Finding Future-Friendly Digital Marketing Channels

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Andrea Maconachy, EVP of Marketing at All Campus, joined the podcast to talk about finding blue ocean marketing opportunities in an increasingly difficult and attribution-fuzzy paid media landscape.

In terms of where we should steer our marketing dollars. Cross channels is going to be really important. Diversification really important. We still think paid search is going to be relevant in the future. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect ETU podcast network. I'm Eric Olsen with Helix Education and we're here today with Andrea mcconichie, executive vice president of marketing at all campus. Andrea, welcome to the show. Thanks, Eric. I'm excited to be here, really excited to talk with you today about finding blue ocean marketing opportunities...

...in an increasingly difficult paid media landscape. Yes, before we dig into that conversation, can you give the listeners a little background on all campus in your role? They're sure. So. All campus is an online program management company. We offer comprehensive, tailored services. So research, marketing and recruitment, enrollment student services and we primarily focus on the top a hundred and fifty institutions in the US. So produced, Columbia, University of Arizona, Ucla and the underbuilt are just a few of our partners. Are Focus is mainly on master's degrees and microcredentials. Andrew, to kick us off today, how do you think about marketing attribution in this digital world that's getting data fuzzier by the day? Sure so, I first want to address the attribution point, because attribution has never been perfect and there's a lot of ways that you can go about it. You know, whether you're looking at attribution based on first inquiry...

...or last inquiry, or across channels or you're waiting it in some way. So you know it's never perfect and we use a bunch of those to dictate our marketing decisions. But on the point about getting Fuzzier, I've been in the industry for a while, as have you, Eric, and it's almost like we're reverting back to the good old days. You know, we've we've had this great period of time. We've had all this rich data at our fingertips and you know, I am enthusiastic because I feel like we've been in this, you know seat before where we've had to make decisions based on, you know, not all the puzzle pieces spitting quite right, and we made it work then and we can make it work again. Yeah, you mentioned the increasingly fuzzy disconnect in a but with a reminder that it's always been a little bit fuzzy. Always Been Fuzzy, yes, but but in terms of paid media channels like facebook and Google, we are seeing these trends toward increase...

...user privacy. We're seeing their own platform changes that are making perfect attribution more difficult than ever. How are you thinking about where to steer your marketing dollars in this harder to verify digital marketing landscape? Yeah, it's a great question. So I want to point out that currently the marketers facing the most significant challenge are obviously those that are really reliant on social media, facebook and especially apple users. Right, in terms of where we should steer our marketing dollars cross channels, it's going to be really important. Diversification really important. We still think paid search is going to be relevant in the future. I realized that Google has pushed back their privacy changes to two thousand and twenty three. So there's still some time to figure it out. But these platforms are based off of ad revenue and so we're confident that they're going to find a way...

...to to help us out. It's just going to take some time to get there. So we think paid search is still going to be relevant and and high converting, but this is also a time it's actually pretty exciting, you know, to think about you and emerging platforms. So some of the ones that that we're looking at our bang of course, Linkedin, Reddit, Cora, ticktock, snapchat, podcasts, influencers. There's there's a lot to kind of play with and you know, at first blush you think, well, this doesn't seem like it would be appropriate for Higher Ed and you know it's time to get creative and think about that right. You know, for us, Linkedin in particular has generated mixed results, I can say, but they're doing some creative things to with conversation ads and form ads, which, you know, is testing direct engagement with perspective students. So, you know, I think these platforms are are realizing their potential and it's just going to going...

...to take a while and some creativity on our part to make them work. So so there's that. And then finally, you know, in terms of investment of time, Steo, you know it. People think of Seo as as an earned activity, but it does cost. You know, it cost time, cost resources and for us, you know, the the prospects, the prospective students we generate all campus through earned convert about to x to three x better than paid search. So it's a really big focus for us and something that, you know, we think is going to sustain in the future. Yeah, I love how you're thinking about this in terms of timing and sequence, in terms of okay, hios fourteen, five and fifteen updates of came. Let's refigure out facebook. We have until two thousand and twenty three to figure out Google. Yeah, how do we start thinking about till then? When you're trying to think as future friendly as possible in terms of what can we build today that we think is not going to be only for the...

...next six months or even the next three years, but maybe the next ten, what are the the marketing channels and strategies that you think might be the most future proof, even as we navigate toward these increasing trends of increasing data privacy. Yeah, I you know, again I go back to our core channels. I think Google is going to fix this, I really do. I know there's a focus on privacy, but you know, you're seeing it already with you know, and any time you enter a site nowadays you get a cookie permission. Right. It's almost becoming just a standard and something you just click, you know. So we think that Google is going to to win the game. Their ad revenue is way too important and we always can fall back on even with the impact of privacy laws, the upper fun on metrics that we have like click through rate, impression share, clicks, like shares, all of that will still be visible to us and we'll be able to make some some good decisions off of that. And then again, you...

