Keeping Your Marketing Straight When the World Goes Sideways

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Katie Van Hazelen, Sr. Content Strategist at Helix Education joins Andy Nelson, Vice President of Marketing at Helix Education to discuss the underlying structure that makes for good “attention-getting” communication and marketing in a rapidly distractible world.

Understanding and being empathetic to your audience's needs, regardless of what the situation is, will help you achieve your marketing goals. 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. Hello and welcome to the latest installment and Helix Educations Webinar series, covid nineteen, the Road Map to fall two thousand and twenty. Today we're talking about student parent expectation management under the theme of Keeping Your Marketing Straight when the world goes sideways sank. Everybody for joining us today. My name is sparkie mortimer. I'm the associate director of creative strategy here at Helix and I'm going to be moderating our discussion today. Just a couple of quick housekeeping items before we get into things. This is the twelve Webin are that we've presented in this series. That's pretty incredible, and so if you've been with us for one or more of our webinars in the past. You'll know that there are a couple of things to be aware of. Where recording the session right now and we will post this on our heelings education youtube channel. In the past we've used a otter ai for a live transcript as the meeting is going on. It's being a little glitchy for us today. The wonders of Technology Right, and so unfortunately weren't able to provide that live right now. So we apologize for an inconvenience with that. We will still make a transcript available once we have posted this on Youtube. We are creative problem solvers if nothing else at helix education, so if you'd like a transcript, will be able to provide that a little bit later on. The Qa function is still working though and slack or in Zoom. So if you look at the bottom of your screeners and icon that's is Qa, at any time during the discussion today you're welcome to click on that and submit a question. We've got a couple of questions ahead of time, so thanks for those. We will have a larger QA section at the end, but they're also going to be times in between sections today that will have questions as well, so don't feel like you have to wait for the end of the meeting to ask your question if you've got one. So again, as a reminder, we've been on this journey to fall two thousand and twenty all together. This is the twelve Webinarre that we've had so far. We're going to continue through the month of August and perhaps longer as we continue to answer your questions about this online transition, as we get closer and closer to fall two thousand and twenty, thinking of short term and long term plans to deliver quality online instruction as well as quality online enrollment marketing, and that's going to be our topic today, and so our presenter today are both fabulous, and not just because one's my boss in one I work with pretty much every day. Our first presenter is Andy Nelson. He's the vice president of marketing at Helix Education. Two plus decades of a marketing experience and leadership, including the last several of those years at Helix, feeling various roles. Prior to his current role as WEP management, he was responsible for the innovation implementation team at Helix, and so that involved looking at internal and external processes and procedures and and projects and all sorts of things and finding ways to optimize and improve them, not just for helix benefit but for the benefit of our partner college universities as well. And he's not only a marketing professional when it comes tired, he's also worked on the institutional side at hire at prior to Helix, and so, Andy, we are glad to have you. Be on the lookout for perhaps some folk see APHORISMS, statements of belief as we go and he is is quite one known for those. So no pressure, Andy. Our other presenter today besides Andy Is Katie van Hazeen. She is a senior content strategy for us at Helix Education. I've worked closely with Katie the entire time that she's been at Helix. She's one of my favorite people here. Really well versed in marketing communication, audience segmentation. Market Research has really proved transformative for us at Helix in the way that we communicate with prospective students and keep them engaged all the way throughout their student journey. Those efforts culminated in a Helix Education winning an award from Marquetto it's an adobe company that deals with marketing automation. Thanks to Katie and our collective teams efforts in that Vein Helix, as ward of the two thousand and nineteen orchestrator award from Marquetto and so Katie has proved been dive in many ways for us. Here he looks so I'm so excited for all of you to hear the kinds of insights and expertise that I get to hear every day working alongside and you and Katie. So, Annie, I'm going to turn the time to you to get US started on what we're talking about today. So and you take it away. Thanks for either. That's that's a lot to live up to. It so hopefully, hopefully, we can. We can fulfill some of that. Our goals for the brief time that we have here together are really pretty simple. We want to talk about some of the things that we have come to rely on pretty heavily during the last...

