Popping the Higher Education Digital Bubble
In multiple surveys, more than eighty percent of prospective students rank the website as the number one tool for research when selecting a school. Despite a desire to focus on prospects, most higher education websites are unable to power enrollments. Instead, marketing groups are slowed by internal politics, a lack of actionable data, and long funding cycles. Drawing on examples from both successful higher education and corporate clients, this session will provide a new framework for defining investment in your school’s website. We’ll highlight how marketing groups can: - Make the case for ongoing investment in digital - Define clear business goals - Measure and make decisions based on data, not opinion - Leverage analytics to take control - Comprehensive look at social, search, paid search, ads, email The session will translate corporate practices into a higher education context to provide you with actionable next steps. In addition, we’ll present an overall framework for socializing the evolution of websites -- and the required staffing and budget -- to invest in digital. (All of these concepts are not tied to a specific vendor or software solution.)
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Popping the Higher Education Digital Bubble
Higher Ed Digital Bubble
What Higher Ed Needs to Learn from Corporate Websites
Managing Director & Higher Ed Practice Lead
What’s this about?
How do businesses approach digital?
How is that different than higher ed?
Why should higher ed learn from businesses?
If you agree, how to explain it to other people?
Before the internet, sales people
controlled information and the process.
Today, the website is both marketing and
selling – moving to an all digital sale.
The same transition is happening
in higher education
– just more slowly.
Rather than being threatened,
business is using the technology to
get more information about the
customer and influence the
What Businesses Do
Agree on the customer.
Deﬁne business goals, KPI and benchmarks.
Map a customer journey and then testing it.
Change the roles of marketing and sales.
What Blocks Higher Ed?
Lack of agreement about the purpose of the website.
Silos – lack of end to end reporting.
Individual priorities vs. institutional goals.
What is the purpose of
Step One: Agree on Your Audience
Colleges need to agree that the
website is first and foremost about
engaging and converting
Is Your Site Prospect Focused?
Is all of the messaging relevant to prospects?
Are you driving “customers” to your “products”?
Does your site offer clear ways for prospects to engage?
Is your site free of jargon and internal language?
What is your
Step Two: Deﬁne Goals, KPIs and Benchmarks
These are strategies, not goals.
“The site needs to be responsive.”
“I want the site to look better.”
“I want to enhance my brand.”
“I want to use marketing automation.”
“I want to improve organic search (SEO).”
A business goal must have a
“I want increase enrollment
by 50 students.”
“I want to increase campus tour
sign-ups by 15%.”
Goals Provide Direction.
Otherwise, you’re just doing stuff.
Goals allow you to test strategies and prove what works
Goals allow you to prove and claim success.
Goals stop you from arguing from opinions.
Goals help you know how to invest your time and resources.
Step Three: Understand the Audience
Prospective Graduate Student
Deposit 1st class
Ask for Information
Engage with a counselor
First Visit Needs & Tasks
• Explore programs
• Learn about value
• Get oriented to options
• Understand cost
• Learn about ﬂexibility
Compare & Conﬁrm
• Course of study
• Faculty bios
• Watch video
• Student testimonials
• Welcome packet
• Frequent touches
Work more closely
Purchase prospect lists
Send e-mails to prospects
Go into the ﬁeld
Run campus tours
Give ﬁnancial aid
Goal: Recruit students Goal: Not always clear
Create print collateral
Create digital campaigns
Manage the website
Develop the brand
Admissions MarketingIncreased ﬂexibility
Goal: recruit students
Real time marketing
Get better at data collection, analysis and decision-making
Senior Search, Field Recruiting, Digital
Real Time Personalization
Based on browsing habits, change content in real time to make
the site more relevant and inﬂuence the funnel.
Provide this browsing history to admissions (or advancement)
to make in person meetings more meaningful.
Monitor prospects website activity for engagement and interest.
Capture with Cookies
Time on site
Lead Capture Ties
Data to a User with Email
Two Way Real Time Data Flow
Become experts together.
Working for and measuring the
Move from rigid to flexible.
How to explain all this
to people back home.
Website is primarily about
the internal organization
“What are we?”
Website focused on connecting
with prospects and meeting their needs
“What do our prospects want?”
Website achieves the
business goals of the organization
“What increases enrollment?”
Do-er Owner Driver
Inclined toward enrollment
Minimal data sharing
Marketing data syncs to
No enrollment integration
No data collection
PIVOT 1 PIVOT 2
© 2014 OHO Corp.
All Website Content
Used Before Conversion
What Can You Do?
Collect data any way possible. Start using for conversations.
Start analyzing what messages are working.
Work towards closed loop reporting.
Find ways to make reporting real time.
Look at ways to make processes able to be impacted by data.
Show how marketing is a revenue generator not a cost center.
Post Conference To Do
Set up Google Analytics
Set up cross domain tracking to map your website to CRM
Set up conversion goals
Put event tracking on sacred cows.
Make up a model.
Resource Guides Available at Our Table in the Sponsor Room
Personalization Recruitment Content Analytics