Nurturing the Student & Donor Relationship

by | Mar 18, 2019 | Academic, Commercial

How easy is it to find the world’s best student recruitment or development person? Yeah, we know it’s not easy. Lead nurture campaigns do more than you think. The premise of lead nurture is simple…. entice, engage and eventually win over your target. In education, you have limited opportunities with a prospective student to win their application. Perhaps they are most interested in the academics vs. sports, amenities or institution’s location. In any case, you want to be chatting with them at that the right time about the right topics. Otherwise, the sad reality is that they just may not think of you.

Lead nurture campaigns can be designed for shorter sales cycles as is the case with student recruitment. And, they naturally work great with omnichannel campaigns which are ideal for the student/parent engagements your institution strives to create.

Ironically, lead nurture campaigns can also be very advantageous when the sales cycle is much longer such as the relationship with potential and active donors. It’s a matter of determining which messages will engage the potential donor at the right time. Lead nurture can completely change the results of your development teams by supplementing their outreach and engagement. Building intelligence into your campaigns will simply improve the development process year over year, and results will grow from these efforts.

During either a short or long sales cycle, it’s most important to know when your prospect is showing interest. These campaigns will keep you abreast of which prospects are engaging and with what content or messaging. Imagine walking into the office each week with the top 10 prospects likely to become students or your next best donor. With a lead nurture campaign, you will achieve exactly that.

The success of the campaigns is based on several factors:

Consistent outreach – Teams are stretched to the max. They are responsible for shepherding the relationships with active prospects, responding to inquiries, providing information, overseeing the entire process, and this requires time and diligence. They must prepare their own materials in response to inquiries and build their own development products to attract donors. They are roped into every aspect of the recruitment and development process. And, they aren’t always the best at guessing who they need to target. These campaigns will help provide that focus. They can be set-it and forget-it once they are fine-tuned. And, they ensure there will be intelligent outreach even when your team has turnover or is too busy.

Smart content paths are developed to be sure that when your prospect engages with a specific piece of content either online, in an email, or direct mail, the next communication will be even more relevant to that prospect. These content paths are defined upfront before the campaign launches and provide maximum impact. Their actions define their areas of interest and the likeliness to apply or donate.

Analytics are a great asset in lead nurture campaigns as they are oftentimes multi-channel. Regardless of how many channels are used, the statistics of open, click, action, engagement, etc. are used to drive the next engagement, relative messaging, and even the level of engagement a recipient may receive. Unlike most general marketing campaigns, lead nurture analytics drill down to the individual. Bob Smith has been actively reading emails, clicking through, visiting these web pages and using the online calculator for potential financial aid information. He’s hot for a discussion. Call him.

Automation is based on actions the target has taken in some channel, the actions of your recruitment or development team, activities within a CRM, or even other historical information known about the prospect. You will be constantly nurturing 100s or 1000s of individuals based on their unique person. The automation is key to cost control and performance.

Lead nurture campaigns can be fully automated or require some interaction. In either case, the premise is the same – great content, automation, multichannel engagement. Integration with leading CRMs or other data systems is ideal. The ability to constantly improve the funnel of communications and engagements means lead nurture campaigns will not improve each and every time you modify the campaign. And, this happens instantly for all future interactions.

Think of how you can automate your team’s contacts for greater results. If you don’t think your team reached out to enough people or the right people last month, then how do you expect this month’s applications to meet expectations? Build the automation and everyone wins.

Lead nurture campaigns can be costly and complicated to set up. Let TAG’s crew show you the easiest path to implementation. Consistent evolution of any lead nurture program will simply provide better and better results. The investment of energy and dollars is well worth it. Look at your team’s performance and the changes within the team. Ask yourself two questions, have any prospects been forgotten and has your team consistently engaged all prospects to increase close rates?

See a live demonstration of communication engagement paths, CRM integrations, and much more. Ask your TAG representative, today.

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