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Sam ThorsonJanuary, 24, 20223 min read

Why Personalization Matters in Your College Admissions Strategy

It’s time to get personal. Before we do, we must ask ourselves, “What does it mean to get personal” – especially today? In the current era, personalization, when it comes to a marketing strategy, means “information that matters to me.” Today’s digital technology gives marketers the ability to connect influential messaging to students – depending on how they define what “valuable” means.

What does it mean to “be valued”?

“Valuable is a relative term. What one person might consider valuable might be completely irrelevant to someone else,” Epicosity Growth Strategist Sam Thorson said.

People – especially students place a high value on being recognized as an individual. Every app or online social channel offers users a filter to craft so that they only see what they want to see – friend activity, celebrities they like, news they trust, etc. This results in their experience being personally suited to fit their interests.

“Today’s high school students or anyone considering attending a college or university has access to an unbelievable amount of information at their fingertips,” Thorson says, “Basic research through search engines can, and will, answer any and all questions these people have about your school.”

Now, that we know what it means for students to want to feel valued, here are some examples that personify that exact message – and we’ll look at the impacts they created.

Personalized Video

This example comes from South Dakota State University. To aid the students’ decision, we created personalized videos that were sent out to student once they received their acceptance letter. These were created as a part of their “admitted to enrolled” campaign.

These emails were some of the most successful and engaging communication tactics in the entire campaign. In this campaign, there were a total of 5,599 email sent out to male and female students that had been accepted to SDState.

Compare these open and click rates to the industry averages: Open = 21.36% and Click = 7.59%. Nearly 75% of all the activity came from mobile devices. The videos were watched nearly 700 times – that’s roughly two hours and thirteen minutes. 69 admitted students watched the video three times or more.

Personalization is only the first step, however. Now that they feel acknowledged, it’s just as important to nurture your newfound relationship with your prospective students.

Emails: Don’t just respond. Engage.

When a student visits and completes an RFI form, move beyond a response or communications flow and create dynamic engagement that opens multiple pathways that guide students on their journey to enrollment. Their response is your opportunity to start a one-on-one dialogue and deliver content that shows your campus has what they need and is their best choice.

When you deliver an email, make sure they look great across all screens (desktop, mobile, etc.). Nearly three-quarters of seniors and two-thirds of juniors check emails daily via mobile devices. Emails need to responsive for computer screens, smartphones, and tablets.

Email is the third most influential way to communicate to both juniors and seniors – in fact, almost half of them say they get to college sites through email links. All students use it at least once a week.

You need to transform email into a personalized journey.

Email is one of the BEST ways to get a student’s attention and guide them on their journey to enrollment. That all depends on If the emails are personal and relevant to what the student has already revealed to an institution. Combined with advanced techniques like good engagement scores or behavior analytics, an email flow can become a relevant, dynamic experience for that student.

At the end of the day, no matter how many emails you send, it all comes down one question: “Do I feel valued?”

Students look for personalization in everything, and email is one of the best mediums for it to be delivered. Create something that creates value and relates to their experience or desires. If you have information about an incoming student, use it to create meaningful, engaging interactions that can last them through the next four years.

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Sam Thorson

Sam specializes in Higher Education marketing strategies. He works hand in hand with university and college admissions and marketing teams to set goals, launch campaigns, and analyze results. With over 7 years of digital, content, and general marketing experience, Sam dedicates himself to connecting modern marketing strategies to higher education institutions.