways to stay ahead of the masses that don't involve a huge increase in budget or a seismic shift in strategy. Google now lets admissions and college marketing offices (and all marketers savvy in AdWords) to upload and target email lists with custom audiences. This means the messages you display through the Google Exchange (search, display, YouTube) can target prospective students in your funnel and only prospective students in your funnel.
1. Target Inquiries Based on Location:
Check out the video above. Using a simple filter and export from your CRM, find all inquiries for the next two recruitment seasons in the Chicago area. Filter by zip-code or state or even target feeder high schools. Upload the list into Google AdWords and create your campaign.
If you're going to spend money in online marketing, a personalized and relevant message will cost you the least amount and return the greatest benefit. Targeting with GeoFli results in a seamless path from consideration to action, answering the question: what do you do with the website traffic once it arrives at your site?
2. Tailored Campaigns for Efficiency: "Teaching Degree"
Create a keyword search campaign and include keywords outside your normal lists. "Teaching degree" is an expensive keyword. While it wouldn't make sense to bid on this for just anyone searching for a teaching degree, containing the audience to inquiries and prospects interested in education would be a good place to start.
Note: what are your most expensive search keywords? Could you limit those keywords to custom audiences for a better investment in marketing dollars? Could you create articles and videos about "teaching degree" to drive more organic traffic?
3. The Influencers: Reaching Parents Through Custom Audiences:
YouTube is the big winner here. Say goodbye to television advertising as we know it. Have a parent email list? A family weekend file? Let's say you have a parent email list for current and prospective students.
a. Filter the list showing only prospective student parents
b. Create a quick video in collaboration with financial aid (doesn't need to be James Cameron quality) explaining the financial aid process, or focus on a specific topic of interest: "what's a parent plus loan?"
c. Add video to your YouTube channel. Show video as an in-stream advertisement before videos about financial aid.
d. Using custom audiences, target the video to your list of prospective parents. Now, when anyone from the uploaded email file (all prospective student parents) searches YouTube, they'll see a welcomed message about the complicated financial aid process delivered in a professional way by your college or university. As an added bonus, create a three-minute video series helping explain different pieces of the financial aid process.
4. Reach Alum Without Calling During Dinner:
There's no substitute for a passionate alumni. Does your school have a method for turning that passion into proactive recruitment? How about an application-fee waiver sent to all out-of-state alum? What about fee waivers for siblings or children of alum of current students?
Use custom audiences in Google AdWords to create a targeted call-to-action for alumni to sign-up as an ambassador. "Become an ambassador for The Ohio State University without opening your checkbook. Find out how."
5. Improve Admission's Funnel Conversion:
Segment digital marketing campaigns based on funnel steps. Sort your CSV: prospect, inquiry, applicant. Engage your creative team and design simple display ads with clear calls-to-action. "Apply Online Today" or "Five Days Left to Apply Early Decision."
You might be wondering what happens if someone from the inquiry list applies during the campaign window, do they still see the "apply now" call to action? No. You can set this up using the remarketing pixel linked to events in Google Analytics. See below.
Using AdWords custom audiences in collaboration with GeoFli continues the story to the homepage. With advanced experience linking college and university CRMs to Google AdWords and building advanced Google Analytics audiences, partnering with GeoFli is a great way to get this process off the ground. Get started today: