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3 Ways to Distinguish Your University From Its Competitors
[00:00:00] Tony Fraga: I think the problem is that. The challenge is almost everyone is, cha has to promote or market something new different than what they've had to, and how do you pivot and do that when maybe you're not ranking super well. And so my, my mind goes immediately to like, how are we communicating? How are you communicating what the experience will be like?
[00:00:25] Jaime Gleason: Have you ever wondered if there is a different, maybe even a better way to tackle an enrollment or marketing issue? Are there processes or practices in your institution that you wonder why does this exist and why has no one bothered to disrupt it? Or
[00:00:40] Tony Fraga: what about a hot new enrollment marketing trend that you've been asked to jump?
[00:00:46] But you're not really sure how to do it the right way, or even if it's worth doing at all,
[00:00:52] Jaime Gleason: believe me, we get it. I'm Jamie Gleason, a 20 year veteran of higher ed, who has worked both inside and [00:01:00] outside the institution and on the vendor side of enrollment marketing.
[00:01:04] Tony Fraga: And I'm Tony Fraga, an 18 year recovering higher ed market.
[00:01:07] Who has seen just about every enrollment marketing model in the industry, and we've teamed up to launch the Pivot podcast to take an issue, a hurdle, or an outdated process, and suggest ways to pivot into a new direction or launch into a better process As much as possible, we'll use actual examples, but we'll try to keep all the takeaways as fresh as
[00:01:32] Jaime Gleason: possible.
[00:01:33] You'll laugh. Heck, you might even cry. But we promised this is a podcast that you won't want to miss. The Pivot is proud to be a part of the Enroll five Podcast Network, and you can subscribe to this email@example.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:01:55] Shane Kehl: Hello and welcome to episode four of The Pivot. [00:02:00] I'm here as always with Tony and Jamie. Guys, how we doing? I see we all joined. The, uh, for those of you not watching, we're all on the hat train today. Yeah.
[00:02:09] Jaime Gleason: I also need to soon be on the trim, my beard train , because I'm feeling like a little lumberjacky, but that's.
[00:02:15] Just life.
[00:02:17] Tony Fraga: I'm glad that we're all unified with the hats. Yes. Means it's gonna be a great episode. Oh, this could be the best one yet.
[00:02:25] Shane Kehl: should have all worn our college hats. Oh, that would've been, I
[00:02:28] Jaime Gleason: think I actually have, I don't think I have a hat from my college. I
[00:02:30] Tony Fraga: am. Yeah,
[00:02:32] Shane Kehl: go. Go Wahoos. All right. Diving in.
[00:02:35] We're approaching, you know, may when a lot of prospects are beginning their search. One of the things that's happening now is schools have had to make a lot of pivots, whether it's online with new programs, um, a bunch of things kind of post covid as people are. Again, just the continued increase maybe in people also being a little more skeptical of, of higher education.
[00:02:59] And there's just a lot of things [00:03:00] that schools have had to change along the. And that kind of got back up a lot of changes a over the last three years. Um, and a lot of the things that people used to rely on, like rankings or the beauty of their campus, just the in-person nature of we have a big football team and that was a big draw, and those are just becoming maybe less important or null and void.
[00:03:18] You know, you're at an institution where you can't rely on those things anymore. You're launching more online programs or even newer programs. How do you really stick out? , you used to go, look at us, we're number two on, uh, best business schools in the state or something, and it's, that's no longer a thing.
[00:03:33] Or look at how beautiful our campus is and people are like, I don't care. I'm going online. Uh, you know, your high price point doesn't, doesn't seem worth it. Now that I don't get to benefit from your campus, um, how do you kind of take what you already have without reinventing the wheel to really distinguish yourself from premier competitors, from even just other local schools in the area or online programs that are across the country that someone can just as easily access.
[00:03:55] Jaime Gleason: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think this is a hard one. We like to think about the [00:04:00] college decision as completely objective, right? Rankings, price, faculty ratios, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's been set a thousand times in every virtual campus, video of every school. The reality is there is a still a big like, obviously outcomes.
[00:04:19] but there is a big emotional, like, there's still an emotional factor, especially on the undergrad side to like what, uh, like what people are choosing to buy. So the question for me becomes like, less about differentiating yourself programmatically, or even like maybe, uh, you know, Relative to some of the competitors in your area or something like that?
[00:04:40] Like the, to me, the difference becomes differentiation in experience. Like how do we experientially like create something that is altogether different? So like, again, 20, you know, my, my time as a director of admissions or chief enrollment officer at a couple different institutions, that often led me to see like [00:05:00] how authenticity makes a.
[00:05:03] Difference when it comes to like a student being able to like say, oh yeah, I really can like, latch on or associate the school and see myself there. Um, so I think like what do you do in the process? It's may, you know, like my kids, I have two teenagers. They're getting, you know, mail, like lots of direct mail.
[00:05:22] It's crazy how much people spend still in direct mail on the undergrad side. Um, The thing that they're like, that this male, it is, it's self-promotion. Male. Right? But it's not like, what do I do to make this process easier? There's not a lot of like, hey, five tips for like, you know, breezing through your senior year and, and getting better.
