In just one year, Faulkner University saw a 71% increase in applicant and 32% increase of enrolled students. One contributing factor was revamping their Drive to Apply (DTA) strategy. We teamed up with Faulkner to look at what they had done in the past and how to improve the campaign to increase applications.
During the previous enrollment term, inquiries (students who had indicated interest in the school qualified through formfill completion but hadn’t yet applied) received one postcard personalized with their name during the Drive to Apply campaign, mailed in late fall. This postcard featured a direct Call to Action (CTA) to complete application materials and offered a fee waiver for timely application. This campaign (directly and indirectly) produced 1150 qualified applicants for the 2013 enrollment term.
Launching a Coordinated Cross Media Program
In the summer of 2013, Faulkner set a goal for more applicants in 2014, so we sat down and strategized campaign improvements. And so, we executed a cross media admissions marketing program that included:
A Branded Campaign, sent in Fall and Spring All campaign materials – letters, emails, and the application itself – were branded to feature prestigious messaging from the school highlighting application incentives. This campaign was first sent in the fall and then relaunched in spring to draw late “pinch” applicants.
A Variable, Personalized Letter Replacing the postcard with a more formal variable letter allowed for a greater amount of more student-specific information to be highlighted, such as their area of academic interest or an extracurricular activity they planned on joining.
A Pre-populated, Savable Application An improved application system in every regard, the electronic application for 2014 applicants featured pre-populated information automatically carried over from their database record, reducing the amount of time and repetition required to submit the application. Additionally, the application was completely savable, allowing inquiries to save and return to applications at any point.
Regional Incentive Variables Incentives for in-state, out-of-state, and highlight-region inquiries were parsed and presented in prime messaging locations.
Personal Page for Next Steps All the information a student needed to apply was found on their Personal URL page. They had a link to the application, reminders about incentives and deadlines, and checklists to make sure they sent in all the materials needed.
An Email Track A series of personalized emails were sent to inquiries to remind them of their upgraded status and the benefits. These emails were each filled with variables, such as the student’s interests, admissions counselor, and other information they supplied.
Improved Rep Follow-Up On Stalled Applications Utilizing the savable application as a way to discern students who had begun but did not finish their application, admission reps could make informed follow-up calls and emails to these students to provide guidance for completion.
Faulkner’s improved Drive to Apply saw dramatic results with 71% increase in applicant and 32% increase of enrolled students. We are once again executing a similar plan for the 2015 cycle and have applied the same concepts to each of our clients uniquely, so we hope to share more results from our case studies in the future. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of the case study or to discuss these strategies, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.