Five Ways Marketing Automation Can Enhance Your Student Recruitment

AvatarAlba Clerigues
Marketing Automation Consultant


Further and higher education institutions have always competed fiercely for prospective students. Nowadays, however, student recruitment isn’t limited to campus open days or snail mail brochures. The competition arena has expanded to include emails, websites, and social media channels. As a result, many institutions find themselves pushed to amp up their recruitment efforts across all these channels – but with the same resources as before.

We understand the student recruitment challenges that institutions face. Marketing automation can help you enhance your student recruitment efforts, making the strategic and day-to-day work of your team more effective across all channels of engagement. With marketing automation, you can:

Get clear tracking and attribution

The tracking and attribution capabilities within a marketing automation platform provide a clear view of how students are interacting with your touch points and responding to your efforts. You’ll be able to see which emails get the most responses from prospective students, follow student journeys more closely through the marketing funnel, and evaluate how well your strategic planning is working across all channels.

Being able to track the way prospective students interact with you also allows you to build an attribution model that fits the buying cycle of your prospective students. Once you know what touchpoints your leads are interacting with, you can optimise these leads by providing customised content, follow-ups, and other marketing actions. While attribution models should be chosen carefully (and tested, and revised, over and over again!), knowing which touchpoints lead to an enrolment or a sale will help you ensure your personnel and budget resources are optimally allocated.

Develop stronger multi-channel nurture campaigns

Lead nurturing campaigns are key to creating a relationship with your prospective students by maintaining a valuable line of communication. As they progress through the marketing funnel, you can track their interest in you and what you have to offer and then finetune your message so they continue receiving the information that they need at the right time.

While this seems tricky, the segmentation capabilities of a marketing automation platform can take the guesswork out of a nurture campaign. Marketing automation allows you to segment you audiences and convey an optimised stream of content to for each prospective student, depending on the number of interactions with your institution and type of enquiry (such as general institution information, specific program information, housing and student life enquiries, and onboarding and registration). Your prospective students are much likelier to read your messages – and continue interacting with you – if the message is relevant and useful to them at their current stage in the buying cycle.

Ensure content personalisation

We all understand how important emails and websites are to recruitment efforts and to attracting students to your institution. However, the days of blanket emails and static content are over.

With marketing automation, you can personalise the way you reach your prospective students. You can create custom templates in conjunction with platform features to personalise your website and landing pages, segment your signup forms, optimise your campaigns (by trigger behaviors, areas of interest, or location of each prospective student), and design the content your prospective students see. Prospective students will be able to access your institution in an intuitive and clear way from whichever channel or device they choose – and you will be able to measure and compare the results from each channel.

Build in optimisation

Not only can marketing automation help you test your campaigns continuously, but you’ll be able to test your messages and apply the information from testing to finetune your messages. The right automation platform makes it easy to optimise email by time and date, sender, content, contact form, and frequency – and to replicate these optimisations.

Optimising your email campaigns makes it easier for you to develop those important relationships with each prospective applicant. Because you can optimise emails by location, level of interest, and other key markers, you can target prospective students around the world with the right messages.

Improve your conversion rates

As we’ve discussed before, marketing automation goes beyond lead generation and allows you to qualify leads, follow their journey, and personalise content across multiple channels. This will lead to higher conversion rates while also decreasing the cost per lead. And because marketing automation platforms like Marketo feature reporting capabilities, you will be able to quantify your ROI, allowing you to adapt and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

We have a proven track record of driving student recruitment efforts with marketing automation. In our partnership with Sommet Education, we implemented Marketo to personalise lead nurturing, optimise website forms, and identify lead attribution models, helping Sommet double its conversion rate of visits to leads. Read all about our work with Sommet here.