[00:05:43] You know, like things like that. Like how can we make this process so that you as an institution, show yourself. on this like advocacy level for students who are thinking about you or who are getting your mail and reading it or getting your email or going on your website or whatever. But like removing friction first.
[00:05:59] [00:06:00] I think first thing for me is like, how do I make this process frictionless, memorable? Um, and then along the way, obviously I think within this, and this goes back to kind of program and who you are and where you are and all that stuff. How do. Solidify the story. Like how do you, uh, I mean there, the truth is, when you solidify your story, you're gonna find people who don't match up, which is fine.
[00:06:20] Yeah, that's good. Save yourself the noise. Like move them, you know, somewhere else. But like, but I think like making sure that you're telling the story that people need to hear, want to hear in that process of decisions. So that's where my head goes initially, like right off the bat. So how about you, Tony?
[00:06:37] Tony Fraga: I think, um, I think a lot of what you shared there too is. It's kind of, you gotta do that every year at this point. And I think the extra pivot right now would be, and you gotta do it for something new that you haven't had to talk about or do before. And I think that's a challenge right now in this pivot is you've gotta now distinguish yourself [00:07:00] differently than how you may have told that authenticity story before, because that old stuff doesn't work, or it just doesn't apply either because now you've got these online programs and you never had them, or now you've.
[00:07:10] This new program or whatever it is. I think what's happening right now as students are starting their search, I think schools, anyone in enrollment marketing, whether you're enrollment management side or more in Markcom side, and it's more on like the overall brand story you're telling. I think the problem is that.
[00:07:26] The challenge is almost everyone is, has to promote or market something new different than what they've had to. And how do you pivot and do that when maybe you're not ranking super well. And so my, my mind goes immediately to like, how are we communicating? How are you communicating what the experience will be like?
[00:07:46] Yeah. Rather than the facts. So getting away from factual and function. . Mm-hmm. functional, the two F's to the two Cs. What is creative and compelling instead of factual and functional? And that's immediately
[00:07:57] Jaime Gleason: where I pivot. I like the way you said it [00:08:00] before. Fun.
[00:08:01] Tony Fraga: Functional, functional, functional. That's the, it's both factual and functional.
[00:08:05] Functional. We made a new word. Get away from functional. Get away from functional. That's what I would do. I would pivot and say, take everything functional and stop. Yeah. And instead, Do something really different because if you have, like, you know, I know schools that right now they have to market an aspect of their school that wasn't there or is low, larger and it, yeah.
[00:08:26] I think a lot has to do with pivoting right now. It, I'm, I think again, in this scenario, you said Shane students starting their search process. Mm-hmm. , I think at that stage, psychological. , you're right, Jamie Elliot. It's a lot about feeling. Yeah. How do I feel when I get that mail or when I go to their website or when I click that email?
[00:08:47] Yeah. Or le look at their social media or research them, however it is. I'm starting my search. We really have to think about feeling. Yeah. So I don't really care whether it's a new program or a new this or that. And you [00:09:00] know, particularly for schools that don't, can't just rely on like we're the number one in this.
[00:09:03] You don't have really great rankings. You have. Decent rankings. Even
[00:09:07] Jaime Gleason: if you do, though, even if you do have number one rankings, but your experience is poor, right? Your, your, your website experience isn't good. You have like, yeah, I won't care. Your, it's not gonna care you far. So I think the key is here. It's not about, you're not trying to sell the student in in, in May.
[00:09:24] You're actually just trying to get them to come back in late. Like, that's the key. It's like we, we jumped this step. I think Tony and I were at a conference a couple weeks ago, or actually a couple months ago now. Sorry, my, my mind's first thing to go when you get old . Um, but like, you know, I think the, the hard part is we, we make this huge jump from like, oh, this is my first time visiting campus or my first time on your website.
[00:09:46] And it's like, let's get an application. No, no, let's get a second visit. Let's get them to engage. engage to something, make a small micro conversion somewhere, so that way we get the opportunity to talk to him the second time and [00:10:00] like, let's get, let's get that middle stuff. Like, that's just too big of a leap.
[00:10:04] Shane Kehl: Yeah. So thinking about as, uh, you kind of first touched on this, Jamie, of saying, you know, get away almost from, I'm from the facts of, hey, I can, I can read this on your website, right? I don't really need you to tell me it. Totally. Also, it's not particularly inspiring. So what do you promote, say, show, um, to prospects who are just, again, they might be stumbling across your institution for the very first time.
[00:10:32] Yeah. Um, you wanna leave a lasting impression. What are, what are the things that people can and should show that will leave an impression that is a positive one and not? look at our campus and it's, you know, Hey, I'm doing online programs, I don't care. Yeah. Right. Or,
[00:10:46] Tony Fraga: or I'm gonna tell you a story, uh, for a college that won't be named real quick.
[00:10:50] literally just saw this Jamie and I at that conference. , this is, this is a case in point Shane, on the about page. Did you know that at an unnamed [00:11:00] university in the Midwest begins with I, there are 365 buildings with wireless internet access. Wow.
