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How can university websites support student recruitment strategies when those goals compete for website real estate with other goals from the many stakeholders that make up any institution of higher education?

The websites that support higher-education institutions are vast. In addition to their undergraduate schools, universities also have post-graduate schools of medicine, law, and more, and each of these schools is individually complex. Many universities also have theaters and sporting venues that promote events and sell tickets to external audiences, and these too are complex businesses. The fundraising arms of these institutions compete with other charities in one of the most competitive segments of the digital universe. An analysis of the user types for large universities would produce a long list of user types. Universities can adopt the following techniques to create effective engagement for prospective students.

1. “Gateway Experience” Landing Pages Support Student Recruitment Strategies

Using “gateway experiences” as primary landing pages for inbound prospective students offers users a more contextual way to find what they are looking for quickly. Instead of hidden landing pages optimized primarily for form capture, scrolling gateway pages present key messages that drive recruitment interest using various content types and media. This provides enrollment valuable insight into user behavior and interests. If a prospective student clicks from a social ad to a gateway page to play a video about Arts on Campus, using properly implemented taxonomy, universities can automate remarketing to that student with content types and topics specifically related to their interests.

2. Engagement Analytics Tagging Enables Universities to Build Deeper, More Refined Audience Profiles

Tagging your gateway experiences for engagement analytics at the content component level creates a foundation for more personalized communications and experience throughout the student decision journey. Measuring engagement at each touchpoint to further understand the factors influencing a specific student’s decision allows universities to build more refined audience profiles that are the stepping stone to personalization. Using engagement analytics, you can define micro-segments for personas that align with your specific recruitment goals and then serve content that is highly personalized for each of these micro-segmented personas. Personalized communications, specifically toward the end of the decision journey, significantly increases the chances that a student will apply and ultimately choose to enroll.

3. Content Management Systems Support Immediate Needs and Longer-Term Student Recruitment Strategies

In the past 24 months, the primary content management system (CMS) software companies have made significant investments to improve and expand cloud-based content management and marketing platforms. Choosing the right platform not only enables quick updates to the very large library of content that is part of a university website, but also creates the opportunity to leverage that content across all digital touchpoints.

Which CMS is right for me? This is a question we at DefinedLogic are asked frequently. As an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Community Partner, AEM is a tool we recommend and use with clients. However, there are many factors to consider when selecting a CMS. We have successfully delivered several university projects, and all of them included updates and improvements to their CMS implementation. We always evaluate the CMS currently in use. To us, the most important thing is to use a CMS that offers the functionality needed by the client to achieve their current business goals within the context of a digital marketing capability roadmap.

For more information about our higher education experience, view the following case studies for reference and contact DefinedLogic for a consultation.

New York University

Monmouth University

View our Adobe webinar: “How to Use Contextual Experiences and Micro-Segmentation to Improve Prospective Student Engagement.”

*Note: You must have Adobe Connect installed on your computer.

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