If someone is thinking about going to college, already attends college, is a college alumnus, or pays for their kids’ college education, they are part of a “Persona”. That’s marketing-speak for, “They belong to a specific group of people.” Persona just sounds much cooler. As you can imagine, each of these groups would use a college website for very different reasons. In reality, these Persona can be refined even more to include things like military veterans enhancing their education, or adult learners looking for a new career. The possibilities for defining these groups are immense.
This blog entry is for college marketing departments, to help you figure out how to add some automation to your website and hopefully make your job easier (or at least different), and get more students to enroll. That will make the president and the deans of your fine institution very happy. Let’s figure out how to do that.
First, I will define marketing automation in very broad terms. Marketing automation uses the power of your website and some basic logic to gain insight into your website visitors and leverage that knowledge to open the lines of communication more effectively. People are wandering around on your website, visiting specific pages, watching videos, downloading files, and soaking in all the wonderful information that you have to offer. But you may not know exactly what they are doing, and you probably don’t know who they are. Well, you’re in luck, because marketing automation can help you discover things about your website visitors, nurture those leads, and turn them into students!
So here are five reasons why you should implement an Online Marketing Automation strategy today!
- You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.
As former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.” That’s pretty deep! But it’s true. If your website could actually tell you who is on your website and what they are doing, that would make all the marketing you do much more effective.
- Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!
If you remember this viral video featuring Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, whether you are escaping from an apartment fire or marketing your college, your time is very limited. Your website could become an amazing tool to help free up your time while doing a better job at remembering to send that email or follow-up with that person who filled out the online form.
- Keep On Wondering.
Indian Yogi and Mystic Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru) said, “The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.” So, use the intelligence of marketing automation to make your campaigns better, instantly. The wonderful thing about using your website for marketing is that you know the statistics. You can see if your campaign is a success or a failure within a day of the launch. Even better, you have analytical data at your fingertips to support your decisions. Take that, billboard advertising.
- You Can Be Smart… AND Wise.
British Journalist Miles Kington said, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” Online marketing automation puts an amazing amount of knowledge at our fingertips, but it also give us the opportunity to be wise about how that knowledge is used. Information gathered on your website can be integrated with other backend databases and 3rd party applications to extract even more data about site visitors. This helps you to make informed decisions about what information to show, to whom, and when it is appropriate. That makes you ‘wiser’ than the average bear.
- Your Messaging can be Amazing, but don’t be “That Guy”
Marketing automation is powerful, magical, and pretty amazing. But make no mistake, for as much as you need it, you must also not let the power go to your head! In other words, when you have the power you must use it wisely. Specifically, don’t use automation to annoy potential students. Use automation features to schedule emails based on the actions of your website visitor, but don’t bombard them with information just because you can. Part of a good strategy is knowing when to quit, or at least pause. So if your emailing schedule is obnoxiously frequent, you may turn a potential student into a ‘hater’. Don’t be that guy.
So, if you are considering the possibility of adding marketing automation into the mix for your college website, you’re on the right track! I hope this gives you a little insight into how a solid online strategy can help you keep your Admissions office busier than ever before. Be prepared to start an inbound campaign of your own...