[00:11:09] Shane Kehl: Hm. Amazing.
[00:11:11] Tony Fraga: Yeah, it is amazing. Don't you? Isn't that just that is like, what is that doing on your, about page in 2023?
[00:11:18] Yeah. Like maybe 1998, but we are wasting space. Yeah. We are wasting media. Right. Talking about things that your prospects, when they're searching. Care about. Yeah. At all. Yeah. And we have to get away as enrollment marketers talking about that at all. Don't waste the space. Yeah. What you are going to use, you've gotta use that little space.
[00:11:45] You do have that little airtime mm-hmm. to really attract and bring them in and make them curious. Yeah. Compelled, um, excited. Kind of intrigued. Yeah. I just try to use words that [00:12:00] the stuff I would do in this pivot has to exude. Yeah. Yeah. So like I'm for pivoting on anything that's gonna cause intrigue, totally.
[00:12:08] Curiosity, um, surprise, delight, excitement, funny. I'm
[00:12:14] Jaime Gleason: gonna laugh. Even sticktuitiveness, like how do we like figure out, like how do we get people to. Again, sticking thinking of that second, like that second visit, like what do we do that's gonna get them. Over the hump to like, click it, click on the second email, open the ma the actual piece of mail.
[00:12:32] Something like that.
[00:12:34] Zach Busekrus: Alrighty, we're gonna play a game, guys. Okay. So first and foremost, get a pen, get a paper, pull out your notes, app on your phone, whatever it might be. Okay. Got it. Great. Alright. What keywords does your website currently rank for? Take a couple seconds, right? 1, 2, 3, 4. I'll give you a few, not just a couple.
[00:12:53] What doesn't it rank for that you think it should rank for? Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4. [00:13:00] Now, what are a few keyword opportunities that you could be winning on if you just simply tweaked some of your existing website? Copy. Got it. Okay. How'd you do? Ooh. Not so hot. Not sure what you can, what you're currently ranking for or not sure what you could be ranking for.
[00:13:16] Well, that's okay because our friends at DD Agency want to help you answer all of these questions. DD Agency is a higher ed specific marketing technology agency that's conducted countless SEO audits for colleges and universities across the country. In these audits, they detail where you currently. What you could be ranking for, exactly how copy should be tweaked on a website, pages and so much more.
[00:13:40] If this sounds like something that you could benefit from, give the guys a DEI agency a ping and be sure to mention that enroll I sent you to claim a 10% discount on any of their s e O offerings. So head on over to enroll fify.org/dda SEO o. That's DDA as in DD Agency seo. Or simply [00:14:00] follow the link in the show notes below that will guarantee you get a 10% discount off of your audit.
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[00:14:22] Jaime Gleason: So here's where my head goes, Shane, undergrad, you know my undergrad view. often goes to like the integration, basically the pivot from, let's, let's stick with the topic here. Stick, stick with the title, the pivot from like, what's an kind of an old boring, you know, sophomore, junior, like, uh, com flow to, you can still keep the com flow.
[00:14:45] You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but like what do you do to add to it? So what can you put in. . Um, and, and it goes, I go immediately to video. Like, how do you ta make like low-cost videos that help students [00:15:00] say, um, this was my experience when I was where you are. So I, I think students video updating your emails to make it more experiential.
[00:15:09] So like, almost like a subject line of like, , um, I bet you're one, maybe you're wondering about this or something like that, and it's like, maybe that's spammy. I don't know. I don't, you'd have to run it through that like spam meter subject line thing. . But, um, but like figuring out a way that when a student opens their email that there's a student talking to them saying, Hey, when I was a junior and I was look, starting my search, like these were the things on my.
[00:15:32] And this is how I've like knocked one of those things out by coming here. Mm-hmm. , or I've, I've, I've answered one of those questions by like, digging into the process here and like making your school the hero of that story.
[00:15:45] Shane Kehl: Yeah. And even thinking too, I mean, you had mentioned all the direct mail, right.
[00:15:48] And I think that's one of those things that , that's probably hard for schools to let go of because they think we've done it for so long. Yeah. We've been, even if you've only been, you know, decently successful, it seems [00:16:00] like one of those things that if you let go. . Yeah. You don't, you think the world may collapse and we will get nobody.
[00:16:05] Sure. Um, so how do you, and this is a question for, for both of you. How do you do direct mail? Well, to stand out as you're saying, you're getting all these things and they're all kind of the same. Yeah. We'd love to help you do your application, schedule a call with that. It's all the same old, blah, blah. How do you make your direct mail piece.
[00:16:22] Um, and kind of again, micro pivot here. Distinguish yourself within direct mail, um, to really stand out where mm-hmm. again, somebody's flipping through these things, going Junk, junk, junk, junk, junk. How do you make them stop and go, oh, that's different. That's interesting. Yeah.
[00:16:37] Tony Fraga: Yeah. So I'm gonna say something controversial here.
