Whether your goal is to convert inquiries into enrollments or to help progress students through your program, developing a nurture campaign will help lead them to convert and succeed. While it may not be your only channel for communicating with inquiries and current students, having a well run email nurture series can drastically improve your lead generation efforts, as well as your overall student experience. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to nurturing students on their academic journey, however there are a few key strategies that, when used together effectively, wield impressive results.
Segment Your Student Lifecycle Stages
At each stage in a student's academic career, their needs are vastly different. A new student requires more hand-holding for onboarding while someone who is nearing graduation is closing the gap on final steps and preparing for their next move. Be careful not to fall into the mindset that everyone needs all information all the time; you'll run the risk of creating noise in already jam-packed inboxes and cause students to tune out on your messaging. Delivering the right message at the right stage of the student lifecycle can help cut through the noise. Consider using student behavior as a trigger for campaign deployment. Did they take a final exam or pass a specific course? That may be the moment where a student needs direction on what comes next.
Likewise, make sure that your messages are aligned across all communication channels. Messages that your students receive via email should align with what instructors are saying in the classroom, as well as any additional communications they may be receiving via text message, phone calls, or that is displayed throughout your buildings. Consistency across all channels is key to ensure a seamless student experience.
Understand Student Motivation
Take time to better understand student motivations, decision-making criteria, and goals at varying stages of their lifecycle. Connecting your student-reported needs to your nurture campaigns can be a crucial step in segmenting and building your student journey. Once you understand if your students are motivated by obtaining a job, advancing a career, or any other goal they might have, tailor your messages to your student motivations to improve not only engagement metrics like opens and clicks but conversion metrics like filling out necessary paperwork or applying to opportunities.
There's really no way around it. Testing is a key component of developing or maturing your nurture campaigns. Even the most successful nurture program deserves to be tested regularly - a 1% lift can pay dividends over time. Once you've developed the messaging within your nurture campaign, use your understanding of student need to set an initial cadence. Start with a few simple a/b timing tests and use engagement metrics such as open and click-through rates and ultimately conversions rates to refine and improve your cadence.
Establish a Standard Timing and Stick to it
In today's world, we have all become subconsciously aware of our place within the churning wheel of marketing and promotions. People plan big purchases around major holidays to anticipate better sales, they know when to expect fall coffee flavors and they know when your email messaging falls out of step. Whether your messaging is motivational, intervention-based, or onboarding, or payments, students come to rely on the established cadence. Take advantage of reader's attention during this time to improve conversions. If you're planning a major nurture campaign, culminate your series with more direct language, the largest incentive, and try to hit the high notes of timing.
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