How to roll out a successful content marketing campaign
We’ve talked a lot on our blog about what goes into creating a successful multi-channel content marketing campaign, from choosing images to writing content. However, even a great content marketing campaign won’t get the results you need if you don’t roll it out well.
It’s best to make decisions about the campaign launch early in the development process. You need to choose the most productive delivery strategies you can afford, determine a release date, and plan for increased interest in your programs.
Making the right decisions about these questions will give your college’s content marketing campaign the greatest chance of success. Today on the blog we will tackle each of these topics, passing on what we’ve learned from countless effective content marketing campaigns.
Choosing the right delivery strategy
Print campaigns are still the gold-standard for reaching nontraditional students. The investment you make in direct mailings can pay tremendous dividends. However, when doing this, it’s important to target your mailings effectively.
A common strategy we use is taking the addresses of students over the past two, three, or four semesters and running these against a postal carrier route database. We eliminate any non-productive carrier routes, (those that have produced no students during previous semesters), leaving only the routes with the highest probability of producing an increase in student enrollment.
At the end of the campaign, we will want to review your new semester enrollment against your service area. We do this analysis at the carrier route level. The information this provides can save thousands of dollars on upcoming mailings, making your mailings even more effective and productive.
If your budget doesn’t include funds for mailings, an online campaign can be created for a substantially reduced cost. We recommend optimizing your digital feeds and coordinating online ad campaigns targeting your student demographic, using content from your online edition of CareerFocus. Research shows that prospective students are highly engaged online, and this can be a strong enrollment marketing plan.
Timing is Key
We strongly recommend that you launch your multi-channel content campaign early in each registration cycle. Allow for a bit of time prior to any deadlines, keeping in mind that readers will need some time to discuss their decision to return to school with family, employers, and friends.
Most schools will do three campaigns per year, the first launching in April, before the summer enrollment period; the second in early July, prior to fall registration; and the final campaign at the end of October, ahead of the winter term.
If you are doing a multi-channel content campaign, the online edition and social media advertising should be timed to coincide with the mailing of the magazine. Reinforced messages are the most powerful, so prospective students should be hearing from your school consistently along multiple channels.
Responding the right way
Key content should always include clear information about contact and enrollment options. Make sure your call-to-action is clear, and you have informed staff ready to handle a surge in interest. It’s critical that you answer the phone, respond to online form submissions, and reply to emails.
Properly handling these requests for information will ultimately determine the success of your student enrollment efforts. Our research suggests that even something as small as routing callers to voicemail leads to a drop-in enrollment levels and diminishes the impact of the campaign.
Coordinating a response to the campaign is as important as designing the campaign itself. Many community college students are the first in their families to attend school, and it’s especially important to have a strong support staff available to walk them through the enrollment marketing plan process.
Tracking the effectiveness of your campaign
We recommend that colleges keep track of the increased call volume and appointment volume after the campaign launches. After our campaigns, call volume will generally increase to 3 to 4 times its normal level, immediately following the delivery of the magazine to mailboxes.
We can also use analytics data to evaluate online engagement with Aperture campaigns, measuring clicks and page views, and seeing which content is most appealing to a school’s target audience. For instance, we might notice a pattern of engagement with certain articles, suggesting that more content about the same topic would be well received.
With so many new, digital media, multi-channel content marketing tools for data analysis, schools are better able than ever to evaluate the return on every marketing dollar spent. Compiling this sort of information will justify further expenditures and strengthen future campaigns.
Execution is Everything
We spend a lot of time talking about content, because having good content matters. But, unless people open your magazine or click on your articles, your content never has a chance. If you have information people need, they need to see it, and to see it when they want it.
By paying attention to timing, delivery, and response your marketing department can get the sorts of immediate results you need. Enrollment levels will rise, and students will be more likely to persist and complete. However, if you’re tracking the results of your content campaign, and they’re underwhelming, Aperture Content Marketing can help.
We can walk you through the entire process of creating a community college content marketing campaign and handle all the details from printing to delivery. We also will assist in tracking the response to your campaign, so that we can build on successes.