Student personas are also not profiles of your current students. Your current students are very helpful in establishing student personas because you can learn a lot about the kind of students you are currently attracting.
However, your academic programs may be a great fit for prospects who aren't currently enrolled at your school. And what if you have a brand-new program? You would not have any current students on which to base your persona. So, don't just rely on information about existing students to define your student personas.
Simply put, student personas are fictional representations of your ideal student.
They are just like real people, with real personalities, identities, life situations, goals, challenges, and media preferences. The difference is that they don't actually exist.
Student personas are meant to represent a specific version of your ideal student – specifically the type of student you would like a lot more of at your institution.
Prospective students are professionals at researching what your institution has to offer them in the academic, athletic, and social scenes, but they don't want to navigate throughout your 200+ page website to do so.
They want to hear the real challenges and real benefits of receiving an education at your institution from the points of view of your faculty, alumni, and currently enrolled students.
They want to actually get to know your school - its personality, what makes it unique, what it offers them that differs from everyone else - they don't just want to learn about it generically.
Creating content like digital resource libraries, eBooks, guides, videos, checklists, financial aid calculators and more, will leverage your institution as a thought leader and validate your online presence as a true resource.
Personalization & Context
Inbound Enrollment Marketing provides a context for the content you are creating. It takes educational content and applies conversion-centric strategies and techniques in order to generate prospective applicants.
Inbound takes your content and tracks it with marketing technology in order to help you better understand what your prospective students are reading, watching and downloading so that you can send them more content that is highly relevant to them.
By developing student personas, and establishing effective marketing automation, you can personalize a prospect’s next visit to your website based on that contextual information you have already gathered about them.
It’s essential that you create conversion-centric content that is relevant to each stage of the Applicant Journey. Your goal as an enrollment marketer is to nurture prospects through the enrollment funnel as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Inbound Enrollment Marketing requires “no marketing dead ends.” For example, if a prospect downloads an eBook on “If, When, and Where to Go to Graduate School”, chances are this prospect is in the “awareness” stage of the applicant journey.
Rather than simply thanking the downloader and giving them access to the guide on the thank you page, you should ALWAYS have a secondary content offer. So, in this case, offering a contextually-relevant guide on “How the Admissions Process at DD University Works” would make sense. If the contact proceeds to download this piece as well, chances are they will move through the Applicant Journey relatively quickly.
As you learned in the above section on the changing marketing mix, today’s student recruitment strategy requires a diverse marketing channel portfolio.
Inbound Enrollment Marketing is all about diversification! Inbound is about creating content that is relevant and appropriate for each channel: From social media, to email, to video, to direct mail, and more.
It’s not enough to take one piece of content and push it out on every channel. Inbound requires you to customize each content deliverable for the appropriate channel. For example, let’s say you want to promote a “Guide to DD’s MBA Program.” Facebook Leads Ads is a great tool to use when it comes to simple, content conversions.
Now, let’s say you want to promote this guide on Instagram and Snapchat as well. Since these platforms have different audiences and promote content in different formats, a “lead ad” won’t work.
So, you’ll need to get someone from the social app to a landing page on your website to download the guide.
Therefore, you’ll need content that is more “attractive and engaging”, which in this case, might be a short video on the growing value of an MBA.
Again, the end objective of generating new contacts from this guide remains the same, but the content format you use to achieve said objective will vary based on the promotional channel.
Marketing technology is the glue that holds Inbound Enrollment Marketing together — it’s what makes this strategy doable for busy enrollment teams.
Inbound Enrollment Marketing requires having an inbound marketing platform — like HubSpot. The marketing automation tools that HubSpot offers enables you to leverage prospect behavior data related to content consumption — a method that improves engagement and generates positive applicant conversion results.
You need the ability to know who is visiting your website and what they’re actually reading, before they even think about filling out your inquiry form. Marketing technology helps you do just that!