...few months to better understand and manage our enrollment marketing, and we'll do that, of course, through the Lens of Covid Nineteen. It's a little difficult in a form like this to know exactly what the audience is looking for, with the audience needs, but hopefully we'll give you a few things to think about, some ideas of ways you can improve, some things that you might want to consider shure enough, or even some some proposals that you might want to take to the broader team. So our conversation is going to go something like like this. Of course, if you have any questions on along the way, please send them to us. As Park you mentioned, there is a qua feature here in zoom and we'll do our best to cover all of the questions before our time here together is through. So to get US started, are working hypothesis for this Webinar is quite simply this that the basics still apply. So sure that you have heard this quote or one similar to it. It's hard to know exactly who said at first it was probably a Prussian general in somewhere in the mid eighteen hundreds. Many of express similar sentiments. Mike Tyson even weighed in. The great philosopher Mike Tyson weighed in on this and put his spin on things, commenting on an upcoming fight with Vandy Vander Holyfield and report asking about fully field plan for the fight, and he reminded us that everybody has a plan until we get punched in the mouth and so, however you want to look at it, the key is to start with the solid plan and a good foundation. But US expected things are going to change. So even even when things are more ideal, things will change. But the key is to have a good foundation and a good place to start. So, whether you subscribe to the four peas, the seven Pas, the two seas, the four seas or even the six seeds of marketing, the important thing to remember is that even when things get a little nuts, the basics still apply. So don't throw away everything you know when the crisis come. However, you want to slice it up state focused on your audiences, your messages and the modes of communication. When the full impact of Covid nineteen really started to be felt and we started really as a world, to shut things down and and in specifically in the online or in the education space, we started to move things to online courses, there were a lot of people kind of a loose ends. Administrators wrestled with what to do and when to do it, and the mare come. Folks were trying to sort out what all of these decisions meant to their various audiences and how best to communicate to those audiences. The advent of a crisis just simply isn't the time to develop systems and protocol so a crisis like this will test those systems and put pressure on those processes that are already in place and highlight areas, large and small, that needs some showing up, and I will belabor this point, although I could. There are a few things that we've had in place for quite a while, for years, most of them that were absolutely essential at this during this time. The first thing that is critical is a well defined funnel. So understanding the student journey and knowing exactly where the students are along the way is just absolutely critical for your communication strategies and your performance measurements. The use of this funnel and the nomenclature throughout your entire organization facilitates that internal communication and helps to eliminate confusion. One of the things that we this absolutely rely on are the definitions along the student journey so that when I speak with somebody in finance, or do I speak with somebody in enrollment or anybody in the marketing team, when we use those definitions in terms, everybody on understands exactly what we're talking about. And the funnel is fairly well defined. There is a great deal of deal of minutia in the funnel. So we can cut things up and slice things up and get very granular, which is critical. No matter how well and how hard you work to define that funnel, if you don't have good data, if you're not feeding and tracking everything, you're really going to be Hamstrung. Similarly, no matter how good your data is, if you don't have easy access to that data, timely management just simply is not an option. This is one of the most common issues that I've run across in my career. Most companies are far better at collecting the data then they are accessing it, analyzing it and putting it to work. So often to get to the information it would you've got to find people in it who can build and build reports and crew the database and pull stuff out, and then you got to figure out how to manipulate it and share it and visualize it. So this is a real, real must here. You got to figure out how to access that data, and not just one or...

...two people, but everybody in the company needs to be able to see this stuff and to analyze it and react to it in their own in their own sphere. And finally, you're going to be asked to provide forecast and projections. That's one of the inevitable things about life as a marketer, and we'll talk more about this in a minute, but the bottom line here is to make sure that you understand the assumptions in your marketing plane. Plans are full of all sorts of variables and you got to know how all those variables work together in that original plan so you can make proper assessments moving forward. What happens when I pull this lever or that lover or when this metric changes. What's going to happen downstream? Understanding all of that at the outset is absolutely critical because when things start moving fast, you need to know what you can rely on and what what moves in relation to other things. So if covid nineteen is highlighted some deficiencies in any of the areas above, now's the time to start tightening them up and working with the broader teams in your organization to get the resources you need. These basics are important all the time, so there's plenty of justification for putting the effort in based on the lessons that we're learning from this this current crisis. So Katie's going to talk through some of the basics of external communication, specifically how we've approach marketing and communication thus for in Code Nineteen. Great, thanks, Andy. So I am going to talk to you about our marketing strategies and how we approach messaging, but I'm also going to talk to you a little bit about how those tactics and understanding the basics have helped us market during the last few months as we plan our future efforts. But before I do that, I want to share a little bit of an experience with you that I think we've all probably had at one point of time. So if you'll just transport yourself to the yester years of early two thousand and twenty, when we all were still cruising around on planes, let's pretend we're back on that plane. You just got cozy in your ten or fifteen minutes into your in flight entertainment, and then your screen pauses and your audio cuts out because the pilot is making an announcement and he goes how do folks? It's Captain Steve Coming in from the cockpit and he talks to you about a couple of things. It's usually something like where the flight crew is from and how his airline, whether it's Delta or united or skywest or southwest, they all care about your comfort and your safety. And then he talks about my personal favorite, your current cruising altitude. Well, that's all well and good, but what I really want to know from Captain Steve are totally different things. I want to know when we're going to land, I want to know if the flight's can be bumpy, I want to know when I'm going to get my diet coke in my cheese. It's right and there's no disrespect to Captain Steve. He's doing his best, but the message that he's delivering at that moment doesn't feel relevant to my needs. So the next time he makes an announcement I won't pay attention. I'll probably learn to start kind of paying less and less attention to poor captain Steve Up there. Now I don't bring this up to dog on Captain Steve Because he's doing his best and it probably gets a little lonely up there in the cockpit, but I just think this can be related to your marketing strategy, because at its core, good marketing is good messaging and good messaging is good experiences, and if you don't speak to your audience in a way that they can understand it and at times where they're receptive to it, then they're not going to pay attention. And ultimately, unless a message is relevant to the recipient, then it simply won't resonate. So how do you craft a message that will resonate, especially when you're up against the clock? That is the question of the hour. Now, before you dive into creating a new facebook ad campaign or before you start creating that letter from the president, you really ought to take a step back and understand the basics of a good strategy, because, regardless of whether you're marketing a new program or a covid update, the basics will still apply, and there are really three things you ought to be considering whenever you're crafting me strategy. So the first question you should ask yourself is what is your message and what are you even trying to say? But, more importantly, why are you sharing it, and also what actions do you want that specific message to drive? And ultimately, the most important thing that you should be considering is what's in it for your user. So go back to the plane analogy. What is relevant to me is that this plane is safe and that my ride won't be bumpy. I don't speak altitude, but if Captain Steve is trying to tell me that thirty twozero feet is the optimum cruising altitude because it's safe and it won't be bumpy, then that's your message. The second thing you really need to understand is who you're speaking to. I mean, when we speak and Higher Ed, We know that we have three kind of main audience segments. You've got your parents of students, you've got your students and then you've got your state holders. But if you drill down you'll start to find that there are many more layers to that. So of course you have your current students, but you also have your first term students,...