[00:16:40] Ooh. I think direct mail should be used as a second or third and not as a first in this, in the thing that's not controversial,
[00:16:49] Jaime Gleason: Jill, that's just
[00:16:50] Tony Fraga: smart . And the answer, that's the part of the answer to your question, cuz that enables you to put stuff in that mailer that is highly relevant. . Mm-hmm. and [00:17:00] you, and attractive to that prospect based on behavior you were able to track.
[00:17:05] So if we take what we said earlier mm-hmm. , and you get that first touch so that you can get a second touch and you've got an interaction. If you're smart, you can use data and behavioral information to do things like variable content in the mailer so that this is really. and most of the direct mail approach is a, it's a shotgun approach or like drop a bomb from a helicopter really, really high up and just will get the dust that settles rather than a smarter, where direct mails use as a an in the middle.
[00:17:37] Yeah. Because it's, and it's fueled by data. So I would argue in this pivot, the goal with the search marketing is really actually to capture data and to build a sub audience. Mm-hmm. then to do things like direct mail with Yeah. That uses the data I have that sees, hey, this prospect let's, on an undergrad like this prospect is clearly more in athletics, for instance.
[00:17:56] Mm-hmm. , um, based on where they're clicking and visiting as we want to use this [00:18:00] content and highlight this feature and this unique aspect of our school more. on the grad level, it could be much more about if they filled out anything or visited a certain page about particular programs or sub schools or colleges.
[00:18:12] You could, you can, you can put information about that college there. There's a lot of creative ideas, but none of that you can do if you make check mail first. Mm-hmm. , you're stuck at like high level branding and it's just like, Hey, we're cool. We're here. Check us out. And I, you can do that. I just think the chance of.
[00:18:29] the results on that are very low versus when you use direct mail in the middle. Yeah. It's way more powerful. Yeah. If you fill it with data, with information and media that is based on my behavior and demonstrated insurance. So you're kind of building an off audience first. Yeah, and I, I, this is getting more marketing, but I think you're building audiences with this pivot.
[00:18:48] You're building audiences on social, you're building audiences on Google. You're building audiences, so you have your own sub audiences and are tracking. . And that's why Jamie's right? Like you have to get a second touch. Mm-hmm. , once you get [00:19:00] that second touch, you now have them. And you could do things like a retargeted ad or then send them a mailer if you have their ad, their mailing address.
[00:19:07] Mm-hmm. . And those second things just perform way better. Mm-hmm. after they're informed by the first touch data. Yeah. So are
[00:19:14] Shane Kehl: you saying, are you saying pearls are coming back? Just to, just to clarify. No,
[00:19:19] Jaime Gleason: they're not. They're not. But you know, it did come back in the. The QR code. QR code. And the QR code is like a pearl.
[00:19:26] And you know, like I, I am thinking of, I'm hearkening back to the Super Bowl. Uh, sorry. Eagles still hurts my heart a little bit. Oh, oh, it's so tough. Uh, but you gotta bring your defense. But anyway, sorry. Um, like those Super Bowl commercials though, that, you know, all the Super Bowl commercial is Yeah. Is a QR code bouncing around your screen and.
[00:19:48] Yep. How many people, how many millions of people did that? Yeah. While they're watching the Super Bowl. To understand what that is, like, figure out a way to do that creatively with students. And I guarantee you they're, they're gonna try to, they're gonna be [00:20:00] curious. Yeah.
[00:20:01] Shane Kehl: So how do you take, let's say, let's say you set up that, that QR code, you have a super attractive way.
[00:20:06] Again, it's not their first time. I think that's a good mm-hmm. good point. To end up using the mailer kind of as a, a secondary, tertiary touchpoint, um, to really either drive home a personalized point or to showcase something very specific. Needs and wants of, of a prospective student. Um, how do you take, let's get maybe real with an example of, great, you have a super cool mailer, you have your QR code, it's very attractive, they're gonna scan it, you know some things about them already.
[00:20:31] Where are you sending them and how is that kind of complimentary to the other things they've seen or their interests? Again,
[00:20:37] Jaime Gleason: my by nature, I go to undergrad thinking, so like, what does it look like to create a space? , you know, that's like a first year like prospect landing page that gives all sorts of different, like whether it's like shortcuts to tips and tricks.
[00:20:51] Like maybe you haven't applied now, you know, bud, or like an RFI or register a visit, but maybe you don't. Maybe it's just all about. [00:21:00] providing helps and info and you know, like giving more video of like, hey, this is the experience. Because I think the thing that we recognize with students is that they get lost in video, right?
[00:21:10] They like, they watch it and it makes 'em watch another one and it makes 'em watch another one. So like, how do we get them in that, like that string of like intake and helps so that you can kind of stay at the. You're not necessarily at the focal point, cuz that's the part that I think a lot of schools struggle with is like, you know, when I send my direct mail piece, it's talking all about me.
[00:21:29] But if I send a direct mail piece with just a QR code, Like, what's that mean? You know, I can, I can just visualize a president like yelling at their marketing director saying, that's stupid. It's like, no, that's the way it is. Like, sorry.
[00:21:41] Tony Fraga: Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, there's an answer to that. I'll tell you what that means.
