Higher education marketers and admissions advisors are facing a conundrum. Recruiting students can be difficult amidst a tight budget and staff shortages, especially considering that the student journey is becoming more complicated thanks to the preponderance of available and necessary marketing channels.
In this environment, streamlining your recruitment and admissions funnel efforts is more important than ever. Marketing automations, when used the right way, can take the load off the shoulders of your staff, building personalized messaging and processes that allow your admissions team and marketers alike to focus on the more complex tasks.
One of the central ways in which your marketing processes and automation platforms can work together is through workflows. Let's examine that concept in more detail, starting with the basic definition and benefits of workflows before digging deep into the 5 types of digital marketing workflows that can help you streamline your admissions enrollment funnel.
What is a Marketing Workflow?
Put simply, a workflow is a series of steps that accomplishes a specific task. For example, a content marketing workflow could include brainstorming a topic, writing the content, getting feedback and improving the content, publishing the content, and then promoting the content on other marketing channels.
In the context of marketing automation, a workflow defines a more specific process that kicks off automatically after some kind of trigger, then executes a number of actions before finishing once a final condition has been met. Think of a simple email stream as a perfect example:
- A prospect fills out a form to learn more about your institution, kicking off the workflow.
- The workflow executes a number of actions, like sending three emails to the prospect with information about your college or university spaced about a week apart.
- The last email sent is the final condition, finishing the workflow.
This process repeats every time something in your database or CRM triggers the workflow, meaning anytime a condition in the database changes you've defined as the starting position.
The basic concept, though, remains the same: a workflow standardizes marketing tasks, streamlining efforts in the process.
How Can a Workflow Save Your Team Valuable Time?
Naturally, the biggest benefit of marketing workflows is just how much time they can save. A set of standard instructions for creating content, for example, allows everyone on the team to plan their schedule around exactly when they're needed and helps publish the content in time.
For automated workflows, those time savings are even more significant. Marketing automation giant HubSpot, for instance, identified 37 marketing-related tasks that could be completely automated using workflows. Instead of having to work each of these manually, the workflow only requires periodic check-ins to ensure that everything continues to work as intended.
5 Types of Digital Marketing Workflows to Streamline the Admissions Funnel
Of course, the benefits of workflows are only possible to realize if you know just what to set up in order to succeed. These 5 types of digital marketing workflows in particular can go a long way towards optimizing your education marketing efforts and saving both time and resources in the process.
1) Prospect Nurturing Campaigns
What happens when a new student interested in your school enters your prospect database? The answer to this question is one of the most crucial pieces of streamlined college enrollment process. You'll need to send an immediate email, but follow-ups can be just as beneficial in getting your new inquiry to pay attention.
A workflow can help you standardize this process, establishing clear protocols on what emails should go out and when, and how printed materials should enter the equation. It should also include conditions for personalization, allowing you to present information differently based on the field of study and extracurricular interests of each student.
2) Event and Campus Visit Confirmations
Many admissions recruitment efforts center around the campus visit, which remains one of the most important ways to encourage prospective students to apply. A workflow on this topic includes the steps needed to make sure anyone signing up for a visit gets both the information and the final nudge to actually attend the event.
For example, the workflow can include the initial sign-up confirmation email as well as a calendar event. Follow-ups remind students what to bring, while a final email may include driving directions and the parking pass. You can even build in a call from an advisor student tour guide that prompts each registrant to attend in a more personalized fashion.
3) Admissions Advisor and Territory Assignments
This workflow is typically simple but still crucial: when a new prospect or applicant enters your database, how can you make sure they get assigned the right admissions advisor for initial outreach? A workflow, especially when automated, can simplify this process, making sure that the right staff member is always working with the right students.
4) Content Creation and Promotional Workflows
As mentioned in the opening section above, content creation workflows can go a long way toward streamlining the work done to create, publish, and promote blog posts, landing pages, and any other types of content that your audiences might be interested in. Set them up with defined timelines to ensure that each piece of content moves through the publication and promotional schedule without bottlenecks.
5) Social Media Planning and Promotion Workflows
Finally, social media has taken on a core role in communicating to prospective students, especially considering that it's now the single most important informational resource for high school students. Of course, the constant need for content on these platforms can also be difficult, unless you streamline it through a workflow.
This workflow might include anything from planning out the content calendar to publishing posts and responding to comments. The goal, as always: to simplify tactical processes so that the marketing team can focus on the more strategic aspects of promoting the school and recruiting future students.
How to Set Up Well-Working Marketing Workflows to Maximize ROI and Improve the Student Journey
Marketing workflows are as old as the profession itself. What's made them a buzzword in modern circles is just how much more powerful they became with modern marketing automation platforms.
Solutions like HubSpot, in fact, have opened up new worlds of possibilities in relation to marketing automation and lead nurturing. Almost entirely customizable workflows can be used to take tedious tasks out of the hand of marketers and enrollment managers, improving the recruitment ROI for educational institutions significantly in the process.
All of the above workflow types, in fact, can be enhanced through automation. Nurturing campaigns can be set up entirely within the platform, even adding personalized branches to send different messages based on student interests. Post-visit registration workflows can send both automated nudges and vital information, while counselor assignments happen dynamically and content workflows are enhanced through automated promotions and notifications to task owners.
That's how marketing automation workflows can not just improve, but potentially transform your recruitment efforts. Ready to learn more about integrated strategies that leverage these workflows for maximum ROI? Let's chat!