1 Higher Education in Further Education Webinar
2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Make an HE Recruitment Calendar 3. Advertise across multiple platforms 4. Understand your digital audience 5. Engage students with Social Content 6. Employ the Net Natives Conversion Funnel 7. Generate a clearer audience with Activengine 9. Conclusion
3 Introduction How to recruit HE students to your FE institution Net Natives have outlined six steps for Further Education colleges looking to increase the number of students taking a Higher Education course in their institution. From social media engagement, to a highly equipped DMP, we present this simple process to secure more HE applications to your college. Net Natives are digital marketing partners for over 200 education institutions. Net Natives Insights division uses the latest in digital data analysis to provide actionable insight to the Higher Education sector. ADVERTISING INSIGHTS & ANALYTICS CREATIVE MARKETING TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANCY CHINA
4 Make a HE Recruitment Calendar Each month, you need to have clear messaging going out, so it is important to be aware of what is likely to be at the forefront of students minds at different times of the year. December and January Make sure you re shouting about the fact you offer HE degrees; It s important to make people aware. A challenge for some colleges is ensuring your audience are aware you offer HE courses at an FE College. February Once UCAS closes you should be receiving applications (this is when your keep warm campaign should begin). An applicant will most likely apply to you at this stage as a backup choice, so it s important to try and stay on their radar. It s also important to nurture each lead individually; make sure you know everything about them and ensure they have all the information they need. For HE, this process starts a lot earlier than colleges, it s important to keep these applicants as warm as possible. April and May People have now formed their decisions; they know where it is they want to go and what they want to study. It s important to be aware that as they are revising and finishing their exams, students may become concerned about achieving their grades. Let them know, during this period, that there are a wide variety of courses available with your FE college. June to September You will receive the bulk of your applications during this period and will know if people are accepting offers, either from achieving their grades or via clearing. Ensure that you re hosting events, having a presence and keeping prospective students highly engaged with your various campaigns. For colleges this is the period where the bulk of applications will come from; especially if students have not achieved their predicted grades. Throughout this entire process you should be generating new enquiries from potential students. A constant trickle of enquiries is how Net Natives have helped colleges recruit more students and grow their offer.
5 Advertise across Multiple Platforms It is vital to understand the key channels you can promote your college on. Be aware, students will view multiple campaigns on multiple platforms. Not all of these will be relevant to you, but ideally you will want to have a presence on as many platforms as possible. Paid Audio It will be interesting to see how this will grow and develop as an integral way to raise awareness. For example, Spotify have announced that they will serve ads to PS4 users; whose 10 million users are predominantly young people. The current issue is how to track the success. Paid Social Get a message out to an audience who may not know you exist. Ensure your content is relevant (via split testing) and targeted correctly, you can engage with relevant users with the key questions they are considering. Ideally, you want to bring your user to the relevant landing page to prevent an abnormally high bounce rate. Paid Video If you have quality video content, and the ability to create quality video content, then ensure you present it to relevant users via paid opportunities such as advertising on YouTube videos. It s ideal for brand awareness and brand association. Paid Search Having a paid search aspect to your campaigns is vital. Potential students will scour the internet to find the institution and the course which is right for them. Google will often be their first port of call when searching for information. They already know what they want so it s important that all relevant search results direct people to your website. Once here it should be easy for them to leave their details and find all relevant information they need. This platform typically results in a higher number of direct conversions and therefore provides the best return on investment. HOW WE ADVERTISE COUNTRY SPECIFIC REGION SPECIFIC DIGITAL RADIO COUNTRY SPECIFIC PAID AUDIO DIGITAL MEDIA BUYING & PLANNING PAID VIDEO PROGRAMMATIC DISPLAY MOBILE VIDEO MEDIA STRATEGY & EXECUTION OFFLINE PRINT OUTDOOR TV RADIO COUNTRY SPECIFIC GOOGLE DISPLAY NETWORK PAID SOCIAL COUNTRY SPECIFIC PAID SEARCH
6 Understanding your Digital Audience Google Trends Google trends data indicates more people are consistently searching for access to higher education, compared to foundation degrees and higher education courses. Foundation and HE courses Wonly begin to grow in volume towards the end of clearing. You can use this insight within your campaigns. Search volumes for access to higher education is a constant, continuous search term so campaigns tailored towards this will lead to more applications. Monthly Topic Mentions Topic Mentions fluctuate more than Google Trends data. People are more active when searching for foundation degrees in August, compared to the beginning of the year. This is because of the results and clearing process, when prospective students are looking to secure a place on a course before the start of the new academic year. The above graph mirrors the HE recruitment calendar, which is when people will be receptive to HE and FE courses via social media. Balance the active users, who are searching for access to higher education courses, with those who are slightly more passive and searching for foundation courses.