...your first generation students, you have your students who are on academic probation, you've got your students who are about to drop and then you can just in this exercise, go on and on and on, and I don't bring this up to overwhelm you with options, but simply to point out that each of those audience members are unique from each other and each segment of your audience needs something different from you. So it's worth spending to some time to look at your audience segmentations and try to understand their mindsets. What are the barriers in their way? What are the emotions that they're feeling? Because ultimately you'll understand what you want them to do, but you also need to understand what's preventing them from taking the action that you want. And when you understand that and you understand those barriers, you can create marketing that alleviates those barriers and ultimately leads to a good student experience. So the last tenant that you really ought to be paying attention to is your channels. Now, there are many channels that a marketer has at their disposal. We can send an email, we can send a text, you can shoot off a letter from the president. Are Stick of a billboard. Now the great thing and a fantastic thing about having so many options is that each of those channels works best for something, but not each of those channels works best for everything. So, as a very, very basic example, if I need a perspective student to call admissions, I'm not going to write them a letter, I'm going to send them a text. So that may seem really obvious, but it's worth taking some time to consider how your audience interacts with and responds with the channels that you use, and then, once you consider all of this, regardless of what you're up against, then you can move forward with an action plan to create a very impactful marketing strategy that will speak to your audience, that will serve them, to meet their needs and will ultimately provide them with a good experience and allive them to your institution. So let's talk a little bit about what this looks like in the real world and talk about how we've implemented this with our covid marketing. So with our COVID marketing we've kind of broken it up into a three stage approach, the phase one being the nitty grady. If you think back to early March, campuses all over the country we're closing and there was a little bit of panic, a little bit of confusion and, I think, a whole lot of Huh, is this really happening? And so what we needed to do was communicate exactly the situation and the immediate impact that this has to everyone in our funnel. And when you thoughtfully approach your message, by going through the exercise that we just looked at on the previous life you can then thoughtfully tackle the challenge at hand, even if it's an unprecedented one. So phase one in communicating this needed to be quick. We needed to make it snappy because things were moving pretty quickly. But because we have a matriceat because we've created these matrices in the past, we can then easily dissect their audiences and approach them strategically. So what you see on the deck here are three examples of audience segments. Obviously we could go a deeper diet. We can go into deeper audiences from here, but for the purpose of brevity will just cover these three and I'll, as an example, kind of talk through how we would approach something like this for current students and their parents, so we know exactly what we need. We need to let our current students know what we're doing and the impact that it has on their education. Even if there is no impact, even if you're an online institution who is going to consider as their continue business as usual, students need to know that. We also know that there's going to be a fair amount of concern and worry going into this, so we need to get ahead of the problem and be available to address the concerns. Now we know, or at least can take an educated guess, that these current students are probably pretty worried about their progress. They or their children have just spent the last six months, two year, three years, whatever it is, working on a degree and now everything is up in the air and they have questions like how am I going to take my finals? Do I do my clinical experiences? So the way that we will counteract that is crafting a strategic message that says this is our institutions response to this event and these are the ways that we're going to help you. Now, because we're in a crunch and because we know the channels that work for this audience segment, we will tackle this through text and email, and one unique way that we went about this at Helix is by crafting a crisis communication strategy, call chain, if you want to call it something like that, whereas we looked at our audience segmentation and we broke it into different populations, set each of those populations of text that said something like we know you're worried, your education is still on track, but we're going to call you so that we can talk about it. So those students...

