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May 18, 2021

The Magic Is in the Messaging: Content Creation for Higher Ed Marketing

The Magic Is in the Messaging: Content Creation for Higher Ed Marketing

Content is where marketing is headed.

How can marketers in higher education mass produce content that is relevant, applicable, and interesting to prospective students?

In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer, Bart Caylor, President & Founder at Caylor Solutions Inc, and Troy Singer, Senior Account Executive at Think Patented, chat with

Dan Freeborn, Assistant Director of Marketing and Enrollment at Northern Michigan University, about his unique approach to content.

They also talked about:

- How to manage time and resources well in content creation

- What types of content perform best in higher ed

- How to mass produce content with a small team

- What information to collect and how to use it for promotion

Know of a higher education marketing change agent you’d like to hear on the show? Does your university have an interesting story to be featured? Connect with Bart Caylor or Troy Singer. If you’re not on LinkedIn, check the Caylor Solutions or Think Patented websites instead!
To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to The Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.  

The Higher Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Caylor Solutions, an Education Marketing and Branding Agency, and by Think Patented, a Marketing Execution, Printing and Mailing provider of Higher Ed solutions.

    

 

Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:02.879 --> 00:00:07.190 You were listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals 2 00:00:07.230 --> 00:00:11.910 in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student 3 00:00:11.949 --> 00:00:16.230 recruitment, don'tor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. 4 00:00:16.989 --> 00:00:20.789 If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this 5 00:00:20.989 --> 00:00:29.859 podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the High 6 00:00:29.940 --> 00:00:34.060 Reed Marketer podcast. Well, we invite higher reed marketers that we admire to 7 00:00:34.179 --> 00:00:37.770 share their ideas and insights on how they move the needle in their world. 8 00:00:38.289 --> 00:00:41.289 My name is choice singer and I'm here with my cohost of the show, 9 00:00:41.689 --> 00:00:46.329 Bart Taylor. So, Bart, we both think that today's guests is very 10 00:00:46.409 --> 00:00:50.359 interesting. He's kind of a part of a very small team that puts out 11 00:00:50.359 --> 00:00:54.079 a lot of great content. Could you please share a little bit about them? 12 00:00:54.719 --> 00:00:58.359 Yeah, we we met Dan freeborn and he's the assistant marketing director at 13 00:00:58.399 --> 00:01:03.880 at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, the northern it's in the upper 14 00:01:03.920 --> 00:01:08.870 peninsula, and we've just have really come to appreciate Dan and just his pragmatic 15 00:01:08.909 --> 00:01:11.790 approach to his marketing. I think this show is going to be great in 16 00:01:11.870 --> 00:01:15.950 the sense that he's he kind of opens up the hood, shows us around 17 00:01:15.989 --> 00:01:19.739 what he's doing, what's working and what he's learned, and I think it's 18 00:01:19.939 --> 00:01:23.260 I think if you listen closely, you'll take away a lot of really good 19 00:01:23.299 --> 00:01:27.140 things that you can apply to to your marketing at your school. So it's 20 00:01:27.180 --> 00:01:32.700 great. Yes, very generous with this time and with his wisdom, so 21 00:01:33.290 --> 00:01:40.650 let's get him into the show. Today's guest on the podcast is Dan Feborn, 22 00:01:41.129 --> 00:01:46.010 who is the assistant director of marketing and enrollment at Northern Michigan University global 23 00:01:46.090 --> 00:01:49.159 campus. Welcome to the PODCAST, Dan. Thanks for having me. Dan. 24 00:01:49.680 --> 00:01:56.319 Like to start out by you describing your campus at North Michigan and a 25 00:01:56.400 --> 00:02:00.439 little bit about your role there. Yeah, absolutely so. Northern Michigan University 26 00:02:00.519 --> 00:02:05.510 where a midsize regional university, I'll say, with name recognition throughout the Upper 27 00:02:05.549 --> 00:02:10.430 Midwest, mainly Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota Illinois. My role here I work 28 00:02:10.509 --> 00:02:15.509 on our global campus, which facilitates online learning for adult learners, so the 29 00:02:15.780 --> 00:02:20.740 degrees a completed can be completed hundred percent online, and my specific role within 30 00:02:20.819 --> 00:02:24.539 our department is managing our marketing efforts, so everything from email, organic social 31 00:02:24.580 --> 00:02:29.819 paid advertising, and then I'm also the primary contact throughout the admissions funnel for 32 00:02:29.939 --> 00:02:32.169 helping students progress through that, so beca submitting their application, making sure they're 33 00:02:32.210 --> 00:02:37.090 making their marks on enrollment nexteps and everything. So kind of a one man 34 00:02:37.210 --> 00:02:38.969 operation. We're a small team of three and I'm one of the three. 