7 Understanding your Digital Audience Search Tends The below graphs demonstrate the volume of searches taking place across the year. Over 25% of all searches are asking what a Foundation Degree actually is. It is your job to make sure you are telling people the answer to this. Ensure you are creating content (ideally with a call to action) to give people the answer to what it is they are looking for. In total, 51% of searches are course specific, Raise awareness that your college can offer that specific degree for the student. If that student already knows what they want to study, make sure they find you and not a competitor. 30% of people are searching for Access Courses in general. People are not aware of the options available when searching for the Access Course which is right for them. 64% of people viewed information on Access Courses from a computer, compared to any other device. That potentially implies that we are looking at an older audience as we find that younger people are highly active on mobile devices, compared to an older audience; who are sitting down on desktop computers. Make sure to measure the age of those signing up to an Access Course and see if the average age is slightly older.
8 Understanding your Digital Audience This is the direct competition with universities, which will make it slightly harder to compete for FE colleges. People are still searching for college courses in relation to HE courses (attending a college to study a higher education course). Most colleges offer courses in the most searched for fields (Teaching, Midwifery etc;) so if people are interested in the subjects you offer, it s vital to ensure you re showing up for these results. People are searching broadly for University Courses. Again, it s important to be using these different platforms to engage with active users, as well as those who are unsure and unaware of their options. Get the right message to relevant people: Did you know you can study on at your college? Are you aware you can study a HE course here at College? Student interaction Students are vocal about their good experiences the first place they will visit online will be forum websites. Universities will have experts monitoring these kinds of platforms to build engagement further; colleges should be doing the same.
9 Understanding your Digital Audience Students are also vocal about their bad experiences. Overall, there appears to be less negative comments compared to positive comments, which is a good indicator about the quality of provision.
10 Engage Students with Social Content Social media is instant and effective way to engage with students. It s heavily image based and crucial that it s used at events. It does not always need to be serious, but it needs to be engaging. Instagram The below content is from a FE Instagram account. The pictures are engaging and the quality is satisfactory. Calls to action are strong, but Instagram isn t the best platform for this, as users do not have the ability to click on a link.. Will this content really make a potential student stop and take notice during Clearing? Contrast this with the university Instagram accounts below and you can see the much higher quality of content. They use unique hashtags which are relevant but not generic, and they show off the campus and its city, which makes people imagine studying there. There s no reason an FE College can t have the same type of content.
11 Engage Students with Social Content Twitter Although these are the top performing FE Twitter accounts; we could still classify this as poor engagement. No image, poor call to action and the trending hashtag was not being used on the day. #ALevelResults not #Clearing2015 was the most popular hashtag from the day in August this year. Ensure you are also reactive with your campaigns. The use of images from these HE accounts automatically improves posts. Good use of hashtags and making the most of someone visiting the institution is always going to spark excitement on social media. Colleges may not be able to attract big names, but it s about taking the most interesting parts of your college and getting it out there.
12 Engage Students with Social Content Facebook There are some good calls to action in these FE Facebook examples above, but in both examples they are trying to shoehorn a whole offer into a single posts. Rather, it should be segmented and then specifically targeted at relevant people. Images should also be relevant, e.g. creative arts courses shouldn t have a picture of a scientist. The key element regarding Facebook is high quality images. It needs to be something people want to look at and will enjoy looking at. Keep text to a minimum and do not try to squeeze too much into a single post.
13 Employ the Net Natives Conversion Funnel AWARENESS PROSPECTING RETARGETING SEARCH CONVERSION The next part of the battle, after launching your campaigns (across various platforms), is to make sure people apply or enquire (UCAS prevents us tracking direct applications). There is no point in bringing prospective students to your site if they don t continue their journey. It s when they come onto your website, that you can begin gathering data. Throughout the entire process, Net Natives likes to see where the enquiries are coming from and which campaigns have been the most effective. To do this we install different tracking methods.
