How One University Used Digital Search to Reach Enrollment Capacity
This institution — a small, liberal arts university — had experienced a substantial increase in its undergraduate enrollment so turned its attention to graduate recruitment. In particular, the administration wanted to meet enrollment capacity in 4 online master’s programs. Calculate recommended a digital campaign that would attract “perfect-fit” prospects based on demographic and self-reported traits.
- To launch an affordable, high-yielding search for prospects through digital platforms
- To write, design, implement, and monitor an online campaign that:
- Sold the value of each degree program
- Reached the appropriate audiences
- Converted leads to applicants
- Was quantifiable and affordable
The administration was reluctant to try a digital campaign based on a previous experience. Earlier in the year, they spent $16,900 on a large firm that promised a lot but delivered a campaign that yielded little. They also tried traditional forms of marketing (a billboard and radio campaign) but enrollment still lagged.
- The problem was with the marketing, not the product.
- Previous campaigns:
- Did not identify or reach the right audience
- Focused on impressions, not clicks and completed actions
- Sent ad traffic to the institutional homepage rather than a landing page, thereby losing conversion opportunities
The university set a modest budget ($13,000) for a 3-platform campaign: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google AdWords. To reach ideal prospects, we adhered to Calculate’s carefully cultivated best practices: research, specificity, and constant monitoring.
- Wrote ads and landing pages based on research (of program, audience demographics, and desired outcomes)
- Interviewed students, alumni, and faculty of each program to:
- Identify program highlights
- Develop audience profile
- Collect and use authentic testimonials
- Used active language and clear calls to action to entice engagement
- Used authentic (not stock) photos specific to the institution and program
- Targeted specifically via institutional/programmatic success and industry trends (per program)
- Created a specific landing page for each campaign utilizing best practices
- Developed keywords for each academic program
- Monitored results and adjusted to maximize effectiveness (re-wrote, re-designed, added incentives)
The Results: Enrollment Capacity!
- The campaign ran for 2 ½ months and was stopped early because all 4 programs reached their enrollment capacity.
- 2,360,363 impressions that cost $0 (pay for clicks only); free branding and awareness
- 6,233 clicks from highly-targeted prospects to dedicated landing pages
- 139 conversions via completed engagement forms
- Increase in general inquiries to these programs outside of the landing pages (most likely due to the impressions above)
- Total cost: $12,378.96
- Cost per click: $1.99
- Additional engagement: 597 posts, likes, and shares to the Facebook ads