With claims of “connecting with purpose”  and “building stronger relationships”, what higher education enrollment manager or marketer wouldn’t be interested in software magic to grow, shape, or retain students.

History and experience tell a different story for constituent, customer, student, social … or whatever label vendors add in front of relationship management software. Strategy, people, processes, and technology issues tend to derail projects before the first vendor training.

Next Tuesday, August 20, I will be presenting a webinar for UPCEA on Defining Your CRM Game Plan. I will discuss recent research we conducted and share ideas for a path forward. This presentation is relevant for those who have already invested in CRM and for those considering a project.

The webinar is free to UPCEA members.


Whether you have implemented, or you are considering investing in, “CRM”, learn actionable strategies

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Posted by John Copeland on August 16th, 2013

Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) – a Marietta, Ga.-based university focused on providing its students with degrees across a number of sciences and technologies – announced it will offer two new degrees this fall, both focused on the environment. On May 14, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave SPSU the go-ahead to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering Technology (EnvET) degree and the only Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (ENVS) degree in metropolitan Atlanta.

“Environmental criteria are important aspects of all civil engineering activity in the present and foreseeable future,” said Prof. Tim Zeigler, chair of Civil Engineering Technology. “As industry expands, the need for graduates with a background in the area of environmental engineering technology will expand. Currently, students who want focused training in the field of environmental engineering technology must go outside of Georgia for that training.”


Posted in Enrollment marketing strategy | 0 Comments
Posted by John Copeland on June 14th, 2013

conversation plan for enrollment recruitment

Webster’s dictionary defines the word flow as “to issue or move in a stream.”

Over the last 30 years, the go-to action recommended by enrollment management consultants is the prospective student communication flow. This recommendation typically follows a static template of what I call “letter, letter, email.” In other words, the student inquires, they receive a viewbook and then a rote application of messages including a campus visit invitation, the so-called academic quality message, the financial aid message, and then various and continuous pleas to apply and visit.


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Posted by John Copeland on April 23rd, 2013

Here’s what we were talking about this week:

September 24 – Access to online education brings opportunities to students who would forgo education.

September 27 – The improvement on adult student success depends largely on university accountability.

Posted in Enrollment marketing strategy | 0 Comments
Posted by demandengine on September 28th, 2012

I saw the following headline through Twitter this morning …

Digitally Savvy Students Play Hide-and-Seek With Campus Messages
While e-mail remains the official method of communication on most campuses, colleges are expanding their presence in the virtual world, trying to reach students where they hang out.

My question is why are students hiding out in the first place? And why do we have to keep chasing students into an increasing set of digital channels?

Maybe it is related to what colleges and universities are communicating.

In our recent report, Best (And Worst) Recruitment Communication Practices 2012, we outline over 1200 email and direct mail messages we received over a three-month period. In all, 40 of these messages – yes, 40 out of 1,200 – spoke to information we provided in the inquiry process.

Here’s an idea – let’s stop chasing students into new digital channels by volume, and instead ACTUALLY use technology to become more targeted, personal, and relevant.



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Posted by John Copeland on September 17th, 2012

Around the country, college students are beginning a new school year in the midst of rising tuition and living expenses. While college financial aid offices have traditionally counseled students on aid options and processed paperwork, the University of Missouri recognizes the need for a new financial aid skill set – personal financial planning for college students.

Ryan Law, director of the University of Missouri’s Office for Financial Success (OFS) and the MU Council on Economic Education, says college students’ need for solid financial planning is at an all-time high.

“Many college students are on their own for the first time and, for many of them, that includes being on their own financially,” Law said. “They are expected to earn money and manage their own finances along with their busy college schedules and social lives. College financial plans don’t have to be complicated, but they are necessary. Taking a few simple steps now to manage personal finances will lead to much more positive outcomes down the road.”

Personal Financial Planning Tips

Law and MU Extension specialists offer the following financial tips for college students beginning the new school year:

  • Buy used textbooks or e-books when possible and compare textbook prices online.
  • Don’t be tricked by credit card offers that come with a bag of candy, free shirt or free pizza.
  • Before signing a lease, be sure you understand the entire contract.
  • Educate yourself about student loans – know what types of loans you have, how much you owe, your interest rate, and what your monthly payment is will be. For information on your federal loans, visit:  http://www.nslds.ed.gov
  • Before turning to private loans to help pay for your education, visit your financial aid adviser to be sure you have exhausted all federal loan opportunities.
  • Stay away from payday loans.  They carry very high interest rates and can trap you in debt for years.
  • Shop around for a bank account.  Different banks and credit unions offer a wide variety of products – from free checking to low rates on loans. You also want to consider convenience – it is helpful if there is an ATM or branch on campus or close to where you live.
  • Every time you are about to spend money, ask yourself if it would be better spent on something else or saved for a rainy day.
  • Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet, and don’t give your Social Security number to people that don’t need it. The only thing thieves need to steal your identity is your Social Security number.
  • Watch your eating out, entertainment and clothes spending carefully.
  • Track spending to help avoid buying more than you can afford.
  • Time is your best friend when it comes to saving for retirement – start saving now if you have a job and can invest a little for retirement.

