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GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | January 30th, 2019

How EMBA Prospects Choose Their Future Programs

The decision-making process for a prospect to enroll in an Executive MBA program is painfully long. Statistics show that this process can take up to two years. So what can you do to speed up the process? Develop — and implement —  a pull-through digital enrollment marketing strategy.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is a key component of any successful marketing strategy, online or offline. Don’t throw a wide net; targeting will produce better results. Why? Because you will be delivering relevant content. If you bid on keywords that are too broad, you may be wasting your online advertising dollars. To promote a Healthcare EMBA program, for instance, both the keywords and the ad messaging must be specific. Otherwise, you may receive a great number of leads but not quality leads. Quality leads are more engaged in your EMBA program and, therefore, more likely to commit sooner.

Timing

Timing is everything. While you want your online ads to appear prior to your program deadlines, you also want prospects to see them at key stages in their decision-making process. Keep in mind that, although these two timelines may intersect at certain points, the overlap may be minimal. That’s why you should schedule ads throughout the calendar year, not just based on the academic calendar.

So what are some of the stages that prospects will go through on their path to enrolling? Here are a few common stages:

  1. Considering an EMBA
  2. Deciding what type of EMBA program
  3. Seeking information
  4. Applying
  5. Enrolling

Reasons Why a Prospect Stalls

Just because you get a prospect into the funnel, that doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing. Bottlenecks can pop up anywhere:

  • Cost of the program
  • Concerns regarding work-life balance
  • Questioning ROI of EMBA degree

Offering Incentives

Your program positioning and digital marketing strategy must address and overcome these and other obstacles. You can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by offering incentives for early enrollment.

First, financial incentives will help to bring down the overall cost of an EMBA. Second, incentives can help shorten the decision-making process.

What kinds of incentives can you offer? That depends on your program’s pricing and operations budget. Some programs offer scholarships, waive application or GMAT fees (some programs waive the GMAT altogether), or pay for textbooks. Other programs offer incentives to specific groups, such as military veterans.

If you find that work-life balance is an issue for prospects, take a look at your program format. EMBA programs must be willing to rethink traditional models in order to appeal to professionals with limited bandwidth. Programs with flexible scheduling will have an advantage over those with rigid formats and may prompt commitments earlier in the decision-making process.

Your digital marketing strategy must demonstrate program ROI. How? Include testimonials on ROI from current students and alumni. If favorable, compare your tuition to that of other EMBA programs. Survey your alumni to find out how they moved up the career ladder (and how quickly) and how much their salaries increased post-graduation. Collect stats, and then use them to your advantage.

Digital enrollment marketing is more than just “setting and forgetting” a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. Your strategy should be made up of many components: keyword optimization, banner and search ads, landing pages, search engine optimized (SEO) web content, social media advertising, retargeting campaigns and more. Your online campaign also should be consistent in visuals and messaging with offline marketing.

Don’t forget to monitor your campaigns. Tracking results will reveal which components worked best, and which fell flat. Then tweak your campaigns for optimal results.

A coordinated, consistent, ongoing marketing effort will produce the best results and, ultimately, shorten the prospect’s decision-making timeline.

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Alicia Lyons | December 15th, 2018

3 Ways Consistent Marketing Can Save Your Graduate Program

Do you feel like you are constantly paying for digital marketing and garnering little results? Most programs are unsatisfied with their Return On Investment (ROI), but when they try to fix it, they don’t know where to start. What most programs don’t know is that it’s likely your marketing plan that’s to blame. But it isn’t the plan itself that’s the problem, it’s that you’re not following it consistently. The majority of marketing plans fail due to inconsistent posting, overextending platform use, and reactionary responses.

Stick to a Consistent Marketing Plan

At the beginning of each academic year (before the start of the semester) your team should create a marketing plan. The plan should be consistent and utilize a marketing and social media calendar. You should know what and when to post no later than a month in advance. Try to stay consistent.  This is key. Marketing efforts consisting of events, networking, newsletters, speaking engagements, and deadlines are considered targeted marketing and create a sense of immediacy that attracts leads and creates conversions. This doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to market them. As soon as an event is scheduled you should include it in your marketing plan.

Don’t Overextend Your Platform Use

Another trap most graduate programs fall into is overextending their platform use. Efforts pay-off when you use a level of constraint. It’s easy to want to post on all of the social media platforms. This heightens awareness, right? More platforms, more leads! If your marketing department cannot handle this workload or if you don’t have the content to support the plan this may end up hurting your program. Try to stick to one platform at a time and work your way up. Consider your audience personas and choose the platforms that best suit your prospective students. Also, remember these widely accepted rules:

Facebook = Awareness

LinkedIn = Connections

Twitter = Spreads the Word

Instagram = Is Hardly Ever For Over 25-Year-Olds

Don’t Fall into the Trap of Knee-Jerk Posting

The three pitfalls that can lead to reactionary posting are:

  • There are so many new inquiries, you no longer feel the need to market. A few weeks or months later, there is not a single prospective student in sight.
  • You are not receiving the ROI that you expected, so you utilize a knee-jerk response by randomly posting everywhere. Here, you lose the consistency that we spoke about before, and this leaves your audience confused or bombarded.
  • You didn’t plan accordingly for an upcoming event or deadline. At the last minute you post anywhere and everywhere to increase exposure.

Reactionary posting leads to marketing plans that are never executed. At the beginning of the year, you spent a great deal of time and effort formulating the perfect marketing plan. Why abandon it now?

Inconsistent marketing can confuse and frustrate your audience. It may leave them feeling unsettled and as a result they may find your program untrustworthy. A thoroughly planned and consistently executed marketing plan will result in more leads, more conversions, and more students.

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ABOUT GPRS

For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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