...were primed and ready to receive a call, which they did within an hour, and it was from somebody from the institution who was able to talk through their concerns and address it head on. By doing this, we were able to get ahead of the message and deliver the message that we really wanted to. Our CEO, cary, had a hosted a Webin or several weeks ago about crisis communication and she said something along the lines of if you don't tell the story, then students will start to tell their own. And something like this really comes in handy when you need to alleviate concerns and and worry. So obviously we're talking about something that's happened in the past, but again, this doesn't have to be we don't have to only look at this matrice he's when we're worried about something big. Something like this might happen for an er, might be helpful for another victicket I. For example, if you're going back to campus us, what's your mask policy? What about when you want a new program or have a change in leadership? Understanding and being empathetic to your audience's needs, regardless of what the situation is, will help you achieve your marketing goals. So we'll move on to phase two and talk about the second phase that we went through, which was kind of the near future. This is about two to four weeks after campuses started closing. What we needed to do was to communicate where we're going from here. We know what's happening, but what does it mean to our audience? And so, for this particular side, let's take a look at perspective students who have submitted their application but they haven't finished it, or they've been admitted but they haven't quite registered. Again, what we need them to do is understand the impact but, more importantly, brass hacks, we need them to finish their application or we need them to finish their admission process. So we're going to craft a message that answers the concerns and the mindset that they have at that time. We're going to tell them exactly how we help you finish and we're going to use the channels at our disposed so that we have the time to work with, because we have two to four weeks and we know that audience responds to so one way that you could look at this at your institution is by taking a look at the wire frame that you already have in place. Do you send a letter at point of application? Do you start an email Kaden? Do you have somebody reach out and call a student? Whatever it is, take a look at what you're already doing and then just tweak the mess sitging, tweak the copy to make sure that it's addressing things ahead on, like upcoming starts, modality changes. Again, covid impact on an application, even if there isn't an impact. By doing something like this your again getting ahead of the problem. But, more importantly, all of the marketing channels that you're using are starting to tell the same story. Whether your applicant is looking at the text they just got or they're reading the email somebody sent them, if they're looking on facebook and they see an ad or if they got a postcard in the mail, it's all about the same thing. It's all about how we can help them finish these spite covid nineteen. So let's go ahead and move on to discuss what we're doing now and kind of how we're moving into the new future, which is the long game. Right. We know that this isn't shortly temporary. I mean we hope it's not, forever, but we need to communicate now how our institutions are poised exactly to meet the needs of this moment, and so we'll take a look at kind of perspective students for this. And when we say perspective students, we mean anybody who has whose pre inquiry who hasn't yet raised their hand, or maybe people and their parents who have inquired but they haven't moved to that next step of applying. Obviously we need them to submit their application, but there's a lot of big fish to fry at the moment. People are very concerned about a lot of things, mostly the economy. Me They're worried about their jobs and they're also questioning, can I really go to a school online? So the way that we will change our marketing is by discussing just those things. How jobs, education will lead to job security and also for us in the institutions that we work with, we can discuss quite a bit about how online is in the DNA, but if that's not the case, you know you can discuss how we put measures in in place to ensure that you're interacting with your peers, to make sure that you have time with your professor, that you're using zoom or skype or whatever it is, to emulate a real in class experience so they can feel confident that they're going to get the education that they need. And of course, we're going to do this through all of the channels that we have available because, similar to phase two, wherever a student or prospective student is looking and wherever their parent is looking, we want to make sure that that same message resonates. Why this is important and why this is kind of a big strategic move for us is because right now, at this moment in time, everything needs to be topical. If you're a marketer, you...

...know that Pre March two thousand and twenty, it was tough to get somebody's attention. Well, now it's July two thousand and twenty and it's even harder to get somebody's attention. So everything we say needs to be exact, relevant to the exact situation that people are in, and by addressing the concerns of our current and potential students, regardless of where we are in our marketing techniques, we can deliver marketing that speaks directly to them and also helps us achieve our goals. So hopefully that gives you a little bit of insight into how we, he looks, are working toward our goals marking. I guess I'll turn the time over to you to see if we've had any questions that come that have come in, that we can help address right now. We have. We've had a couple. One comes from Jenna. You know, you you ended really emphasizing the study of messaging to perspective students, and Jenna asked what are the most common problems you see in Higher Ed Messaging to prospects? Can you give examples or themes that you see in the market, and so what would you say to Jen in that case, Katie and and if you want to wag in as well, sure. So. I think one thing that we need to be cognizant of is creating messaging that's very much about the institution and not about the student, and so I think that, you know, I think of messaging is kind of a van diagram. You have the institution right here and then you have a student right here, and somewhere in the middle is where your message aligns with them and serves them. And so I think when we look at things like in our messages, we've been doing online for twenty years. Then we need to be really cognisant of how that applies to the prospective student and what they can gain from it, because otherwise it's very much an us, not you message. If that makes sense, and you do you have anything to add to them, I would add only that that's really where understanding your audience and having good data to be able to segment and understand and you know they've visited your web properties. What page is, what things were they interested were they interested in, and what else can you glean from them based on their behavior, so that you can provide relevant messages to them? It's the information, the insights we have on any given inquiry are pretty scarce and obviously you move further up to the top of the funnel, we know very little. So to the extent that you can understand who you're speaking to and Taylor that message. So that Katie said, not only is it relevant to them, but it's also not just the shotgun to approach, because there are things that are going to matter to different people at different times. So that that