How LinkedIn Boosts Nurture Performance for Higher Education Marketers
From consideration to enrollment, prospects expect to hear from schools on LinkedIn
The higher education enrollment journey doesn’t always make sense when viewed as a traditional marketing funnel. Prospective students can take up to 18 months of consideration before finally deciding to enroll, they can be at different stages of the process across different schools, and they draw on many sources of information to help them make their final decision.
The uniqueness of the higher education enrollment process challenges marketers to get the right message to the right person at the right time using a range of messaging and thought leadership. When higher education marketers shift their focus from leads to nurturing high-quality prospects throughout the length of their journey, they enjoy a higher return on investment and broader recognition as contributors to final enrollment numbers.
According to internal research, students driven from LinkedIn are two and a half times more likely to graduate and do so 25 percent faster than students recruited from other platforms.
Students expect to hear from schools on LinkedIn. Research from Carnegie Dartlet, a higher education marketing firm with 30 years of experience in the field, found that for grad school prospects in the research stage preference for professional networks is two times that of social networks. That figure is even higher for prospects considering a bachelors degree.
Still, prospective students have questions and schools should be prepared to field them regardless of where they are in their enrollment journey. Prospects in the consideration phase want to know how the school will return value as opposed to mere facts about the school. They worry about the amount of time and money a degree requires, and your messaging should address these concerns directly with content that underscores the wealth of opportunities available to students. This can include student success stories, webinars, blogs from instructors, and third-party media covering your institution in a positive light.
When it comes to the final phase of conversion, LinkedIn data provides a common source of truth that helps marketing work more closely with their colleagues in the admissions department.
“Even though we're marketers, we are also big players in what happens with enrollment, said Jackie Weissman, Associate Director for Digital Marketing at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business. “And we have to take responsibility for what's happening farther down the line.”
Of course, the marketer’s job doesn’t end at enrollment. Higher education marketers and their colleagues in the admissions office should consider the overall success of a prospect. LinkedIn helps predict which prospects today will be tomorrow’s evangelists.
“LinkedIn gives us more of an in-depth dive into prospects and that glimpse allows us to better see what they will be able to offer our program,” said Bill Conlon, assistant director of the master of science and business program at the Catholic University of America.
Weissman said that the partnership with LinkedIn goes beyond insight into prospects. There’s a depth of knowledge about higher education that other platforms don’t share. “Our LinkedIn partners are extremely knowledgeable about what’s happening in higher education and the need to be relentlessly creative,” Weissman said. “They have a really wonderful, comprehensive view of what's possible and we're constantly working together to come up with new ideas.”