[00:21:44] Mr. And Mrs. President. Yeah. I'll tell you. It means you now freaking know who CL took the time to scan that QR code. Yeah. So, The QR code offer has to be attractive. Yeah. But if it is, like, my first thing is actually there's virtual viewbooks and virtual [00:22:00] pages and all these personalized stuff and, uh, the, you could do that.
[00:22:03] I actually just think keep it simple though, like immediately like video. I would want that QR code to go to some sort of video and it cannot be the professional marketing five minute video that is basically a video version of your view book. It's not about you. It has to be something fun, something probably even student made.
[00:22:21] Yep. You have to give a reason. . So the immediate thing I thought of is like, how could that QR code go to just watching a video? Yeah. And so now you're in their mobile phone. Mm-hmm. . Now they're have you on their mobile phone, and they may only glance at 17 seconds of it, but at least you're there. Yeah. And in your CRM platform, you now have a tick.
[00:22:40] You have a touchpoint of like, Hey, Jamie went in and Jamie Gleason scanned that video. So that's the answer to the president who's like, is this working? It's, yeah. Well, You got a hundred thousand names you bought. If you're using this on direct mail. I'd rather, instead of sending a hundred thousand direct mail pieces, I'd rather send 10,000 to the most important [00:23:00] people as a second touch QR code on there to find the the 2000.
[00:23:05] that actually click it and view it to then know I got an there. There's interest there. Yeah. Mm-hmm. , that's what the purpose is, so it doesn't have to be video. Mm-hmm. , but I think like video's an easy or something like that. Yeah. The other thing I would say is like often in search at this stage, you're just trying to get them to come and sign up for some sort of event.
[00:23:23] Experience, whether that's planning their own one-on-one visit or a major event you're coordinating. Yeah. So that would be my other idea as the QR code could be to rscp to an event. Mm-hmm. . And you have a really fun, easy to sign up for event page that Yeah. Sells the event, makes it sound fun, has the schedule in it.
[00:23:39] Yeah. And is easy to like sign up on their thumb. Yep. I would have the KERA cook or the
[00:23:44] Shane Kehl: event, that's the other pivot I would do. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And thinking about video two and, and again I think the popularity of, of TikTok of YouTube shorts, that short consum. , um, and how you make that highly personalized.
[00:23:55] So even for an event, right, of you have a faculty member and alumni and a student [00:24:00] that kind of represent a bucket of your prospects, and you know this about them because, excuse me, you're sending stuff very personalized to them because of. Their program interest, their sport interest, their sorority, fraternity, whatever it might be.
[00:24:14] Um, and you can kind of develop these buckets and then send 'em to a video where they can scroll of like faculty members saying, Hey, here's what I do, blah, blah, blah. Here's what you should come to this event and come chat with me. Alumni doesn't, or the admissions counselor. Same thing. Right. And you, and you can cycle through so many people and just get them to like, that was cool.
[00:24:28] 15 seconds. Next one. Exactly. Next one. These are super cool. And you kind of keep them engaged where they're like, now you're kind of ingraining themselves in your mind versus Yeah, the five minute. . If I'm 15 second, I'm used to 15 second content. Mm-hmm. , if I watch for 15 seconds and that was boring, I'm not watching the last, you know, four and a half minutes.
[00:24:44] Yep. See ya. And that's where all the meat is that you want them to watch anyway. And so there's this like, how do you, how do you play well with the, the buckets of people that you're kind of developing in your content? And again, for, for cheap, you can have somebody on their phone, Hey, I'm this person, I do these things.
[00:24:58] Yeah. And that can be essentially it. And you don't need [00:25:00] this, this massive production to get these things. .
[00:25:02] Jaime Gleason: Yeah, I totally, yeah. Just to emphasize something that you said, and I think this, maybe some institutions might fall prey to this. When they think about like, oh, you know, let's, let's make a video with a student, they automatically go to, like, how do we do the student tour?
[00:25:16] How do we do the thing? It's like, no, no. People like, do not do that. Don't replicate things digits, you know, statistics, things that you can find online, like the key. , give them something they can't find online. Give them something that they can't experience unless maybe they're standing in a room with you.
[00:25:34] Make them feel like they're standing in a room with you. I was. I was. I'm talking with a buddy of mine and he's just getting ready to retire out of higher ed. He's worked in higher ed for like 40 years as a faculty member, and he's getting ready as he's retiring to sell his house. And I started thinking about the sales of a house, right?
[00:25:52] Like the sale of a house being very similar to the sale of an institution, right? Like we think about when we buy houses like. The school district and the [00:26:00] taxes and the neighborhood and what's the traffic like, and like all these kind of things, like what are the community things that are in the area.
[00:26:07] But you know what the funny part is? Like that's happened in the house market in the last few years. The letter, the letter writing thing. The letter writing is crazy because that basically goes, it, it deifies the whole process. It takes all those factors out of it and it says, Hey, you're gonna pick a, you're gonna actually pick a buyer based on the emotional connection that you have with them because of this fricking letter that they write to you.
