Enrollment Preparedness Checklist: Are You Ready?

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

When disaster hits:  Hurricane Sandy and a tsunami warning in Hawaii.  Cities prepare for disaster by deploying emergency personnel, evacuations, and mobilizing assets.  Staying alert to weather forecasts and alerts and taking a few simple precautions can make all the difference in protecting yourself from a storm.  We can't control the weather, why not focus on what we can control.  Plan a strategy before a crisis happens.  Prepare an enrollment preparedness checklist now-before you need it.  Enrollment Preparedness Checklist:

  1. Metrics:  Use metrics to gauge effectiveness of what you are doing:  build on insights.  Insights such as how long the prospects are on the website, where they  navigate, how they are accessing information, how they want to be contacted, and what they do once they have the information.  Use metrics such as Cost per Acquisition and Conversion to optimally determine the budget mix.  Measure what matters.

  2. Visual:  Think strategically through visual communication.  Don't underestimate the power of images.  A picture paints a thousand words.  According to Dr. James McQuivey, Chief Analyst for Forrester Research "One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words".  Use posted images and video that resonate with the intended audience.  Use these images to help educate your audience about your brand, your mission.

  3. Stakeholders:   Attitudes and behaviors of stakeholders can mean the difference between success or failure of an institutions organizational mandate.  Effective communications with the stakeholders may not be easily or effectively done.  Negotiation and census building will help improve efficiencies, instill a greater sense of ownership and improve accountability.

  4. Plan:  Plan for enrollment success through purposeful action.  Understand what motivates your prospects to pursue a degree with your institution.  According to The Graduate Management Admission Council:  top motivations for pursuing a graduate management education include increased job opportunities, increase salary potential, accelerated career path, and develop leadership skills.  Include these actionable items in your marketing communication plan built around leads to prospects to applicants to enrollments.

  5. Content:  Use effective content that connects prospects to your institution.    Prospects would rather seek out your brand than get bombarded by it. Create content that is valuable, and is organized into digestible, powerful pieces. These pieces should offer something of value: tips, trends, relevant news items, or information that is helpful in their jobs and lives. Use content that entertains, educates, and inspires. Tell compelling stories to ensure that prospects feel engaged. Use stories that are buzz worthy. Consider stories in the form of short video testimonials, newsletters or blogs. If your story is valuable, people will share it with their peers, while helping to build brand awareness for your university. Some call it content marketing. Others call it brand journalism.
Storms shall pass and what remains is up to those that were prepared. Is your institution prepared?   Map out a checklist of items that will allow your institution to be prepared in the event of a crisis.  Stay the course with your checklist when stakeholders have to make tough, fast anxiety-creating decisions during a crisis.