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Recruitment 2016: Playing the Long Game with Your Lead Pool

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The enrollment game has shifted dramatically in the last few years in higher education. Lead flow is sluggish, conversion rates are soft, and overall enrollment is not on a strong upward trajectory anymore. Many colleges and universities are struggling to understand why they aren’t getting the same strong results they used to. The most common answer to that question is that the institution is not doing anything different than they have in the past.

Like it or not the enrollment game is getting far more complex and schools have to push themselves to critically analyze many aspects of their current recruitment practices. Participants will learn more about:

Evaluating the messaging of your communication flow
Expanding your touch-points after an initial lead is generated
Developing a long game with your lead pool
Reinvigorating your past leads
If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to effectively recruit in the 2016 adult and graduate market in higher education, recruitment expert Dr. Brenda Harms of Harms Consulting shares insights and best practices.

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Recruitment 2016: Playing the Long Game with Your Lead Pool

  1. 1. Recruitment 2016 Playing the long game with your lead pool Brenda Harms, Ph.D. Harms Consulting
  2. 2. Starting the Conversation Thank you!
  3. 3. Upcoming Webinar •Text
  4. 4. Higher Education – Our Time in History Enrollment is one of the single most critical issue right now in Higher Education…
  5. 5. Recruitment – Then • Historically recruitment was a very passive interaction • Less than 20 years ago many adult and graduate programs didn’t even track the names of leads • Little follow-up • Assumed self-motivation by the prospect • Prospective graduate students were assumed to be able to navigate the process themselves – almost as a right of passage
  6. 6. Recruitment - Now • Highly interactive process • Great investment of finances to get the “lead” (someone to turn over their name to indicate interest) • Technology invested in for the single purpose of tracking leads • Human resource intensive approach at contact • Intense outreach (up to 30 points of contact in 30 days) • Increased focus on customer service throughout the process
  7. 7. Great progress has been made… and yet…
  8. 8. We all need MORE LEADS!!!
  9. 9. More “leads” what do we really mean
  10. 10. We really mean more “engaged leads”
  11. 11. That being said the MAJORITY of your lead pool is not at the stage yet of being an engaged lead. And we ignore them. We ignore their enrollment potential. We ignore their interest in our institution.
  12. 12. There is no clear “point in time” when it makes sense to return to complete a degree or go to graduate school. Many adults will engage in the “shopping process” and engage several institutions via RFI’s on websites or digital ads but will not take next steps. Staying “with” these prospects over time can create solid results but this will not be without work.
  13. 13. Recruitment Developing an Initial Process AND Developing a Long Game
  14. 14. Defining a Lead • Lead (or inquiry) RFI Lead card at an event Call in Referral ANYONE who turns over contact information • Lead Pool Any lead who does not complete and submit their application within a reasonable window (30-60 days)
  15. 15. Recruitment Process • What are we doing now when a lead comes in? • Are all leads responded to in the same manner? • How is a lead tracked in our system? • Is every lead tracked in our system? • Is every source code tracked in our system?
  16. 16. Recruitment Process • How does each source code convert? % that covert to apps % that convert to admits % that convert to enrolled
  17. 17. Recruitment Process • How does each source code convert in 60 days? (100 referrals) % that covert to apps (70% convert to apps) 70 applications % that convert to admits (90% of apps are admitted) 63 applicants are admitted % that convert to enrolled (80% of admitted enroll) 50 admits are enrolled
  18. 18. Recruitment Process • How does each source code convert in 60 days? (100 referrals) % that covert to apps (70% convert to apps) 70 applications % that convert to admits (90% of apps are admitted) 63 applicants are admitted % that convert to enrolled (80% of admitted enroll) 50 admits are enrolled ??? What about the other 30 leads??? ??? The 13 admits that did not enroll???
  19. 19. Recruitment Process
  20. 20. Suggested Recruitment Approach… First 60 days… • Prospective student inquires – Day 1 • Personal connection (email, phone, personal note) within 24 hours • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 3 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 7 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 10 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 15 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 21 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 26 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 33 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 45 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 60