[00:26:33] And the school process is not altogether different. We're trying to create that emotional, like tie the letter thing. We're trying to create that in this higher ed environment. So how do we do that? I think that's, I I, that was like, to me, when I started thinking about it, I was like, this is fascinating.
[00:26:50] Tony Fraga: Yeah. I would add to that. I think the pivot here to summarize is, is all about human touch. Yeah. How can you bring in the human element? Yep. If you have to pivot and you're trying to do something different this year [00:27:00] and get more in front of people, prospects starting in the search prospect process, whether it's parents or students, grad or undergrad, doesn't really matter.
[00:27:08] Mm-hmm. I, I actually think. , particularly school that can't rely on, like, you've already got these great new things happening and you're like, well, how do I redo this? I, I wouldn't try and sell yourself more. I would just put your people, the human touch in front. People are hungry for the human connection.
[00:27:25] Yeah. And I think that starts with your admissions team and really getting them in front of people more. Yeah. And so I think this is about how can. Put a human face on it, and I think this crosses all the channels. Yeah. I don't care if you're sending an SMS text out, you know, and you're doing a big blast, like there's a difference.
[00:27:42] Whe whether that message is coming from DD University versus Tony Fraga. Mm-hmm. , the admissions counselor at ddu. Mm-hmm. , and I'm like, Hey, just send you this quick message. Saw that you did this. I'd love to connect with. You know, schedule a meeting with me here [00:28:00] or like, let me know if I can answer any questions.
[00:28:01] It's just that, yeah, that personal touch. I know we know that. I know that that's not necessarily new, but as far as like how to get that out in front of people more. Mm-hmm. , I think that's what we need to do. That's more distinguishing is get more human touch out there right now because there's been a lack of it since the pandemic.
[00:28:18] Shane Kehl: Yeah. And I think that becomes increasingly, I. When you're dealing with an online course where mm-hmm. it, it's not hybrid, it's online and this person is, you know, a thousand miles away from you taking this course, how are you gonna make them feel like part of something? Because, yeah, again, even if they apply, doesn't mean they're gonna enroll.
[00:28:35] Even if they enroll doesn't mean they're gonna stay for four years. And so how do you, you, you know, you need that human element throughout the entire process that's not a get 'em in the door and then forget about 'em type of deal. And so being able to kind of create, again, that engaging content that can last.
[00:28:49] And show them early on, here's how we're gonna kind of, again, keep this human element, um, even though you're online and you can still kind of experience and be part of a community rather than you're just another person [00:29:00] sitting at their computer staring at a screen for three hours a day. Yeah. Um, through various courses.
[00:29:06] Tony Fraga: Shane, I got a question for you. Oh boy. Related to this then. This came up about a year or two ago, and I'm curious where this goes. Cause I know. As VP of marketing, you stay abreast of a lot of kind of like latest and greatest, um, kind of emerging trends and digital, cool marketing strategies and tactics.
[00:29:25] Whatever happened to video s m s text, like video SM s. Remember we talked like there was this, this play towards like, and there's these apps and these, these tools. Is that still a frontier area that you think is worth thinking about investing in? Do you think it's dead? Does it just not work? Is I, I like tactically this is the marketing tactician in me.
[00:29:45] Just, yeah, going back to tactics and trying to provide healthy pivots that are easy to do, but where is video? Personalized video,
[00:29:54] Shane Kehl: sms. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I think it's one of those. Things that was like not, not [00:30:00] necessarily ahead of its time, but it sounded sexy. It's texting and it's video together. That's awesome.
[00:30:06] Let's do that. But there was never a strategy of how to implement that well, to compliment all the other things you're doing. And I think like we're saying right now, That's not your first touchpoint. That's not, you can't go in hyper personalize before you even know anything because your then your personalization is so broad where it's like, now you're just, that could have gone, all you did was say my name.
[00:30:27] That's not just, that's not personalization. Like you need to know things about me and be able to speak to the things I care about and want to address. So I think there's definitely room for it in people's enrollment marketing plans, but I think a lot of that needs to be fleshed out as, think of it as you're part of your comp flow.
[00:30:44] Where does that. Swap out email four and throw in a personalized video message. Where, how does that fit in? How does that compliment the other emails and what they're getting and how can you again, tweak that to meet, meet the needs of people? I think all the things we've been saying about video mm-hmm.[00:31:00]
[00:31:00] are still true and all of those can work. Scan a QR code, they're creating these videos, have them recreate them with people's names and, and very specific interests. And do and knock out, you know, five in a sitting and then send them off. Mm-hmm. , I don't think you need to make them. . The other fear is probably making them for a thousand students.
[00:31:14] That's incredibly Exactly. Yeah. Right. Get the ones that started the wrap. They're almost done. You think you've, you know, looked at some of their core information. Exactly. They're gonna be a great student here. Let's take them, you know, the last mile here and Yep. Using it that way. I, I think is the way to do it.
