Increasing enrollment with guest students
Supplement summer enrollment by engaging guest students
Indiana’s largest postsecondary institution, boasting over 40 community college locations and serving nearly 200,000 students annually.
Like many institutions, the college saw a decline in enrollment for courses during the summer months. They also knew those months were the time of year students at competing institutions, or in 4-year degree programs, were most likely to repeat courses or work to get ahead on their path to graduation. With great transfer programs and over 40 locations across the state, the college was in an ideal position for inviting guest students to enroll. But scaling guest student efforts would require digital campaigns that connect with a unique prospect group, and is able to reach them at the precise time they need supplemental education.
Statwax began by auditing prior guest students to identify typical inquiry and enrollment periods, trends in demographics and geography, and common credit partnerships. The data suggested there was a considerable volume of students looking at the college as a potential school to take supplementary credits at, who did not get very far into the research process let alone enroll. In response, the Statwax CRO team finely combed through landing pages, working to implement conversion driven changes that would address the concerns of a guest student and the process of transferring credits, thus removing all barriers to application.
Next, Statwax developed ad creative for paid search, Gmail, display, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to work together in reaching prospects in the right place, at the right time. Creative messaging tests were one of the biggest drivers of prospects’ application interest. Themes addressing earning credits quickly, cost savings, and the ease of credit transfer were all highly effective in receiving application starts.
These messaging points were targeted toward prospective guest students during the height of their need. Meaning, campaign messaging and targeting was structured specifically to reach prospects when they were most likely to approach a course withdrawal end period, meet with admissions counselors regarding their graduation path, or earn a grade that required course repetition at their current institution.
As a result, an effort that had once relied on newspaper ads with competing schools was built into a scalable digital campaign that helped support every campus, and the students at nearby institutions. Scaling the efforts to drive more guest student applications was not only successful, but it showed the power of digital campaigns to adapt to a non-traditional student journey.
Many higher education marketers build strategies that focus on driving general inquires or enrollment. But the reality is, digital campaigns can and should reflect the true enrollment goals across campuses and seasons. Guest student enrollment is a great way to boost enrollment during the summer season, and is most effective with a digital strategy that reaches prospects when they have a need for additional educational support, with messaging that directly addresses their emotional and practical concerns.