How to optimize your acquisition strategy for long-term growth

Kathy Nothnagel

September 15, 2021

    How to optimize your acquisition strategy for long-term growth 

    It’s no secret your school competes against other prestigious schools in your region for new student applicants. Over the last year, applicant numbers increased, yet enrollment yields declined.  

    There will always be ebbs and flows. What can you do, despite them, to have sustained growth for your school? 

    Focus prospecting efforts in the right places 

    To best focus your efforts and plan for your upcoming admission season, you have to, of course, prepare your goals and benchmarks.  

    Take a look at your data from the past few years. Of course, data is not enough. You have to analyze it to get the insights that better inform your strategy. Or, you can use software that compiles that information for you. The right tool will pull out those trends and commonalities to help you find your enrollment sweet spots.  

    And hopefully, you use a system that allows you to see regional data, to ensure that your goals are both realistic and competitive. If you have the opportunity to do so, look at your application and testing information by zip code and feeder school, to make sure you’re facilitating a diverse applicant pool.  

    Leveraging data allows you to capitalize on markets where your school shines, thus growing enrollment and financial numbers. 

    Stand out to attract new families  

    Nearly nine out of ten people do research and read reviews before making a purchase. The same is happening in your region, and prospective families are comparing their options, too.  Make sure your website and social media are up-to-date and modernized.  Most people do their own research before schools even know they’re interested.  Make that first impression count! 

    Your school may be tied to a region in your application system, allowing families who applied to one school to explore others in the system. Stand out with content these families gravitate toward, like videos and student testimonials.  

    Target your marketing to shine with your prospective families 

    Overwhelmingly people interact more with personalized content, and in fact, nearly three out of every four people are actively frustrated when they get marketing that isn’t personalized. 1   

    There are data-driven ways and automated workflows that can help you stand out and save you time! 

    Consider geo-targeting your prospective applicant families. Sharing the number of students from their school, zip code, or neighborhood can help people feel a sense of community with your school before they even walk through your doors. 

    As you strive to enrich your student body, share how wonderfully diverse you are and why that is such a benefit at your school. Share statistics, goals, and information on specific programs that support and show the priority your school has made to student body diversity 

    Based on the emails and events prospective families have interacted with, you likely have a sense of their hobbies, interests, clubs and sports preferences. Tag their profiles, and then share relevant information with them. Doing so makes people feel like you’ve been actively listening and are interested in them as individuals. These are just two of the school-student relationship tenets your school should absolutely desire to have.  

    Track engagement and conversions throughout your funnel  

    As we said before, data on its own is not enough. But with the right insights and analytics, you can track engagement in real-time and adjust your acquisition strategy as needed.  

    Take a close look at email engagements – opens, clicks, and unsubscribes. Evaluate your events based on registrations and attendee rates. And, if your prospective families have been navigating your region within your application system, see where they are spending their time. 

    Of course, check on where your early applicants are coming from, to better focus your future marketing efforts.  

    Your admission and enrollment management system should make all of this easy for you and your team. For more tips on optimizing your acquisition strategy, check out this webinar on-demand. To learn more about how leveraging Ravenna can work for your school, request a demo today 

    1. “68 Personalization Statistics Every Digital Advertiser Must Keep in Mind” by Ted Vrountas 

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