How to Personalize the Enrollment Funnel (and Maximize Student Recruitment!)
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6 min read
June 20, 2024

How to Personalize the Enrollment Funnel (and Maximize Student Recruitment!)

A college student sits with her laptop.
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In a perfect world, the enrollment funnel for higher education would look like this: a student decides to look for a degree program, goes directly to your campus’s website, submits their contact information, talks to a recruiter or advisor, and enrolls. Easy, right?

Except, that’s often not the case. Prospective students have plenty of options when it comes to advancing their education. And with more and more campuses adding degree and certificate programs, competing with other universities to hit your enrollment numbers can be challenging.

As a recruiter or campus leader, there are ways to increase prospective students’ chances to follow the enrollment pipeline from start to finish. If you’re not sure how to do that, no worries. In this post, we’ll cover five ways to add a personal touch to the enrollment process to keep prospective students interested in attending your campus.

Three Ways to Personalize Your Enrollment Funnel

The fall semester is typically the busiest enrollment period for college campuses. So, the time between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the fall semester is a great time to slow down, review your enrollment funnel, and identify ways to personalize it for better engagement.

However, before you make changes to your enrollment funnel, it’s helpful to know which point of the funnel where students lose interest and ultimately decide to apply for enrollment somewhere else. Do you lose out on prospective students because of untimely responses to their queries? Or is it something else, such as simply not offering students’ desired degree tracks?

While you can’t necessarily add in a new degree program before the start of the fall semester, you can do other things to ensure prospective students choose your campus. Here are three ways to personalize your enrollment funnel.

1 . Personalized Outreach with SMS Marketing

Once you’ve collected prospective students’ contact info, it’s time to ramp up your efforts to ensure they make it through your enrollment process. Text messaging is the quickest and most efficient way to reach your students exactly where they spend most of their time – on their phones.

Considering most people check their smartphones an average of 96 times a day, it makes sense to use SMS messages to ensure your prospective students continue to move through the enrollment funnel. Plus, thinking back to your campus as a business for a second, 79% of marketers say that SMS messages are an effective retention strategy. 

This means you can use text messages as a nudge to remind prospective students to complete their applications or personally invite them to tour your campus. The chances are high that your prospective students will see and respond to your messages. The best part? With Cadence’s new AI Assistant feature, you can generate instant, personalized responses, offer multilingual support, set up automated screening of enrollment queries, and more. If you’re in need of some inspiration on what to text your students, our texting templates for admissions teams are a great place to start. 

Software like Cadence was developed to explicitly help colleges and universities across the country create and send personalized SMS campaigns. Filter or group your prospective students by interests so you can rest assured that you only send them messages they care about or need.

2. Update Your Program Pages (and Include a Chatbot!)

Your campus website is one of the most critical aspects of your enrollment funnel. Most prospective students will likely access your website to browse programs and learn about student life before stepping on your campus.

And prospective students have questions— lots of them. There’s no need to miss out on a student’s inquiry and risk losing the student in your enrollment process. Instead, use tools like Cadence to incorporate a chatbot into your campus website to increase your availability and strengthen the touch points of your enrollment funnel.

Cadence can collect student information, like contact information and interests, and can help answer students’ questions as they come in. AI-enabled chatbots are intuitive, meaning your prospective students receive the best, most accurate, and up-to-date information. Or, if a student has a question that is too difficult for an AI chatbot to answer, an advisor monitoring the live chat can easily step in and provide assistance.

3. Segmented Email Campaigns

Emails are a big part of your recruiting efforts and have become an expected feature of almost every enrollment funnel for colleges and universities. That said, there’s a right and wrong way to build email campaigns that successfully convert prospective and enrolled students. And if you’re not personalizing emails, you’re likely missing out.

Your email campaigns are a marketing tool. So, for a second, let’s think of your campus as a business to truly understand how personalized messaging affects prospective students’ decisions. According to a HubSpot survey, marketers say segmented emails receive 30% more opens and 50% more click-throughs than unsegmented emails.

So, what does this mean for your campus? Understanding where your prospective students’ interests are is your best bet for personalizing and segmenting emails that students will read and engage with. Plus, when you use email marketing in conjunction with SMS marketing and live chat, you’re sure to hit every point of the enrollment process where prospective students might need help or a gentle nudge to move them along the enrollment funnel.

Personalize Your Enrollment Funnel with Cadence

As your campus begins ramping up for the fall enrollment period, personalizing your enrollment funnel is a great way to ensure prospective students become enrolled students. A more personalized approach to recruitment and enrollment can quickly gain your students’ attention (and retention!). 

Don’t forget that you can use software and other tools like Cadence to help you personalize your messaging to prospective students. Together, Cadence’s text, chat, and AI assistant can help you smooth out the bumps in your enrollment funnel that would typically lead to disinterested and disengaged students.

Ready to bring Cadence to your campus to strengthen your enrollment funnel and increase student admissions, engagement, and retention? Contact us today to chat with our team and schedule a demo to learn more.