14 Employ the Net Natives Conversion Funnel Tracking examples UTM Tracking UTM tracking enables us to track the campaign and keyword source from the leads generated via Big Top. This works well if you have multiple Facebook ads or display campaigns because you can then filter down to see which one converted at the highest rate. With FE colleges, it is likely that your budget might be lower than an HE institution; tracking allows you to see instantly what is working so that you can reallocate your budget accordingly. Goal tracking This will allow the advertising team to track and then report the outcome on the campaign. This is done via web clicks, downloads, enquiries and applications through analytics we can place goals on the website, for example someone clicking onto the UCAS application. Did someone click, did someone order a prospectus, and did someone register on your website? This gives a more sophisticated way of finding out what people are doing on your website and where they came from doing it. Also, you re able to see where users are dropping off eg. starting an enquiry form but not finishing, which can help glean insights into your enquiry process. Call tracking During clearing, universities bring in whole teams to handle the large volume of calls. Having a contact team can be helpful in proactively calling potential students and dealing with phone calls. Universities have the ability to see where calls originate from, the duration, and the number of missed calls. This is a great way to tie in your offline or outdoor advertising to see it is effective in generating responses.
15 Employ the Net Natives Conversion Funnel The Enquiry Management Funnel The Enquiry Management Funnel is a vital asset once the campaign has ended. By working backwards you can identify your conversion rates, with specific focus on the conversion enquires. It is this section which can show you how successful your campaign was and any adjustments you can make for the future. You can also attribute how many clicks you want to form an enquiry, depending on the campaign. Set these goals in place before a campaign, so you can grasp a solid understanding on how well the campaign is doing. This will differ on platforms, so Google Search will generate more enquiries from a smaller amount of clicks, compared to Facebook. Example 1000 clicks on Facebook = 10 enquires clicks on Google Search = 20 enquires.
16 Employ the Net Natives Conversion Funnel Big Top This is a free tool, from Net Natives, for universities and colleges to use, which is ideal to help generate these initial enquires. Forms are easy to create using Big Top, which can be embedded onto your site, and then sent through to the admin section of the tool. There is tracking built into it, so you are able to place pixels to record data. Depending on the CMS system College websites can sometimes be difficult from the back end to navigate, so using Big Top is a stop gap to address tracking. So, if there is no way that you can register enquires from digital campaigns then that is something you can register automatically with this tool.
17 Generate a clearer audience with Activengine Activengine allows you to collect clear data from your audience, by placing code on your website; this code takes information on your viewing audience. Some of Net Natives most effective campaigns have been remarketing ones, so targeting people based on their IP addresses, who have previously re-visited the college website The tag we insert on your page can provide you with substantial amounts of data. This way you can create your own specific audience rather than relying on another publisher or platform s audience. Activengine works as a DMP (Data Management Platform), analysing your data and segmenting it into audience groups based on age, location, interests, digital behaviours and so on. This allows you to target prospects with a personalised message, depending on where they are in the student conversion journey. This will help you create a tighter audience, which is much more relevant to your marketing strategy.
18 Conclusion Plan You need to have a clear plan running into August. Start early and keep engaging with applicants and leads. Universities will be and you will have a better chance converting students this way. Use Data Have a DMP on your website to create highly relevant audiences. Not all universities will have this on their website but it s something we can offer you for free. It keeps your audiences relevant so you can target them more effectively. Track Have clear and effective tracking implemented across your website to help capture all relevant enquiries or applications allowing you to see what works. Capture Data Lead management and data capturing will help increase the number of students you enrol. Having better data capture and a closer relationship with admissions and HE teams will improve conversion rates. Report Back Once Clearing is over find out what worked, what failed and begin to plan again- this is a way you can aim to improve your offer and ensure you don t make the same mistakes twice.
19 About Net Natives Why Net Natives? Since 2008 Net Natives have worked with over 200 education institutions where they ve seen an average enrolment increase of 14% year on year across their client base. Net Natives Advertising A Google Certified and Trusted Partner and the first Facebook Business Partner agency outside the US, our online advertising and social media marketing campaigns have recruited students from over 150 countries. We are NOT traditional media buyers; instead we pioneer an agile marketing method for real-time, responsive advertising and combine it with an empirical approach to media buying. We use programmatic advertising software and Big Data, that turns our clients websites into a remarketing engine. Net Natives Insights Our teams of analysts and consultants provide expert qualitative and quantitative research reports and insights for MBA Providers. We deliver essential in-depth country reports, social media, digital and competitor audits. CONTACT US