Student Volunteers Assist in the Effort

The OFS is staffed with student volunteers who are studying personal financial planning at MU and provides free financial counseling for all MU students. The knowledgeable student advisers provide student loan advice, credit card debt counseling, and other important financial services. In addition to providing free financial services for MU students, the OFS provides discounted financial counseling for the community.

For more information about the OFS, visit: http://pfp.missouri.edu/financial/index.html.

Posted in Enrollment marketing strategy | 0 Comments
Posted by John Copeland on September 5th, 2012

Here’s a compilation of this week’s tweets:

August 7 – Colleges and universities are using CRM at an increasing rate.

Posted in Enrollment marketing strategy | 0 Comments
Posted by demandengine on August 10th, 2012

While digital communication is at the center of many recruitment planning discussions, the focus should be on student preferences and actual online participation behaviors. When considering eight potential interactive marketing channels, high school students overwhelmingly prefer direct mail, email, and search engines as sources of information.

In a survey of more than 1,000 high school students nationwide, DemandEngine found that 73 percent of respondents use text messaging, while 66 percent check email, daily. In contrast, 61 percent rarely or never read blogs, while another 40 percent report the same inactivity with chat or instant messaging. Despite regular use of social media — 62 percent are on social networking sites at least daily — students are largely unreceptive to informational contact through this medium, with only nine percent stating they definitely would use the sites this way. We also found what behaviors students engage in most often online and what devices they use to get there.

In our newest research report, The Interactive Marketing Profile Of  High School Students — 2012, our findings include:

  • Inquirers prefer direct mail, email, and search engines as information channels
  • Communication preferences increase as the relationship grows
  • Students prefer channels they can control
  • While students associate with college Facebook groups or pages, most activity is spectator-based
  • Other online behaviors do not measure up to the hype
  • Laptops and desktops still matter

College and university admission professionals seeking to earn the ‘strategic’ in the strategic enrollment management moniker should take a more calculated to their recruitment marketing efforts by:

Understanding the online participation profile and preferences of their students

By viewing high school students through a different lens — their behavior and preferences —making marketing and technology investments becomes evidence-based, rather than opinion-, or worse yet, hype-based.

Matching interactive marketing channels to support the student decision cycle

Search engine marketing works best to identify students who are actively looking for educational opportunities, while social media, texting, and phone calls are better suited to applicants — when a more definitive relationship exists. Direct mail search is still a winner to engage standardized test takers early in their decision process.

Developing a content plan

A content plan moves recruitment communications from the typical stream of visit, apply, or deposit messages to a dialogue that helps students evaluate their options and make decisions.

Open interactive channels when they can be scaled

Discuss the internal implications of each channel initiative to ensure your team, department, and institution can deliver a positive student experience.

Build a foundation first

Consider your own internal production process for a print publication versus creating and sending a promotional email. In most cases, an admission professional would never dream of printing or mailing a brochure using the same approaches that many use for email today.

The report is currently available for download.


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Posted by John Copeland on July 24th, 2012

Rarely does a week go by where I’m not asked by a client or conference session participant about e-marketing best practices. Usually the question goes something like this: “I’m trying to increase the engagement we’re seeing in our email campaigns. Are there new design or copy best practices I should be following to increase the amount of recipients opening and interacting with my messages?”

And here’s my response: The real opportunity, and the one that I see most enrollment marketers missing out on, is behavior-triggered email campaigns.

Since we wrote Death by a Thousand Cuts – The Email Marketing Practices of Undergraduate Admission Offices in 2008, most colleges and universities are at minimum are complying with CAN-SPAM requirements. Using behavior to drive campaign responses? Not so much.

Here’s the scenario I painted for client who asked me this question recently:

Let’s say a prospective student inquires about your project management certificate program. As any good web form should, the inquiry form has a relevant, well-written email that is automatically sent to the prospective student the moment they complete the inquiry form.

Now, if this student clicks on this first message about your certificate in project management, they will then automatically receive another email with more industry information, articles, and statistics four days later. Then, a week later, they’ll get another message with resources for professionals working in project management.

If they do NOT click on that first message, about a week later they are going to receive an email from your institution that provides an overview of the range of professional certificates that you offer.

Upon receiving this message, let’s say that our prospective student sees another certificate program that she believes may be more along the lines of what she’s looking for and decides to click on that information and explore it further. That action, clicking on a link to information on your Six Sigma program, perhaps, triggers 2 additional emails over the next two weeks with information about the program and a profile of an employer who has enrolled multiple employees in the certificate and speaks to how impactful it was to their organization.

Our sample prospective students in this case have now received a series of messages totally tailored to their behavior and implied, actual interest. And, here’s the best part. If the marketing team plans and creates all of these messages in advance, today’s technology allows you to set up workflows and these triggered messages all go out on their own.

See below for an example of what the communication flow and execution would look like in DemandMarketer, our cross-channel campaign management software:

Looking to improve engagement rates? Develop custom, behavior-triggered scenarios for message recipients. Students will receive timely, relevant information and you’ll achieve your goal of greater engagement with your email campaigns.

Posted in Email Marketing | 0 Comments
Posted by demandengine on June 7th, 2012

Here’s what we were talking about this week:

May 15 – General Motors to stop using Facebook ads after finding little effect on sales.

Posted in Enrollment marketing strategy | 0 Comments
Posted by demandengine on May 18th, 2012