[00:31:28] But I think a lot of people saw it, thought it was a, you know, the new shiny object either got it but didn't, didn't invest time and energy into it, and therefore it fell off. Or they thought, oh, that's way too much work. I don't know how to. I'm not jumping in it. So yeah. I expect big comeback, but
[00:31:44] Jaime Gleason: yeah.
[00:31:45] Well, and I think that's the interesting part about this whole conversation, right? There's a, there's an assumption in a lot of this that you have the mechanisms in place to gauge Yeah. That engagement. Mm-hmm. , I think if you don't have that, then you're, you know, way behind the eight ball. And I think that that's, that's [00:32:00] really, that, that's a tough spot because Yeah.
[00:32:02] Then you're kind of left to. Maybe just do some of the things that you, that you have done the traditional things and you don't have more of that data available to make those data-driven decisions that you wanna make or make, even optimize your budgets. Because I think if you don't have the the means to look at, like who's clicking, who's seeing, like what's the engagement?
[00:32:23] Then you can't do that. Personalization, I think what you said, you said one thing, Shane, that's worth repeating and that's. Putting a first name on, uh, something is not personalization. And I think we just say that a few times. Like, so people recognize that personalization has more about, is more about behavior and less about like putting a first name on it or filling in a merge field that's like standard to, you know, x, y, or Z school.
[00:32:48] Shane Kehl: Right. And that's the thing too, I think personalization, again, it's, it's work for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Like it takes time and energy, but it's, and it's not meant to be for. List of names you just bought, like Sure. You know, that's, it's too time consuming. [00:33:00] And so how do you use personalization? It has varying levels depending on where people are in their journey and how much you know about them, and not feeling the need to personalize every single thing.
[00:33:09] Right. But highly personalize the things that are gonna make somebody take that next step that you want them to take, whether that's coming to campus, submitting their application Totally. Whatever it might be. Yeah. Um, but yeah, part of a s. a strategic plan if you're just trying to like do it by the cedar pants, I think.
[00:33:27] Tony Fraga: Ooh. Did you just say strategic plan? Like as in strategic enrollment marketing plan? I did. I did. That could be a topic for another
[00:33:36] Shane Kehl: episode. Who knows? Foreshadowing. Ooh. Careful what you say, Shane.
[00:33:41] Tony Fraga: I know it's dangerous.
[00:33:43] Shane Kehl: You're talking dangerous. Yeah. Speaking of planning, what are you guys in the middle of planning doing?
[00:33:50] Thinking about now as it pertains to your own work. Yeah, the hiring industry as a whole. Um, I'm sure there's kind of a lot there again, as we're Yeah. Well, a couple [00:34:00] months into the year. So you've had time to kind of settle and, and work through some things, but also I'm sure new things are popping up all the time.
[00:34:06] Um, what are you all in the middle of?
[00:34:07] Jaime Gleason: This episode actually kind of brings me back to a recent, um, episode of CR Improv that I recorded with my co-host, Mickey Baes. And it was, we had a guest, um, named Rich Cookman. Rich is a consultant and he really got into this very intricate positioning between, The CRM factors and the person that is behind the admission, the enrollment, right?
[00:34:31] Like I think this whole like, humanization of the, of the crm, uh, it's kind of funny to think about like the, the fact that we introduce these big pieces of software to almost depersonalize the process, which now requires a huge amount of personalization. It's kind of a funny conundrum. Um, anyway, that episode of the, of CRM improv really got into this.
[00:34:54] Rich had a, an amazing perspective. It was like one of the most excited episodes that I was a [00:35:00] part of, you know, recording. And, uh, you know, that's kind of what's going on for me. It's like really trying to think through, like, you know, we, we think about growth through technology, but at its core we are in the hu the business of human development, right?
[00:35:15] Yes. We are developing humans and there is a human component to this whole thing, a through line that if we overlook. We're no better off than before we had the technology. Well said.
[00:35:26] Tony Fraga: Well said. I don't have anything nearly as like really philosophically profound as that. I am literally working on finalizing a a two and a half year, two year plus project research project that I've been started as a joint research project with NA Gap.
[00:35:44] So DD Agency and Nagap. Were a strategic partner council member and we are putting out the in. First ever SEO benchmarks report for higher ed for grad schools through nagap, but DD agency. We're actually doing a double research project. We're doing an [00:36:00] undergrad and grad, so full institutional and more undergrad SEO versus a separate grad report for grad schools.
[00:36:06] There is no report out there in the industry that. Benchmarks, the SEO rankings and growth over the recent years, and so there's surveyed data that's in here. There's hard research data that we're putting together, so I'm literally like knee deep infin finalizing that report. It'll be live by NA gap in April, which anyone in graduate enrollment marketing, graduate enroll management.
[00:36:27] If you're not at the GEM Summit. In mid-April in New York City, you are missing out on a great conference. So I'm, that's why I'm, I'm working on that and excited to like, go to Naapp and co-present this with Keith Ramsell, who is, um, the VP of enrollment Management at Ashland University. And Keith and I have been working on this joint research project for many years and it's, it's really culminating in some.
[00:36:51] Really interesting insights that I think anyone can use to improve their seo. So very excited about that. [00:37:00]
[00:37:00] Jaime Gleason: Awesome. Emphasis on the really .