ability to segment your audience is is crucial right from the outset, right from the beginning interactions with with your prospects? Yeah, excellent. So thank you, Jennier, for that question. Thanks Katie and Annie for your answers. And we had a question they came in ahead of time that I think we could bigue back off this one really well, and it was what guidance did you give your teams about messaging? And so, Katie, I think he touched on this a bit, but is any any other insights from Katie or Andy about the guidance that we had helix received about messaging at both and, you know, across these different Matri season segments like you were talking about? Katie? Yeah, and I'll touch on a couple of Katie, you can bring up some points too, because I know this was a conversation fairly early on and one of the things that happened early was our enrollment marketing manager sent out an email just that everybody just kind of a general reminder to understand that covid nineteen is now the backdrop for everything that we say and do and people will be viewing it to that mom so be sensitive to that and make sure you kind of read the copy and look at the images in that light. Also. There's some reminders about understanding that when we have a lot of messages out in the market for campus base learning, well, all of a sudden that's going to be something that we need to make sure that we are revising to focus on the online modality, because that's what that's what's going to be available. But there are a few other tips and tips that came came from that kting. What what would you add? I would add that again, we want to be sensitive and tactful and our approach. I think that, you know, being careful in this moment about what's going on in the world is important. I think that you can easily do that by ensuring you know, you can easily make sure you're not being predatory by kind of speaking truth to advertising and speaking about what we what we know to be true. We do know that there's people, regardless of what's happening in the world, education will help you with job prospects. I think that you can also for a bit in a way that people can understand and I think you can also call upon people within your institution who can help deliver the message in a sensitive way. So I think that's around about answer. But in terms of messaging, that I think was the guidance that we took is ensure that we're sensitive and tactful while still addressing the common concerns that people have. Yeah, and to reiterate some of the things that Kat who brought...

...up earlier, understanding the different messages for your different audiences is pretty important. If I'M A if I'm a student that is beginning the enrollment process, what I need to know what's going to happen because the campus I was going to go to is closed. But if I have yet to really begin that process, but sort of looking around, I just want to know that you know how to handle online learning and that you can provide and you're set up to continue. So I so really again, understanding who you're talking to is a big piece of that and being able to reassure them or encourage them, as the case may be, or their consideration committee, their influencing committee, to make sure that we're we understand and we know what's going on is pretty important. But it varies significantly where you depending on where you are on the problem. All right, excellent, great insights, Katie, and any thank you. Ryan. Is a question. What is an enrollment coach? On the screen there we say the message, call your enrollment coach. So enrollment coach is a turn that we at Helix in our part institutions use to refer to admissions representative, enrollment represented. The role of an enrollment coach is to take that perspective student from the time that they first inquire till the time they are registered for classes and start their first day, and that kind of Roman coaches with that perspective student all the way through that period and so helping them to complete their application, securing any transcripts that are needed, help giving direction on financial aid, completing a fast accordinating with the with the institution on matters such as those, and basically kind of whatever else that perspective student needs to get ready for that first day of class. And so other institutions maybe something like admissions wrap or enrollment wrap. But yeah, that's that's how we define what an enrollment coach is. A thanks, Ryan for that question. We've had a couple more question that I think you're going to be addressed pretty well in our next section, as we talked about internal communication and expectation management. So and has a question of how can we effectively communicate the need for this type of communication strategy to administration and Katie asked, not you, Katie van Hazelm, but Katie O'hare ask any talked about data collection throughout the funnel. Does he have a recommended templet of data points to measure? Also in terms of planning, is there a marketing counter templet that you recommend to share your plan with others? I think it's a great segue into our next section on internal communication and expectation management. So Andy, I will let you run with it from here. Sure, and and Sparky, there was a lot there. It's some of like no, we cover but we may need a reminder to make sure we touch on all of all of those points. If you would kind of help to keep score, I would appreciate it. I got you. So at the same time that you try to manage all the the external communications, there are internal constituents that are looking to you for guidance, not only regarding the execution of the strategies noted above, but also things like spend and top of funnel performance. So we'll talk a little bit about all of that. But quick note on some of the numbers you're about to see. I've removed any of our partner identification, and I don't really even use the same partners in every example, but they are real data points. So you can kind of do with that what you will, but but these refer to no specific partner. So one of the first things, the first pieces of internal communication you have to worry about, is to the teams that are handling the message creation and the message dissemination. Having a clear, documented plan that you follow regularly is critical at a time like this because you don't want to skip any steps, taking the shortcuts that are going to lead to problems down the line. You can really get tripped up by the anxiety to get things done quickly. Like I said earlier, a crisis isn't the time to develop a process. However, there are things you can learn from your time in the crucible. For instance, we've refined our process so that, at the discretion of the account manage or subject matter expert and in specific situations, we can waive the initial kickoff meeting and let the written SPEC be the guide. It seems like a small thing, but it can shave hours off in the project. Now I didn't take the time to kind of lay out our inter our entire internal creative process but it is a detail of the thorough process that is managed by our account management team and there are we use a work in the Jiga, a tool to help kind of process and keep things moving. But it's all very clearly defined and we use it all the time, not just in an emergency, so that when something like this happens everybody knows exactly what to do. And in this case we created a little little out to speed things along a little bit. We also made some process changes around Webinar. Surprise, surprise, we we had a process for doing webinars, but this accelerated paste has encouraged us to make some changes. And what we did if we separated out some of the elements and put them on parallel paths rather...