  21. 21. Messaging – First 60 Days • Evaluate messaging for “student focused” messages. • Go light on the features and benefits of your program unless they are VERY related to a benefit for the student (like accelerated time to completion). • Inquire as to why the prospective student is interested in returning to school at this time? • Do messages invite a further conversation or simply overload prospects with everything they could ever possibly want to know about your program?
  22. 22. Recruitment Process • Your initial recruitment process in those first 60 days will begin the process of sorting out who is ready to move forward and who will take a bit more time. • Movement forward - started application/completed FAFSA/attended meeting - are all good indicators of engagement but these leads can not be abandoned when they do not convert quickly.
  23. 23. Recruitment Process Returning to school is a huge financial and time commitment. Most people will not make this decision quickly.
  24. 24. Long Game Recruitment
  25. 25. Long Game Recruitment Determine your institutions definition of an “old lead” NOTE: Needs to have been a solid recruitment effort made with prospects in the first place. “I mailed the packet and they never called” is not a solid recruitment effort.
  26. 26. Long Game Recruitment Batch “old leads” Timeframe (leads between July 1, 2015 – January 1, 2016) Programmatically Applications started not completed Engaged with recruiter but did not move in funnel Made appointment but did not show Kept appointment but did not progress
  27. 27. Long Game Recruitment Develop re-engagement strategy for each “batched old lead pool”
  28. 28. Long Game Recruitment Example re-engagement strategy Past Appointment Kept Personal hand-written note mailed to the lead from the recruiter they met with Follow-up call from that recruiter within 10 days of sending the card Email invite to a “Financing Your Education” session or webinar Facebook upload of email addresses with an invitation
  29. 29. Long Game Recruitment Example re-engagement strategy Application Started Not Completed Follow-up call when a started application is not completed within 14 days Email communication flow (3) – topics to include Financial Aid, time management, employment after graduation Follow-up phone call from recruiter identifying the incomplete application Email invite to a “Financing Your Education” session or webinar Facebook upload of email addresses with an invitation
  30. 30. Long Game Recruitment Example re-engagement strategy No Contact – EVER Monthly newsletter/announcements of new programs/expanded deliveries Quarterly phone blitz – “If you are still considering graduate school we hope you are still considering the MBA at Harms University or one of our other 20 graduate programs. I’d be happy to explore options with you. “ Tracking – who is still opening email? Who is clicking on CTA’s? Invite to “Graduate School” event – track who opens invite and do follow-up phone calls
  31. 31. Long Game Recruitment Example re-engagement strategy Entire Lead Pool Email series related to new program offerings and new deliveries Follow-up phone calls to those that open the communication or engage with a link Oversized postcard to leads from the last 3 years announcing new programs or deliveries
  32. 32. Long Game Recruitment Example re-engagement strategy Stop-Outs Hand written note from advisor/recruiter inviting the former student to connect to determine what it would take to complete Identify former students within 15 credits of graduation and make personal calls indicating you are emailing them with information about the courses they need to complete their degree Email information related to number of credits needed and anticipated time to completion
  33. 33. Long Game Recruitment The Return on this Investment 1000 leads – 10% re-engage (100) 100 re-engaged leads – 10% enroll (10 students) You attempt this twice per year – 20 students
  34. 34. Long Game Recruitment • Long game recruitment is a compliment to persistent and consistent initial recruitment. • Many schools need to start thinking about lead conversion rates over the course of a year. • How many of your leads you are able to convert is dependent on the skills and knowledge of your team.
  35. 35. Questions?
  36. 36. Upcoming Webinar •Text
  37. 37. Thank You! bharmsconsulting@gmail.com 641-529-3535

The enrollment game has shifted dramatically in the last few years in higher education. Lead flow is sluggish, conversion rates are soft, and overall enrollment is not on a strong upward trajectory anymore. Many colleges and universities are struggling to understand why they aren’t getting the same strong results they used to. The most common answer to that question is that the institution is not doing anything different than they have in the past. Like it or not the enrollment game is getting far more complex and schools have to push themselves to critically analyze many aspects of their current recruitment practices. Participants will learn more about: Evaluating the messaging of your communication flow Expanding your touch-points after an initial lead is generated Developing a long game with your lead pool Reinvigorating your past leads If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to effectively recruit in the 2016 adult and graduate market in higher education, recruitment expert Dr. Brenda Harms of Harms Consulting shares insights and best practices.

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