Can You Automate Digital Marketing for Higher Ed?
Want to drive student enrollment at your college or university? Here's why you need to use a marketing automation platform.
Higher education institutions need the ability to execute seamless marketing campaigns that are on-par with the marketing prospective students and their parents see every day. Yet, getting the best bang for your bank relative to return on marketing investment takes an effective lead nurturing strategy.
Now, marketing automation platforms are becoming must-have tools for colleges and universities. These platforms automate your marketing activities so you can streamline ad campaigns, social media posts, and more.
What is a marketing automation platform, and why should you use one?
A marketing automation platform lets you automatically manage marketing processes across multiple channels. These platforms allow you to set up workflows that automatically send targeted messages via text, social media, web, and email. Plus, they empower you to automate online marketing campaigns that simultaneously drive engagement and boost efficiency.
For higher education institutions, marketing automation platforms can be used to build dynamic student recruitment funnels. They are often used in combination with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to personalize these campaigns and drive prospects down the lead funnel to conversions (which would be an application or donation in the case of higher ed).
A CRM platform provides applications to help higher ed institutions design and manage processes and workflows associated with web interactions. For example, if your school sends an email and a recipient clicks the link in your message, your CRM platform can collect this information, use it to track engagement with your school across different platforms, and suggest ways to optimize your marketing efforts.
When schools use marketing automation and CRM platforms in combination with one another, they can automatically trigger marketing events at different stages. For example, if a prospective student requests information about your institution via a website form, your CRM can collect this information and trigger an automatic response email that includes the requested information about your school. This ensures the potential student instantly gets the information he or she wants without having to do additional work on your side.
You can use a CRM and marketing automation platforms to track lead status based on their behaviors. If anyone registers for a webinar, downloads a brochure, or engages in other activities, your CRM will track this information. Meanwhile, your marketing automation platform can trigger various marketing activities, so you can stay connected to anyone who engages with your school.
What marketing automation platforms are available for higher ed institutions?
Some of the most popular marketing automation platforms for higher ed include:
HubSpot provides a platform that encompasses marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM capabilities. Schools can use the HubSpot platform to increase leads, accelerate sales, and improve their customer service.
Marketo helps schools automate and measure marketing engagement, tasks, and workflows. It offers the Marketo Engage platform, which provides marketing automation, email marketing, lead management, and other capabilities.
Pardot is a marketing automation platform powered by Salesforce, the world's leading CRM platform. With Pardot, schools can generate leads, create meaningful connections with web visitors, and deliver personalized content.
ActiveCampaign offers a customer experience (CX) automation platform. Schools can leverage the platform's email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools to optimize candidate web experiences.
Klaviyo helps schools listen, analyze, and act on web data. The Klaviyo platform includes insights into web patterns and trends, so schools can deliver timely, relevant, and accurate messages to their target audiences.
Before you consider a marketing automation platform, you need a plan. If you prepare your internal requirements thoroughly and understand what you need before shipping for platforms, you’ll have the foundation you need to select a marketing automation platform that helps your higher ed institution achieve its specific marketing goals.
3 tips to build a successful marketing automation strategy
There are several things you can do to develop a successful marketing automation strategy, such as:
1. Prioritize quality content
Produce exceptional content, without exception. Your audience demands quality content that shows your school in a positive light. Thus, you need to create outstanding content that fulfills your audience's expectations.
Learn about your target audience and what they want from your content. It can be beneficial to review current traffic across your website, social media platforms, and other channels. You can then use these insights to establish baselines for your content. Then, you can leverage a marketing automation platform to share that content, track its performance, and explore ways to improve it.
2. Use drip campaigns
Establish drip campaigns to nurture leads. A drip campaign involves automatically sending marketing emails based on how someone engages with your school. These campaigns make it simple to provide leads with the information they want, exactly when they request it.
Drip campaigns can be used in a variety of ways. If someone signs up for your school's email newsletter, your marketing automation platform can ensure they receive a thank-you message shortly thereafter. Or, if someone attends a webinar, your marketing automation platform can share a link to the complete recording after the event.
Launch a wide range of drip campaigns, and you may quickly discover they help you get the most value out of your marketing automation platform.
3. Segment your contact lists
Create contact lists based on geographic location, demographics, and other criteria. Consider which factors influence someone's decision to engage with your school and how you communicate with them. This can help you segment your audience appropriately and develop messaging that will uniquely engage each segment.
Review your contact lists regularly and keep them up to date, as well. In doing so, you can verify that the right audience is staying in contact with your school.
Want to automate your digital marketing? Partner with a higher ed digital marketing agency
If you need extra help with your digital marketing initiatives, partner with KWALL. We are a higher ed digital marketing agency that can help you take full advantage of marketing automation, CRM, and other digital platforms. For more information, contact the KWALL team today.