...than on a linear track, thereby decreasing the overall time from start to launch or start to Webinar. So if you have already defined a right and use regularly a process for creative a messaging, take the lessons that you learned from covid nineteen and create one. If you do have one. Now's a good time for a lesson, to learn debrief to identify ways you might want to improve. The other important line of communication is all around performance and the marketing spell. Everybody, from enrollment of finance is anxious and looking for guidance. So the best guide that we can generally give comes from some form of comparative data. So taking a look at your year of a year, month of a month and even day to day trends can provide some pretty valuable insights. So this is a basic are. Here's where the basics of a well defined funnel and clean data really pay off. When we're looking at the data and all trying not to board anybody with all the number that we get to play with, we're looking at it in either either in terms of when the inquiry was generated or received, or when the student moved into a particular status, like submitted African who completed out. So we're talking about coming from the received data or when they change their status. Looking through the received date Lens, we can see critical top of all activity and get a sense of how consumers are behaving based on the day they arrived in our system. Because we wanted to share this info with a lot of the other people around the organization so they can see it, so they can help interpret it, we created a quick Google doc and what you're seeing here are just some screen grabs from a few of the of the graphs that we put in this Google doc and we added the little slicers at the top and orange so that we could control better for things like changes in the medium mix, and we could also alter the date ring so this you can look at several months at a time, several days at the time, you can look at all channels, some channels, and this view also gives us the year of year and month to month and they kind of compares. So we created a separate graph for each of the top of the funnel steps to make for a quicker assessment of how things are moving through the funnel. We focus on these steps raw to submitted applicant. Those are the ones that are we most commonly look at from a marketing perspective, although we look at the entire funnel, but we tend to look at everything from row to submitted. So we won't get through the whole funel. I think we've already done that, but that's things like raw and contacted or raw and scrub and contacted and qualified, up to submitted applicant, because all of those things tend to happen fairly quickly and they provide a good early indication of how our marketing dollar is performing. So if you take a look at these numbers, you can see at the beginning of the month we're really down year over year, and this is back in March. We're down and qualified inquisier every year. But if you look at submitted applicants you see a different story. So you have to watch the entire funnel. You can't just focus on either end of the funnel because you're going to you're going to miss important trends and and you're going to miss opportunities to react to what you're seeing. As I mentioned, the other way that we look at things typically is by the status start date. So on any given day, how many students moved into a specific status like qualified inquree or submitted African? This perspective is valuable insights as it speaks to the quality and the performance. So how engaged or the inquiries and how are we doing it moving them along? This is a view that up our enrollment of folks find particularly useful as they evaluate and forecast future starts. So they're less concern about when an inquiry was received and much more concerned with the volume of a given status relative to the next start. So if we're a hundred twenty days out from the start, we need to have x number of submitted APPS and why number of completed APPs if we're going to reach our our new start goal. We also put the other some other barographs and things like that that showed toward the aggregate by month as another quick way to see how these things are coming together. Of course, not all this stuff is happening in a vacuum and the use of key ratios is also pretty important, and the one that I wanted to touch on a little bit here today is the cost per ratio. And typically folks like to think of Crossper only in terms of frostper inquiry, sometimes cost per start. But by extending at all the way through to each of the steps, you can really start to see some things that are important. It's impossible because you can't you can't really judge performance just on volume or just on cost. So this cost per ratio is a good way to get engage overall and at a pretty granular level. You can look at things by a cost per by channel, by...

