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It takes a lot to successfully manage an educational institution. From an administrative standpoint, how do you enroll the best possible students, secure a steady stream of donations from alumni, and empower students and faculty with the resources they need? If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, it may be time to consider upgradig to a more complete CRM.
Recruiting and Enrollment: How to Create an Institutional Identity to Draw the Best Students
Try to remember what it was like to be a prospective collegiate, eager to embark on the next step in your academic journey. Can you remember the excitement of campus tours, the struggle of writing essays for a dozen different applications, and the anxious anticipation of acceptance letters? What attracted you to the schools you applied to? Was it the allure of campus life, or maybe a special program they offered? Were you impressed by their celebrated alumni network, or was affordability your main concern?
There are thousands of higher education institutions in the US alone. Each year millions of students across the country apply for the opportunity to enroll at one of their top choices. These days it’s recommended that each student apply to 8-12 schools. This may seem like a lot, but with so many options to choose from, selecting just a handful of schools to apply to could very well be the most important life decision an applicant has made up to that point.
So how do you engage the ideal applicant for your institution?
Use marketing automation to convey your institutional strength.
Every school is also a brand. Anyone who's attended a college sporting event understands the sense of tribalism felt by individuals who associate themselves with a school, whether or not they even attended. Think about a time you had to endure a 40 something alum talk about the strength of his alma mater’s professional network. Twenty years later he's still a die hard advocate for his college.
Your brand encompasses your school’s mission, your institutional history, and the level of engagement within your community. Color palettes, logos, mascots, and slogans lend recognizability and consistency to your marketing materials, thereby adding a friendly face to the purpose of your institution.
Tie this all together, add a little automation, and you’ve got yourself a successful, self functioning digital campaign. Boost annual applications and enrollment rates by using these three types of automation to highlight your institutional strengths!
An oldie but goodie, drip campaigns are perhaps the simplest form of marketing automation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. On the contrary, drip campaigns are the bread and butter of any successful email marketing campaign. After you’ve composed your assets using an email editor, assemble them in a strategic series of messages that nurture vital relationships, turning leads into conversions.
In an integrated CRM, drip campaigns can be set to trigger in a number of different ways, whether that be through a workflow or by adding a contact to a specific group. However you decide to set up your drip campaigns, each should have a focus, whether that be promoting specific programs, generating awareness for an upcoming event, onboarding new students, or engaging your alumni network.
Conceptually, workflows are kind of like drip campaigns, except instead of triggering a series of emails, workflows are expanded to include a whole host of different CRM activities. Workflow activities are attached to a specific contact and can be automatically assigned to one of your shared access users.
Ex. A potential student requests to receive more information about your business program by filling out a form on your website. This activates a workflow which initiates a series of activities that can include actions like a personal email from an admissions counselor, an informational meeting, and a call with an alumni.
Each workflow can be set to send an alert message to someone on your team, in addition to the notifications they’ll receive when new CRM activities are assigned to them.
They can also be used to modify a contact’s record. To use our previous example, you could use the workflow to add that contact to your ‘Prospective Business Students’ group, and change the value of their ‘prospective program’ data field from ‘undecided’ to ‘business’. Groups and data fields are convenient ways to segment your contact lists and customize the information contacts receive.
Workflows can be set to trigger a hundred different ways, and can themselves trigger other forms of marketing automation, like journeys and drip campaigns.
GreenRope’s Journeys feature allows you to map the unique journey a student takes as they move from prospect to applicant, student, graduate, and active alumni. Journeys incorporate true/ false logic that can alter a contact’s course based on their specific actions. Whether or not a prospective applicant opened an introductory email could determine whether they’re sent further details for applying, or a series of messages stressing the strengths of your institution, to help nurture them back into the fold. There’s no sense in over-selling to someone who's eager to start their application, the same way that there’s no point in sending an application to someone who’s not ready. Luckily you don’t have to do either! Journeys give you the ability to adapt your messaging to the demands of any situation, without additional labor.
Widen your audience.
Successful CRM allows for segmentation! Expand your audience to include parents, faculty, and alumni too. Use groups and data fields to differentiate the messaging each demographic receives. The key selling points for students may be different than for their parents. The way you choose to engage alumni will be something else altogether. So why should these groups all be receiving the same emails?! They don’t have to!
Complete CRM is more than just a subscription. Investing in Complete CRM means expanding your approach to data management and marketing automation, to effectively customize your brand’s marketing approach to meet the specific needs of each prospect. There’s no longer anything to be gained from a one size fits all approach. Consumers today simply expect more from brands.
Improving Communication: Leveraging CRM to Break Down Communication Barriers
Marketing automation isn't just for lead nurturing. Leverage the power of Complete CRM to streamline internal communications and increase operational efficiency.
Keep Your People Up to Date
Adult life and self-sufficiency have a steep learning curve. Freshman year is a fun and exciting time, but it can also be confusing and chaotic. For perhaps the first time in their lives, students are expected to manage the conflicting demands of adult life. Having to track exam scores, scholarship applications, the payment of loans, and keep up to date with school events can be exhausting and disrupt academic focus. Do your part to enable student success by simplifying these processes with CRM!
CRM is about relationship building! Use marketing automation to quickly deliver relevant information, without any additional labor after set up. The same ways you leverage automation to collect leads and generate awareness can be used to empower student success with timely updates and streamlined internal processes. Students can submit different information to different ends via surveys, signup forms, ticketing, and portals. You can attach automation to these processes to keep them up to date without all that unnecessary secretarial work.
