Is your school growing?
We all love data when evaluating the success of marketing campaigns, website redesigns or the performance of our admissions teams. But are we using it to establish our growth strategies? We should!
When working to increase enrollment in your school, setting executable and attainable goals to drive your strategies is a must. There is nothing wrong with making them difficult, just not impossible. Setting unattainable targets do more damage than good. It deflates the team and likely impacts agendas across the entire operation. So how do we create a successful growth plan?
Focus On These Five Key Metrics To Increase School Enrollment
There are a number of ways to increase college admissions, and it all starts with knowing each phase of your prospective students’ enrollment journey. The following five key metrics can serve as the dashboard for their journey as long as you have them, understand them, and tie them together.
There are many valuable metrics. However, we have seen the greatest improvements in student enrollment with these always in front of us. Keep reading, and you will see a very simple way to develop enrollment goals for your programs. Starting with basic website traffic data and some data mining in your student administration system or CRM you can build a plan that is doable, trackable and simple.
The Data You Need To Have:
- Website Traffic
- Leads or Contacts Generated
- Applications Received
- Enrollments Received
- Enrollments Received that Started Class
1. Calculate Website Traffic To Lead Conversion Rate
Understanding how much traffic is visiting your site and even your specific program pages are imperative. At the most basic level, how many contacts or leads are submitted from that traffic? Using this metric helps us understand how many visitors to the website are necessary to generate the required number of leads. The principal can be applied to individual programs or across an entire school.
Formula: Leads Generated ÷ Website Traffic × 100
2. Calculate Lead To Application Conversion Rate
To calculate this, you divide your number of applications by the number of leads generated for a specific period. Factors such as application fee requirements or if students need specific documents submitted to be considered an applicant need to be understood and mapped out first, so every application meets the same criteria to be considered an applicant.
Understanding your student's enrollment journey and specifically how long on average it takes for your students to progress from a lead to enrollment will be very helpful too. We will cover more on that in our next post on the subject. And, like the Traffic to Lead conversion, understanding which leads sources are converting the best allows you to focus your marketing spend accordingly. That’s huge; we want to spend money on the leads that convert.
Formula: Applications Received ÷ Leads Generated × 100
3. Calculate Application To Enrollment Conversion Rate
Like Applications in the last section, having a defined set of requirements for someone to be considered enrolled is a must. Once those definitions are in place, and you have this conversion rate for your school, it is easy to set application goals per week/per admissions team member since we know how many applications will likely convert to an enrollment.
Divide the enrollments received by the applications received. Many schools focus only on the enrollment number as they track their daily or weekly progress. By moving that view earlier into the perspective students enrollment cycle, we are better able to monitor how our upcoming classes are filling and make adjustments accordingly.
Formula: Enrollments Received ÷ Applications Received × 100
4. Calculate Lead To Enrollment Conversion Rate
This metric tells the big picture. How many of the leads that your marketing generated converted to enrollments. Divide enrollments received by leads generated. It can function as the high-level marker for the overall performance of the marketing and admissions team. Each directly affects this metric and must work together for it to increase.
This conversion rate represents everything between a lead coming into finalizing that prospective student's commencement in classes. The days of marketing and admissions silos are over when reaching and connecting with today's students.
Formula: Enrollments Received ÷ Leads Generated × 100
5. Calculate Enrollment to Start Conversion Rate
This is the final metric to setting goals for your team. How many enrolled students started divided by the number that enrolled. In some cases, this is 100%, and in other cases, it may be 50%. Usually, this variance has to do with the requirements a school has in place for a student to be officially enrolled.
There are clear advantages to optimizing the enrollment stages throughout the student's journey in a way to help them progress and provide accurate forecasting of results. Not knowing how many students will be sitting in class until the first day is a difficult way to grow a school. And like the previous two metrics, understanding the enrolled to start conversion for each lead source can further refine your marketing spend and allocation.
Formula: Enrollments Started ÷ Enrollments Received x 100
Crunch The Numbers
So you spent the time and have these data points, what’s next? Find your baseline, understanding how things are performing now is essential to creating new goals. Then start asking the following questions. What are the enrollment goals necessary to drive the required revenue? How many leads are necessary to achieve that goal? Of the leads, how many applications are needed to produce the required enrollments? How many enrollments will our applications produce? Does there need to be a compensation for enrolled students that don't start? Now that you have those answers, you know your enrollment goals and the conversion rates the team needs to be achieving to reach your targets and ring the bell.
The Next Step
If you are interested in knowing how your school measures up to its competition and how to create a sustainable enrollment growth strategy, we'd love to hear from you.
You can also use our Enrollment Conversion Calculator to crunch your numbers and send yourself the results.
I bet you will learn something you can use!