How Small & Specific Digital Enrollment Campaigns Yield Timely Results

Part 1: Maximizing Deposits After May 1

How Small & Specific Digital Enrollment Campaigns Yield Timely ResultsThe best enrollment manager I know taught me this: great enrollment rarely comes from one big idea or change in approach. Rather, it grows in bits and pieces, from identifying small pockets of potential that lead to recruiting “10 more students here and 20 more here” until it adds up to a significant increase.

We recently adapted this “pockets of potential” philosophy to Calculate’s digital services by piloting small and specific enrollment campaigns designed to:

  • Address a problem, need, or opportunity in the enrollment cycle
  • Target and reach a particular group of prospective students
  • Convert prospects to the next step in the enrollment cycle via tailored messages and strong Calls to Action (CTAs)
  • Yield realenrollment results (inquiry data, visit registrations, applications, deposits)

Decision Day Campaign: From Admit-to-Deposit

The first campaign happened as we approached Decision Day, May 1. Remembering the pressure from our own days in higher ed, we reached out to institutions with a simple message: If you need more deposits after May 1, Calculate can reach the right students with a strategic Admit-to-Deposit campaign.

Steps & Tips

In late April, we started working with Wells College, a beautiful and truly original liberal arts college in Aurora, New York. Here’s what we did to start:

  • Interviewed 2 undergraduate students to develop storytelling ads based on their words and experiences
    • Tip : Gen Zers trust authentic peer-to-peer marketing far more than institutional jargon
  • Wrote and designed 19 Facebook & Instagram ads, utilizing original content and Wells College photography
    • Tip: Facebook is the top social media platform used by students in their college search
  • Worked with Wells staff to create a landing page on their web site, featuring clear instructions, authentic messages from current students, and resources for assistance.
    • Tip: Landing pages should be specifically created with strong and specific CTAs. Too often, campaign ads deliver users to the institution’s homepage with no further instruction or conversion opportunity.
  • Targeted admitted students via Wells’ list of Admitted Students
    • Tip: Digital campaigns are a successful & cost-effective way of maximizing return on purchased lists of names and other recruitment activities

Overall, the campaign ran for 39 days on Facebook and Instagram. Phase 1 launched April 12 and ran through May 1. At that point, we made the following changes, which ran from May 1-May 20:

  • Revised the content to add an “incentive,” reminding students about priority housing and early registration (both open to all students)
  • Updated the target pool to include recently accepted students

Campaign Success

Results were determined by comparing two lists of student names: Admitted Students and Confirmed/Deposited Students (as of July 1). Both lists were supplied by Wells College.

Matches between the lists showed the percentage of Admitted Students who converted to Confirm/Deposit during course of the campaign.


In total, the campaign helped convert 61.69% of the Confirmed Class from Admit-to-Deposit.

Additionally, the campaign:

  • Reached 848 unique users
  • Delivered 25,810 impressions
  • Engaged 128 users who clicked to the landing page
  • Converted 95 new deposited students, 61.69% of the confirmed class

Next week’s post will outline another problem-solving, enrollment-generating campaign: Building Transfer & Summer Enrollment.

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