5 Steps for Converting Inquiries to Applicants

Campaigns to convert inquiries to applicants can have dramatic results—but understanding the best outreach tactics makes all the difference. We looked at the marketing plans and conversion rates of our clients over the last year to discover what practices were really working. Here’s what we found:

  1. Print Still Matters… A Lot

    Across the board, students who received both print collateral and email converted at roughly 4x the rate as students who received only email. This held true across institutions and across segments within institutions. If you find print to be too costly, try targeting your likeliest applicants with print-on-demand pieces.

  2. Good Looking Print Matters Even More

    In general, clients using brochures that featured personalized content like a student major, available scholarships, and “to do” checklists along with an application, saw the highest conversion rate. The next highest-performing mail piece was a personalized letter and applications, followed by a personalized postcard.

  3. Keep Parents in the Loop to Drive Conversion

    A number of clients sent emails to parents in tandem with the emails sent to students. Students whose parents received emails, especially around the same time as their child, were significantly more likely to apply, and to apply shortly after their parents received a communication.

  4. The Best When and the Best Who

    Campaigns launched in early November—allowing print collateral to reach targets before Thanksgiving—generated the highest conversion rates. Students who respond well to a campaign have a) already inquired and b) receive a message or incentive unique to them (a location-specific message, information about scholarships, or extra guidance for first generation students, for example).

  5. Targeting Matters

    Students who have not yet officially inquired are generally much less likely to respond to this sort of campaign. However, students who previously received some other messaging were more likely to inquire or apply than those who had not. This is most likely because students who are being asked to do something without previous communication are less invested and possibly more suspicious than students who have heard from you before.