[00:37:03] Tony Fraga: Yeah. It was italicized. You couldn't tell know. For those who can't see, it's bold, italicized. I think they were
[00:37:09] Jaime Gleason: pure highlight between the two reallys too. Yeah. Stars.
[00:37:13] Tony Fraga: And M dash.
[00:37:15] Shane Kehl: Oh my favorite. Awesome. Well, thank you guys a ton for sharing. Those are both, you know, super insightful, very different lanes. Um, and I'm sure Mickey got all Ra his, oh man, that's, oh, I also hosted a podcast with Mickey and anytime we get on the CRM topic and he talks about people Oh yeah.
[00:37:30] Having high expectations of their crm, but not putting in much effort tends to be a, a touchy subject and Oh yeah. I can let him go for 20 minutes on his own, on that one. Yeah. Um, man, I need
[00:37:41] Tony Fraga: to get on the Mickey bandwagon. . Yeah. I feel left out. Yeah. Nikki, what's up man? If you're listening.
[00:37:48] Jaime Gleason: Uh, look a brother up.
[00:37:49] Do a brother a favor. . .
[00:37:52] Shane Kehl: All right, well, thank you all for listening. Again, this is episode four of The Pivot. Um, we'll be back in two weeks with [00:38:00] episode five. Hope to see you then.
[00:38:16] Zach Busekrus: Hey all, Zach here from Enrollify. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll like other enrollify shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed Technology shows that our jam-packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professionals.
[00:38:34] Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as your host. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Tiers, Jaime Hunt, Corryn Myers, Jamie Gleason, and many, many more. You can learn more about the Enroll five podcast network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea.
[00:38:53] Find yours at podcasts.enrollify.org [00:39:00]
About the Episode
The what's what...
With so many transitions in higher education over the last few years, it can be hard to make your university stand out.
Tony, Jamie, and Shane dive into ways you can distinguish your institution from your competitors and how these approaches can be carried over into your marketing campaigns. From QR codes, to direct mail, and everything in between, this episode has something for schools of all shapes and sizes.
This episode is brought to you by our friends at DD Agency:
DD Agency is a higher ed-specific marketing technology agency that has conducted countless SEO Audits for colleges and universities across the country.
In these audits, they detail where you currently rank, what you could be ranking for, exactly how copy should be tweaked on website pages, and much more.
If this sounds like something you could benefit from, give those folks a ping and be sure to mention that Enrollify sent you to claim a 10% discount on any of their SEO offerings.
Head on over to enrollify.org/ddaseo, or simply follow the link in the show notes below…that will guarantee you get a 10% discount off of your audit.
About the Enrollify Podcast Network
The Pivot is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam-packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Jeremy Tiers, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jamie Gleason, and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Tony is the CEO and a marketing strategist at DD — an enrollment marketing technology agency that specializes in implementing inbound, content-based methodologies. He leads a team of fast-paced marketing innovators, who handle everything from content creation to marketing automation, and thrives at the intersection of strategy and technology. Tony speaks regularly at higher education and non-profit marketing conferences on the topics of content marketing, SEO, and the latest trends in digital media.
Shane is the Chief Edutainment Officer for Enrollify. He takes any opportunity to make marketing fun and enjoyable while maintaining a healthy level of helpfulness and data-backed information. When he’s not being sarcastic or irritating Zach, he’s enjoying a sports game or nice brunch – mimosa, hold the OJ. His goal is to make higher ed even more fun and lively by injecting new ideas wherever he can.
Jamie Gleason is the Vice President Of Enrollment Strategy at Direct Development. He brings over 15 years of higher education experience to the team; almost a decade of which was spent on campus(es) and nearly six years was in edtech. A self-proclaimed "farmer + fixer," Enrollment has always provided the perfect challenge for him! He's happiest when mining through spreadsheets, results, and (generally) any type of data!
We partner with the best, to provide the best information.
A full-service marketing technology agency
DD Agency is a digital marketing agency for higher education with a propensity for marketing technology. They're the only HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency that exclusively serves the enrollment marketing space. Living out their mission statement "We help Davids beat Goliaths" means DD helps clients develop inbound marketing strategies that use content and marketing automation to achieve their enrollment goals. Whether you're looking for a full-fledged, 12-month strategic marketing plan, or just a fresh approach to a blitz campaign, they're the marketing partner you want in your corner! The DD team is guided by 6 core values: treat clients like family, be ridiculously helpful, challenge conventional thinking, treasure transparency, adapt and improve, and "make it fridge-worthy."learn more
The Pivot is a bi-weekly podcast that addresses real-time enrollment marketing challenges and meets them head-on with strategic insights and tactics. Join Tony Fraga, Jamie Gleason, and Shane Kehl to get inspired, build a game plan, and find your next great pivot.
This show is hosted and brought to you by the giant slayers at DD Agency —an enrollment marketing technology agency that helps colleges and universities recruit right-fit students through SEO, content marketing, and marketing automation. Learn more about DD Agency here.
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