Example: A student signs up to be considered as an applicant for a certain scholarship. They fill out all relevant info for consideration and upload their application via a signup form. Hitting submit automatically adds them to the ‘2020 Helgeson Marketing Scholarship Applicants’ group, sends them an email confirming that their application has been successfully uploaded, and activates an associated journey. The journey can then be used to automatically deliver them the status of their application after a predetermined delay. Based on the value of a custom user field like ‘application status’ the journey will send rejection emails to students for whom the value of this field has been defined as ‘denied’ and approval emails for students who were marked as ‘approved’.
Use GreenRope’s ‘Custom Objects’ to embed key information in a contact’s record in a one to many relationship. Unlike data fields where only a single value is associated with each field, custom objects allow for multiple attributes. Custom objects also allow you to associate uploaded files to a contact’s record. This way a student’s application, housing contract, tuition payments, disciplinary write ups, and exam scores can all be made accessible from one location.
Leveraging your booking calendar as a student resource
GreenRope’s booking calendar is every advisor’s favorite feature. We make it easy to schedule and manage appointments. Simply add available time slots to your calendar and save, then embed the link somewhere on your website. This way students can select a time that’s most convenient for them on their own initiative, without the need of a receptionist to make appointments. Because our calendar is easily editable, you can block off times that don’t work for you as soon as something pops up.
Superior Event Management with GreenRope CRM
Campus events are at the center of your institutional identity. Orientation, graduation, championship games, theatrical performances, and networking opportunities are some of the most pivotal milestones in the student journey. They’re an amazing opportunity to display institutional strength, rally your network, promote new programs, and garner good press. They’re also huge risks. Mismanagement can cripple your brand identity, leading to a loss in revenue from enrollment, ticket sales, and partnerships.
The good news is that you can easily improve your online event management with superior CRM. GreenRope’s Events feature makes it easy to schedule, manage, share, and track all of your events.
Customizability caters every event type
Will the event you’re hosting offer public or private registration? Will there be a cap for how many participants can attend? Will you include discounts for specific groups? Will different catering and seating options require additional registration options?
GreenRope has factored all of these possibilities into consideration. Our Events tool includes a number of custom options that allow you to account for the unique demands of any school event.
Track attendance from the comfort of your CRM
You already track email marketing, website visits, and sales from GreenRope. It makes sense that you should be able to track registration and attendance from here too.
The best part about having all of this tracking in one place, besides convenience, is you gain a more detailed view of your contacts. Emails, workflows, store purchases, event attendance, and website visits will appear within a contact’s record. All of these activities can trigger further automation, alter a contact’s record, and adjust their lead scoring accordingly.
But WAIT there’s more…
Did you think I was done emphasizing the need for a fully integrated CRM? Not by a long shot! If you have your event management software in one place, and your digital marketing apparatus in another (possibly several other places), don’t you think this disjointed software could make promoting your event more difficult than necessary?...
Bonus points for everyone who guessed yes, you’ve been paying attention. You already have your promotional materials (workflows, emails, journeys) built out in your account. So why not attach them directly to the event you just created? With GreenRope you can! Using easy to navigate drop down menus, you can set different forms of marketing automation to activate for registered attendees. From this same area you can also attach surveys and add contacts to new groups.
Automate & Optimize: Helpful Tools for Managing Internal Processes
Not every aspect of managing a university involves the student experience. CRM can be used to foster collaboration and streamline communication among internal departments as well!
Workflows are a great method for managing objectives which require the effort of multiple teams. They effectively balance your workload by breaking down monumental tasks into smaller objectives that can be assigned to the most qualified people for each.
Workflows can be set up so that a particular activity is assigned to the same person each time it’s triggered, or, using the email listed in a certain data field, assigned to someone occupying a certain role, like a student’s counselor. Each activity can be set to send out alerts and reminders, so everyone is accountable for what’s assigned to them. A list of all activities due will be conveniently displayed in a user’s dashboard, upon logging into GreenRope. This way you can avoid messy transitions as work is passed from one department to another, and you don’t have to worry about multiple people accidentally working on the same thing.
It can be hard for team members to keep track of everything happening in your organization, especially if they’re accustomed to attending a lot of irregular meetings.
Use a shared calendar to keep your team up to date with important events like meetings, training, workshops, and reviews. GreenRope’s calendar makes monitoring attendance, sending reminders, and sharing critical information accessible from a single location!
If you need to schedule one on one meetings, we make that easy too! Creating a booking calendar so that your team can choose between available time slots for annual reviews, individual training, or disciplinary hearings.
Use our project manager to track progress on all projects, assign tasks to team members, keep track of billable hours, and more! GreenRope’s project manager is a powerful tool to help keep teams up-to-date, accountable, and engaged with what is going on within their organization. Use our drag-and-drop Kanban board to move long term projects into different stages. Our reporting helps managers view open tasks, completed tasks, total hours, and much more.
GreenRope’s Collaborate app is a live chat forum that allows users to quickly ask their team questions and engage with each other on a regular basis. Being able to chat in real time is not only good for getting things done, but also good for building team relationships.
Now is a great opportunity to reevaluate the dynamics of your institution. Emerge from your COVID cocoon as a digitally transformed butterfly!
Having the right software in place stretches resources farther by reducing costs, amplifying reach, and increasing productivity. Whether it’s your students or your staff, your people deserve the best. Deliver a unique and painless scholastic experience by opting for a more complete CRM!
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