...know, I stress strongly to have a really solid content marketing strategy and Seo Strategy. It can be a little bit difficult because you know, the content that you produced might not hit the way you expect. It's a long term game. You might not get the rankings that you want, you know. I know for us we recently had some really strong articles that we produced on behalf of purdue and all of a sudden, boom overnight our rankings dropped because the Google Algorithm had decided that they were going to prioritizecom's with the ratings ahead of our own DOT EDU program I yeah, it was. It was really interesting to see and and sure enough, just a few weeks later the it shifted it back because Google realize that they weren't getting the clicks out of thosecom's or the you know, the leads coming from from that that page. So you know, we are confident, maybe maybe too confident, in Google that...

...that they'll fix it. And another suggestion that I'd have on the content development side is is prioritizing your research and development of that unbranded content. So you know you've got perspective students that are are kind of dabbling and are researching the degrees, but they're also probably researching other things that are ancilary to the degrees. So you know, what articles can you write that, you know, for is, on keywords that aren't directly related to the degree program that you're covering? You know we've written articles cloud security versus network security. What's the difference careers with a master's degree in social work? And think we even have an article right now that's focused on esports. That's related to one of the master's degrees, and in sport marketing that we cover. So these can be great opportunities for a university with a strong DOTU domain to get really great, well researched content in front of prospects and even just get them to the site,...

...knowing that they'll be able to retarget and remark it to them later. Yeah, let's dig into that apparatus of how do we not only magnetize those students to our site but then get at them into our funnel. So I love how you talked about content strategy and SEO and in Google, hopefully we can trust long term in terms of being effective and efficient ways to get perspective students to our site. Then what we create content that Google serves that students are interested in. We get the student to the site. How do we then get the student into and through our enrollment funnels? Sure, so, you know, we've consulted with a lot of universities on this point and the biggest thing that I can say that did differentiates the sites that we produce on behalf of our partners with with higher ed sites in general, that you know, Sirt have to serve a wide variety of constituents, you know, current...

...students, sports, etc. Our sites are conversion driven. You know, they're built to be conversion driven. Every page has a form. The form asks for very concise information. I feel like I've seen forms on university websites that are basically asking for everything except the prospective students blood type. You know, they go away too far right, whereas we recommend first name, last name, email address, phone number and really that's it, and making sure that you have something to offer and exchange for that information. So a brochure download or career guide can go a long way. And then also utilizing chats. I feel like a lot of institutions don't utilize chat as much as they could. We use a Lark. They've been a very good chat provider for us and, you know, in certain instances I think all are. Unfortunately took this functionality away, but we we had our advisors image alongside the the chat window and we would frequently get perspective students asking You, are you a...

...real person or a Bot? Say No, we're a real person. So I recommend not using bots if you can. And we've found that a quality chat converts just as well as a phone interview. So you know, chat can be a really, really useful tool, particularly in a day where, perspective, students might be less likely to give up their information or might be less likely to pick up a phone call. And then, of course, you know, we supplement our advisor outreach with email, with SMS, text messaging, and we try to be what we call pleasantly persistent. So we want to make sure we're not and in dating these prospects with too much at one time. We have plenty of testimonials from enrolled students that said at the service that they were provided by the enrollment team really was the difference maker in going down the enrollment path with our partner versus a competitor. So so you...

...can't really count out enrollment and and that's my next recommendation, is partner with enrollment. I have found oftentimes that marketing is on one side of the fence and enrollment is on the other side of the fence. And you know, there's the there's the people that generate the prospects and then there's the people that are tasks with converting them, and you really have to work together. Then enrollment advisors are just each treasure trove of information. They're the one speaking to the the prospects. They know, you know what's what they're thinking, what's going on in their field and and we've found that even just having some great conversations with the enrollment team on the phone is can generate seo article ideas can inform our landing page, testing headlines can inform body copy on our website. So I encourage you to reach out to enrollment if you are and more of a psiloid structure at your university. Andrew a great stuff. Finally, any next steps, advice or highed marking teams? They're looking to navigate all these...

...new digital marketing changes and challenges. Maybe your one big piece of advice you can give us moving forward? I would say that don't be afraid of leading edge strategies, and one thing that we've done in support of that in our organization that might be useful is arming your your a staff, your marketing strategists, with kind of a lane to communicate with one another. So what we've done is we've got a an email that we curate. It's Bi weekly, it's cross functional, so our SEO experts will put in a couple of articles that they found. Are paid media experts will put in a couple articles that they found social it's just across the marketing team. It all goes into one one document and it's shared across the marketing team and and even other teams within the organization so that everybody's brainstorming, learning about what everyone else is doing in...

...the industry and it just creates a really cohesive environment so that we can just continue to move the needle forward and not with the site of what's next. Andrew, thank you so much of your time today. What's the best place for listeners to reach out if they have any follow up questions? Thank you, Eric. It's been a pleasure. Those that are interested in more about all campus can and of course, it is at our website, all Campuscom we'd love to hear from you. Awesome, Andrew. Thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you, Eric. It's been a blast. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've...

...been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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