Prospect journey audits keep students at the centre of your international enrolment marketing strategy
Mapping the international student journey through inquiry to applicant is tedious, resource-draining and an ever-present task throughout the recruitment cycle. However, checking on the health of your inquiry journey can optimise the experience for you and your prospective international students by tracing a clear path to them finding their best fit with you.
But what’s in an inquiry journey audit?
It can be any means by which your prospective international students may be searching or engaging with your institution on any platform. Your website, landing pages, forms, social media accounts, associated search platforms, and new marketing initiatives will keep you up to your neck in optimisation review for months and the resources you will need to complete such an audit may not be in your budget or in the purview of your operations team.
So let’s simplify it. Identifying your bottlenecks first – where you are losing attention – will provide you a baseline to what is working and what is not. But where do you get that data? And how does identifying bottlenecks impact the prospect’s experience?
Why it’s beneficial for prospective students
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to understand why this sort of audit is beneficial for your students.
Prospective international students want, now more than ever, to have an accessible and clear path through their journey that holds personalisation and relevance at the core of messaging, whilst keeping their well-being of utmost importance. That’s a lot, but keeping a well refined inquiry journey can be the key to keeping the student at the centre of your nurture campaigns, website, forms and landing pages.
Let’s dig into some areas:
Starting with accessibility is a great way to clear up your inquiry journey quickly. Your marketing channels and website should be focused on including the highest number of prospective students – so ensuring your designs are able to be experienced by prospects with visual or auditory impairments, neurodivergence, or other factors is crucial to ensuring inclusivity as well as audience expansion. Tools like eye-tracking software, optimising your headers for visually-impaired assistants, and other useful tools can help you align your delivery with your prospective student needs.
In tandem with accessibility comes clarity. Defining a clear pathway for your prospects alleviates stressors in their search process and facilitates an uncomplicated journey through your materials. Additionally, a simpler and refined path through your website, landing pages, nurture campaigns, and marketing materials keeps accessibility at the forefront of your journey audit.
“Analysing your inquiry journey can be a big project”
You can support a simplified pathway through your marketing channels by keeping your designs intentional and focused on exactly why this page or communication exists and call attention to that page. Also, ensuring that whatever may be broken or aesthetically unpleasing on your page or communication is on its way to being fixed.
Meeting student expectations
With a baseline of a simplified and accessible journey for your prospective international students, meeting student expectations of your marketing is the next step to optimise and develop affinity. Including opportunities to personalise your content to particular segments and making sure that content is relevant based on their interest facilitates an easier navigation and shows your interest in the student and their interests which helps cultivate trust, affinity, and relationship. Tools that incorporate UTM tracking and engagement tracking to segment and target your prospects can truly take your marketing to the next level.
Analysing it can be a big commitment – ask for help!
A student that feels connected to your brand and institution, and valued by it, is far more likely to see an inquiry journey through to completion than one that doesn’t.
But analysing your inquiry journey can be a big project – and it might not be something you have the capacity to do. That’s why we are here to help.
XEquals provides a free audit service where we dig into the current state of your inquiry journey and provide you with a rundown of what’s working, and where your blockers are. Plus, we give you actionable solutions that you can implement immediately.
About the author: This is a sponsored post by Michael Doran, CRM Implementation Strategist, XEquals. Formerly the Director of Enrollment Operations at Ursuline College, Ohio, Michael lives and breathes the US higher education sector. He is also an expert in Slate, and other CRM’s, and actively advocates for equality across the industry to enable a positive, brighter future for everyone.
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