How does an institution office engage a complete stranger (suspect) all the way through the process to become a qualified applicant?
Using traditional communications flows are helpful, but any school can send out a series of emails in a drip sequence over time that drives prospects towards applying. The problem with these type of communication flows is that they start in the middle of a potential applicant’s journey and do not take into consideration prospect behaviors other than the fact that he/she completed an inquiry form.
What is the Purpose of Content Nurturing Workflows?
There is a method to leveraging the behaviors of your prospects that is directly related to the content they are consuming — a method that improves engagement and generates positive applicant conversion results. That’s why we made this resource — The Essential Guide to Content Nurturing Workflows for Enrollment Marketing — to help you learn how to can take a stranger through the entire Applicant Journey using positive engagement via relevant content triggered by workflows. The goal of content nurturing workflows is to stay in touch with contacts who have shown some level of interest in your institution and provide them information that’s relevant to where they are in the Applicant Journey (Awareness, Consideration, or Decision). They provide answers that support the process of searching, considering, and selecting a college or graduate program to apply to.
The resources that you provide for your prospects will give them access to readily available information that they otherwise may not have stumbled upon. The content is just another excuse to link to your online application. Instead, nurturing content highlights the topics most likely to be important and influential at their stage in the research or decision process. This type of interaction with a potential applicant will keep your University at the forefront of their mind because of the value of thought-leadership and resourcefulness, which is inherently different than traditional recruitment content. It is based on permission rather than interruption. In short, it is the “nurturing” aspect of content that makes all the difference!
To send an email to prospects who are visiting program-specific pages on your website and invite them to download and/or read relevant information related to the program.
Jill subscribed to your blog awhile back but hasn’t filled out any inquiry form nor started an application. But Jill has visited the “Graduate Programs in Health Care Management” page on your website three times in the past month. This workflow would send an email to Jill inviting her to download “ A Guide to Understanding the Field of Health Care Management.” If she clicks through and downloads this piece, Jill should be flagged as a more serious prospect interested in learning more about a grad program in this field.
After Jill has downloaded the guide, send her an email two days later with the contact information of the respective graduate program coordinator for this program and invite her to schedule a call or in-person meeting.
To send an email to people who are consuming blog content that invites them to view program-specific website pages, according to the type of blog content they have been viewing.
Let’s say Andy is viewing blog posts about a graduate degree in business, but after reading a post, he doesn’t dig any deeper into your website. After viewing one of these business program blog posts, Andy would be sent an email with a primary content offer to visit the business program landing page. On this landing page can be an event registration, more detailed information about the business program, or whatever information you hope for Andy to consume next.
After Andy has visited the business program’s homepage, be sure to have an email set up to send in the next few days that gives him more content to go through. This could be a mixture of program-specific content and general content, such as financing graduate school or getting an assistantship.
To send an email to the people who have clicked on a Facebook Ad and downloaded a piece of content but have not taken any other actions on your site. This email should contain a link to subscribe to your blog or invite them to share posts on their social media accounts.
Sandy has clicked one of your Facebook Ads that contains a tracking pixel, and that was her first time visiting any of your webpages. Now, after two days you can send her a follow-up email with content related to the ad that she clicked on via Facebook. If the ad was a blog post about a graduate degree in nursing, then the follow-up email should include other nursing program posts and also a link to subscribe to your blog.
After analyzing Sandy’s information from Facebook, create a lookalike audience for your next nursing ad that is similar to Sandy and her interests. If Sandy converted on this ad, then people like her are more likely to convert than a broad audience.
To convert people who are reading your blog posts on a specific program into event attendees.
Chris has been reading your blog posts about a graduate degree in education but never digs deeper into the details of the program — or into applying. This workflow will send an email to Chris after he reads another blog post about education, and the email will invite him to attend an education information session. Additionally, this email will also contain more resources to help Chris determine whether or not graduate school is an option for him.
The primary content offer in the email should be about attending the information session, but the secondary offer should give Chris information that eliminates any doubts he may have about graduate school e.g. financing graduate school or managing his time between school and work.
To help applicants, who have yet to finish their application, get the information they need to feel more comfortable and ultimately finish and submit their application.
Rachel started an application, but she did not finish it. Two days later, she should be sent an email that nurtures her with bottom-of-the-funnel content. This content could be a guide that outlines how to finance graduate school, a blog post about tips for submitting a successful application, or anything else that assists the applicant in their decision to finish the application.
To move people through the 3 stages of the Applicant Journey based on the types of content being consumed. This workflow requires pre-determining which actions qualify a prospect as a lead, marketing qualified lead, soft inquiry, or serious inquiry.
Billy subscribes to your blog and reads content regularly and has probably filled out at least one form that contains a select amount of personal information — he is a lead. Once Billy has become more engaged and filled out forms, his lifecycle stage is changed to “Marketing Qualified Lead” (MQL). If Billy were to attend a recruitment event, he would then be moved into the “serious inquiry” stage. At this point, Billy can be sent more program-specific information about both applying AND other decision-stage topics, such as the cost-benefit analysis of an advanced degree.
Tracking your applicant’s journey is vital to ensuring they’re getting the content they want and analyzing what information seems most pivotal when converting them to the next stage of the journey.
To increase engagement with inquiries who have expressed interest in a certain program, but haven’t started an application.
Maggie has requested more information about the health programs you offer, but she hasn’t taken any additional actions since that initial request. This workflow is built to send her program-specific blog posts that give her more information about various topics related to the health program as well as some general information about the benefits of advanced degrees. These follow-up emails are meant to engage Maggie and help her get to the point where she’s ready to start an application.
Tracking your applicant’s journey is vital to ensuring they’re getting the content they want, and analyzing what information seems most pivotal when converting them to the next stage of the journey.
To provide quick answers to financial barriers/questions for prospects that are not yet ready for a phone call or in-person visit.
Kyle has viewed your financial aid page multiple times and maybe even read a blog post about financing college. However, he may have some concerns or specific questions that these pages are unable to answer. This email will be sent two days after he views a financial aid page for a second time and include a more in-depth guide about the financial aid process, where to get scholarships, working while in school, and contact information for the financial aid coordinator.
Be sure to include the contact information of the financial aid coordinator in the email so that Kyle knows it’s okay for him to make a direct call and get all of the information he needs from a live person.
To assign personas to prospects for lifecycle stage development, especially if he/she has not indicated any specific a program of interest.
Wendy has subscribed to your blog or newsletter but hasn’t viewed any program-specific content that allows you to assign her a specific persona group. This email would contain resources that have detailed information about various personaspecific topics. By tracking Wendy’s engagement you will be able to assign the correct persona so that additional workflows will be triggered with more relevant content.
Once classified, you can set up multiple persona-specific workflows with awareness and consideration stage content offers that are triggered based on the result of this workflow. If a prospect happens to have already received any of the content offers previously, those workflow actions should be skipped!
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