...add group and even keyword when we're talking about search and use that to guide your marketing decisions. Of course, this is one set of ratios. The whole conversion rate is another set of ratios that are obviously critically important, but I think costpertends to get ignored a lot, especially all the way through the funnel, and we this became critical for us in this the Covid Nineteen Lens or through the Covid nineteen lends, when we saw big advertisers in verticals like travel were dramatically reducing their stands. Mean they were just pulling out of all kinds of stuff, and a quick check of our costpurs from those channels helped us evaluate how we were seeing the impact of that. So are we in fact they're getting out? Does that mean there's more inventory for us? Does that mean we can spend more money? And if we do spend more money, how is that going to equate into new inquiries and ultimately new starts? So we can we can use that cost per ratio to see what's going on and see if we should put more money into specific channels similar similarly, Costpur was a really good way to gage the impact of the dramatically increased activity that we saw around search terms like online school and learning online. So I forget the statistics, but it was hundreds of times more search terms or in our queries to the search engines for those kinds of terms. The big surge in all that, though, was largely from parents and K twelve teachers who were frantically trying to find resources for your how what to do with their kids. So it was important for us to understand how this was impacting our campaigns. And sure enough we saw our cost per raw ory some tip top of the funnel. We saw our cost per right inquiry start going up on those more generic terms, as more generic campaigns. So we needed to we needed to make some adjustments, or else we would just be spending money on things that were really going to ever hang out for us. So that early warning signal prompit this to reduce that spen until things set bounds. So understanding these ratios, looking at them all through the funnel is pretty important. And again I think costper is one that, especially at the granular level and all through the funnel, tends to kind of get overlooked. So it's impossible to say if we are truly in the new normal or if we're just kind of at a slower portion of the transition to the new normal. Only time is going to tell that, but things do seem to have settled down just a little bit and we are looking at this and helix as a good time to shut things up. I think in the crush of the every day and the desire to get things done, we often forget that taking time to sharpen your saw is also part of the work. So it's park you hope that counts pretty the folksy aforism, but taking time to make sure that you're working effectively and to tighten up the tools that you're using is really critical, and so we're looking at this and we're doing a lot of lessons learned, a lot of introspection to kind of figure out how we can be better always, but especially the next time something like some kind of prices happened. We're testing new messages and looking for different and new ways and gay with our audiences, both internally and externally, on the matters that are important to them right now and that that whole marketing mantra of the right message for the people. It's important internally and externally as well. So sparky, remind me of the broader questions that we want to touch on. Yeah, so the first half of Katie O'hare's question, I recommended temple a data points to measure. I feel like we've covered that. The second half of Katies question and then as question are kind of two sides of the same coin. Just in terms of Katie asked, is their marketing counter. Temple, you recommend to share your plan with others and and talk about how can we effectively communicate the need for this type of communication strategy to administration in so what ways to share this with other decision makers in and other folks like that? Sure. So let me let me touch quickly on the the data one, although I know we've covered it. I think the key to this is working within your internal teams and within your internal systems to figure out how Grang of or you can force things to be. We kind of several years ago sort of unpacked everything, took it all apart and put it back together and a lot of what was there was usable, but we just kind of reorder reordered it, or we can figured it so we could see that entire funnel. So I would recommend that you figure out what are the steps and we when you get this slide deck, you'll see that the list of those of those steps, of those are the big milestones and there are lots of substeps under that. But take that time, and it is a process to define the entire student journey and make sure you understand the...

INS and outs of it. Once you have that, then you get into the you can get better into the whole idea of a marketing calendar and and lobbying for those internal mechanisms. Broadly speaking, in case you get ready to jump in on this, but broadly speaking, are are. The way we look at our marketing calendar is based on when the start date is and because we have lots of good data, we know the average time or the average distance from the start that inquiries come in to contribute to that start. So if the start is on September one, we know that really because it takes forty five to sixty days to get the entire process done, that the cutoff point for contributing to that September one start is going to come sometime forty, five sixty days prior to September one. So that area before that is the recruiting time and the calendar is really driven by that start date and then the each inquiry has kind of its own calendar. So you come in and you this happens to you on day and sometimes, well, Katie can, if you really got time, we can go into what happens. Like it minute one and then you know our one, but it goes all the way through each so each individual follows their own process and their own communication and that again is based on behavior. So if you do this, then we will respond thusly, if you don't do anything, we'll do this. So really it's all about timing from the start, but then once you come into the system, everybody kind of has their unique and individualized calendar and messaging based on kind of what they're doing and where they are. Katie, yeah, I would agree and I think that, you know, that's the way that we segment our audiences is to ensure that the messaging for somebody who is in their final stage of the application process it's a very different message and approach than somebody who is in the kind of perspective portion. And so, to any point yet, we do make sure that we're taking a look at our data and look at the funnel and if we know, you know, if we notice that last year people took sixty two days to get from A to Z and now they're taking forty five days. That's data that we can use to kind of craft things and create proactive strategies to address this. Yeah, I just can't say enough about how important having the data, collecting the data and then having access it is everything in this conversation. All Right, I see multiple thank yous from Katie, so I think we're feeling good and she's feeling good to so, Katie, thanks for that question. We're into the broader QA and so we've got time for a couple more questions. We have a couple in the QA already. If you join US little bit late, the QNA kind is there at the bottom of your screen and you can use that. Jenna had a follow up question talking about the importance of the funnel, she says, but it feels like the funnel is changing with the shift to virtual effect. Advance prospects can attend college fairs, etc. And so how do you recommend that institutions think about adjusting their funnel and their mat tricks as we see these kind of changes in the funnel happens? So any Katie, what would you say to Jena. In that case, I guess I would challenge at a little bit in that I don't know that the funnel necessarily is changing, but the behaviors may be changing, especially when you look at channels like I would say, you know, recruiting fair or Student Fair. That is a particular channel and that behavior, no question, is going to change. So but the basics of the funnel, the backbone of the funnel, all pretty much stays the same. But what I look at channel performance. That's going to change over time. So then the question becomes, okay, if we used to have a lot of success from events, we've got to replace that somehow. That's one thing to discuss. The other thing to discuss is, you know, these event providers. They're also trying to figure out how to replace live events. So what are they doing? How do we get in on that? How do we make that effective? And then it's a process of testing, trying, measuring and seeing what happens. So, but that's that's true any time you're talking about branching into a new channel or a new subset of a channel, and that that routine. The rigger around testing is another one. The thing we didn't really get into a whole lot today, but that is an absolutely critical piece of the puzzle. To there always has to be some prospecting going on. What what about this? We tried this? What happens if we if we go into this channel or massage are current efforts in a given channel. So I do agree there are things that the landscape is changing and has changed. So now it's question of trying things to recover and to react in the new world. But I think when I think of the funnel, I think a very, very defined students move from rowing...

