Mastering the Higher Education Enrollment Funnel (Part 3): Yield Nurturing

There’s absolutely no doubt that every stage of the enrollment marketing funnel is important, and you’ve got to be strategic about how you address each one of those stages. 

(Note: This article is Part 3 of a 3 part series on mastering the higher education enrollment funnel. If you missed Part 1 (Building Awareness of Your Program, or Part 2 (Increasing Engagement) read those first!)

As you know, the student’s journey down the enrollment funnel (and your job as a higher ed enrollment marketer) isn’t over once they’ve been accepted into your program. At this stage–yield nurturing–it’s time to turn your attention to the student’s decision about enrolling in your program or choosing a competing program they’ve also been admitted to. Targeted digital marketing can make a huge impact on how many of your accepted students ultimately end up choosing to move forward in your program, so we’re here with some helpful hints to help you put your best yield nurturing foot forward.

Why Yield Nurturing is Important – Don’t Lose Your Students!

We’ve already talked about developing and promoting your program’s unique story to set it apart from the competition. That competition doesn’t stop once the student is accepted into your program. In fact, it’s imperative to continue telling accepted students all about what is unique about your school and program and encouraging them to picture themselves as students there.

Yield nurturing employs the same tactics as your earlier enrollment funnel stages, but the strategy behind them needs to transform from simply addressing them as leads to addressing them as accepted students. Yield nurturing campaigns should primarily be built around exposing the student to your program’s core brand messaging (including the excellence and outcomes of your program), highlighting its affordability, driving traffic to the accepted student pages on your website, and working to increase attendance at accepted student events. But arguably the most important part of the campaign is ensuring that your yield nurturing efforts focus on building a strong relationship with both the accepted student and their family. 

All of your tactics should make it easy for the student and family to find the answers they’re looking for–whether they’re seeking out additional information about the program, applying for financial aid, or figuring out campus housing–so they can rest assured that they’re making the right decision for themselves.

So, let’s dive in to our recommended tactics and discuss how they can be used for your unique yield nurturing efforts. 

1. Target Them with Digital Advertising

You can use your email list of accepted students in combination with the email match targeting capabilities of platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Google to build audiences of accepted students and their parents. You can also take the accepted student’s physical address and use a third party platform to match those with IP addresses, thus allowing you to target that student’s entire household. This way, you can serve them display and video ads with appropriate messaging about your program, including accepted student events, information about financial aid, or quick access to your accepted student web pages. This will help keep your school and it’s strengths top of mind, and encourage them to make their initial deposit. 

Quick Tip: Since email match rates are not 100% accurate, we recommend using multiple tactics including remarketing targeted at people who have visited the accepted student pages on your website to fill in as many gaps in your audience as possible. 

2. Paint the Picture of What It’s Like to Be a Student at Your Institution on Social Media

Social media is an important catch-all tool for yield nurturing. While your digital advertising and email marketing efforts will most likely be more curated, produced, and branded, your social media is a space where you can get a little more creative. 

According to Social Media Today, social media users crave authenticity in the content they consume. In fact, 86% of surveyed social media users claimed that authenticity is a huge factor in deciding which brands they like and support. So, since social media makes creating impactful content easy and accessible, it’s a great way to reach students using the colorful, genuine content they want to see. Plus, many of the students you’re targeting have grown up with social media as a norm in their daily life from an extremely young age–it’d be a miss not to use this tactic to try to reach them and connect with them.

Some examples of social media content you could deploy include:

  • Lively posts about student life
  • Spotlight videos about fun projects, exhibits, or events on your campus
  • Highlights on student achievements
  • A short virtual campus tour. 

These types of posts will help make your programs more real to accepted students and allow them to think about what life would be like at your school. Plus, social media offers robust targeting capabilities (again using your accepted students email list) so that you can promote pertinent content on popular platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. 

3. Email Them Early and Often!

Finally, email is a classic but still highly effective way to reach and convert your accepted student pool. Like social media, email allows for a wide variety of content that will appeal to potential students and their families, but this content can be longer form and filled with much more information than a typical social media post. Email is also a direct line to the accepted student, giving them an easier way to ask questions, access the important knowledge for new students, and engage with you. However, it’s important to understand what to include in your emails for maximum impact. 

Here are some email tips we recommend:

  • Email nurturing sequences should include a blend of brand reinforcement (e.g. the benefits of choosing your program, the outcomes you’ve seen from your program’s graduates, your affordability, etc.) and personal messaging. 
  • Structure your emails so that it’s easy for students or family members to find out the most relevant information to make the enrollment process seamless. 
  • Promote new and accepted student events, informational workshops, and student testimonials. 
  • Provide tips for accessing financial aid. 
  • And finally, make it easy for the student to get in touch with someone from your admissions office if they have questions that go beyond your website or email content. 

The Takeaways 

It is highly important to continue to promote your school and programs, even after a student has been admitted. Never assume you’ll be their first choice. It’s likely that any of your accepted students have also been admitted to another institution, so make sure that you promote your program’s strengths and benefits, endorse its affordability, provide relevant information for new students, and give them ample opportunities to engage with you. While the tactics you’ll use for yield nurturing are the same as the other stages of the enrollment funnel, the strategy behind them should be focused on building a relationship with the student and their family so that they feel confident that your program is the place they want to build their future and achieve their goals. 

If you want to ensure that your higher ed digital marketing strategy is as effective as possible, check out our Higher Ed Digital Marketing Plan Checklist. 

About VONT Performance Digital Marketing

At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.

We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.

LM Durr
Written By

LM Durr

Inbound Marketing Strategist