...cree to scrub to contacted qualified in all the way down to clearing senses first day of class. Any anything you want to throw in there? I agree. I think that your milestone marker is still probably aren't going to change. It seems like a lot of time the modality in which we kind of push people through the funnel might change right. But I do think tangentially it's a good opportunity for us to revisit the strategies that we were doing six months ago and see how we might modernize and make them again relevant. I know I said that term for four or five times already and I think maybe if I say it one more time, then add appears. I don't know. But if you're focusing on what's relevant. Of People really are hungry for Webinars, then serverm a Webinar. If they really want to have a oneonone zoom session with an admissions rap, than that's something that we could consider as well. So I mean, I don't know if that's necessarily an answer, but I think that things are changing and and I think that there are going to be some things that come out of it, because it will some good things that come out of it because it will kind of force us to all modernize and reeking things through different Lens Yeah, and that you know. There there have been pretty significant shifts in the educational landscape from a marketing perspective. You know, before this is, this is these things happen for lots of different reasons, and mean fifteen years ago the in the adult education space, especially affiliate marketing, is huge. Now that's almost in irrelevant channel. So the quest for marketers is always to be on the lookout for new, different, better ways, and the only way to get there is to test. But I think we, we as Marketers, oh it to our institutions to not be trapped by history. And you know, this always used to work, so we assume that it's always going to work. I think that's it. That's a danger, and so I would hope that some portion of every budget is carved out for testing, some portion of the human effort, the human time, is also carved out for scouting things out and testing things out, because that's that's the only way to really stay in the for proud and stay revelar, because you can bet our consumers are changing and the are the people were trying to communicate with their changing and they're moving fast. So we got a we owe it to everybody to keep up. All right, that sounds great. We have about five minutes left, and so just really quickly, we'd like to just kind of wrap up by sharing a lot of the resources that are available to folks that healing education is making available to colleges and universities as they transition to a quality online experience. And so again, if you've been with us before, you've heard these sorts thing before. If this is your first Webinar with us, first of all, welcome. Second of all, as we approach fall two thousand and twenty, we help our colleges and university partners to make this transition. We've cauched within these four pillars is that you have institution online readiness, beyonline teaching and learning, experience, online student experience and engagement, and then the pillar that we've talked about today, student and parent expectation management. And so how helix education can help across these different ways is that we have assembled a collection of professional development resources, templates, KPI, documents, all sorts of things to help aid you in this transition. They're available right there. Hello Educationcom new future will put that URL in the chat as well. See you get a chance to click that. You also find webinars like this one, as well as the pass boners that we've done, as well as podcast other professional development opportunities, as I talked about within those four pillars, and so anything that you'd like to get a little bit more emphasis on, you're welcome go to the website and do that. We also have an email address set up, and so anybody who is looking for more information about your specific situation feel free to shoot us an email at new future info at Helix Educationcom. We've also put that email address in the chat for you to copy and paste and let us know. Like we said at the beginning, we are continuing on the road to fall two thousand and twenty, and so we have more webinars coming up in the weeks ahead. The plan now is to go through August, but will continue these for as long as you out there field that it's necessary that we can help you out. And so just a quick preview of other topics that we have coming up. The topics all relate week by week to those four pillars that we mentioned earlier, and so each week will focus on a different pillar. And so, like I said, this week fell under the student parent expectation management pillar and then next week is institutional online readiness, and so you see that those are weekly areas of focus in themes as we progress through the month of August.

And so just one last time we're going to put that url up there on the screen as well as the email address, and so feel free to use and download those resources available at Helix Educationcom, new future and set us an email if there's anything more that we can dig into. New Future Info at Helix Educationcom. Thanks to everybody for tending, thanks for your questions and especially thank you to Katie and Andy for your insight and expertise that you shared with us today. For everyone out there who joined us, have a great rest of your day and week. Stay safe and we hope to see you at more webinars in the future. So take care and have a biggers to your day and week. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprize 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. Download it 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 and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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