35 00:02:39.289 --> 00:02:42.610 Great, great, well, that was one of the questions that I have 36 00:02:42.729 --> 00:02:45.240 because I'm, as you know, Dan, a lot of the audience that 37 00:02:45.800 --> 00:02:49.719 listen to the podcast and people the troy and I serve our smaller institutions. 38 00:02:49.759 --> 00:02:53.599 I mean you guys are mid midsize public but at the same time it's interesting 39 00:02:53.639 --> 00:02:58.629 with the global campus, you know that you are kind of running that part 40 00:02:58.710 --> 00:03:01.189 of the school and the marketing of that, much like some of our clients 41 00:03:01.229 --> 00:03:05.469 and listeners might do. So in essence, you are the marketing department and 42 00:03:05.509 --> 00:03:07.750 I know that you produce a lot of content and that's really what I think 43 00:03:07.870 --> 00:03:10.750 we want to talk a little bit about today. I think that I'm big 44 00:03:10.789 --> 00:03:15.139 believer in content and I believe, big believer, that content is what really 45 00:03:15.180 --> 00:03:17.620 we're marketing is going to be headed, and it's already there. But your 46 00:03:17.659 --> 00:03:22.419 approached. The amount that you produce and how you how you're ensuring that's effective 47 00:03:22.460 --> 00:03:25.379 is pretty, pretty unique, and so maybe can you describe the time involved 48 00:03:25.580 --> 00:03:29.490 to produce that amount of content that you do, especially since you, you 49 00:03:29.569 --> 00:03:31.330 know, you just describe your role and you we're kind of a few different 50 00:03:31.370 --> 00:03:35.210 hats. So just tell us a little bit about what that what's involved in 51 00:03:35.330 --> 00:03:38.409 producing that amount of content? Sure, I mean a lot does go into 52 00:03:38.409 --> 00:03:42.319 it and, kind of echoing what you did mention, in our unique individual 53 00:03:42.360 --> 00:03:45.120 department, the Global Campas, I'm the one one guy in charge of, 54 00:03:45.439 --> 00:03:47.439 you know, helping execute all those things. We do have a centralized marketing 55 00:03:47.479 --> 00:03:53.280 department within the Greater University that primary focuses on the undergraduate, traditional campus bound 56 00:03:53.280 --> 00:03:57.469 student. So they've been a great support in all this too. But from 57 00:03:57.550 --> 00:04:01.229 my function within our organization here, it's really hard to quantify how many hours 58 00:04:01.270 --> 00:04:06.590 are spent on content development and really what I've had to come to embraces that 59 00:04:06.629 --> 00:04:11.259 it's rather, rather than focusing on how much time I spend, it's how 60 00:04:11.300 --> 00:04:15.379 am I actually spending the time that I have to develop content, and it 61 00:04:15.500 --> 00:04:18.540 becomes it can become quite a paradox for small marketing teams, because so often 62 00:04:18.620 --> 00:04:23.139 and in that kind of setting, you're really forced into thinking about how efficient 63 00:04:23.220 --> 00:04:25.370 can you be? Let's pump out as much as we can. We have 64 00:04:25.490 --> 00:04:27.930 to prove that we can still be competed it of even though we have a 65 00:04:27.970 --> 00:04:30.610 small team. So it becomes this dynamic that's really almost kind of hard to 66 00:04:30.649 --> 00:04:36.170 wrestle with, and when you're really focused on pumping out content regardless of strategy 67 00:04:36.170 --> 00:04:39.720 or anything, it becomes more that you're wasting time at that point. So 68 00:04:39.839 --> 00:04:43.360 what I've really tried to work to do here is while, yes, I 69 00:04:43.399 --> 00:04:46.000 still try to be efficient, of course that's a big part of productivity and 70 00:04:46.040 --> 00:04:47.959 a small team, I really want to focus on how I'm spending my time 71 00:04:48.279 --> 00:04:53.589 and that revolves around being very specific and how I'm analyzing the data that we 72 00:04:53.709 --> 00:04:58.350 collect. Most all universities have a plethora of data and I realize every different 73 00:04:58.389 --> 00:05:00.949 position is privy the different amounts of data. I'm really fortunate in our team 74 00:05:00.990 --> 00:05:04.829 that I get access to a lot of data about our about our students, 75 00:05:04.829 --> 00:05:09.180 so I make sure to spend the time to dig into that. How do 76 00:05:09.300 --> 00:05:11.660 our students behave on a whole? You know, looking at two to three 77 00:05:11.660 --> 00:05:15.699 year trends in our perspective student pipeline. How do they act and how do 78 00:05:15.740 --> 00:05:18.500 they behave before they become in rold enrolled students here, and taking the time 79 00:05:18.540 --> 00:05:21.610 to actually dig into that and make sense of it all really helps develop a 80 00:05:21.649 --> 00:05:26.649 strategized plan for how I'm going to execute content. You know how long campaigns 81 00:05:26.649 --> 00:05:29.449 are going to run for what types of content would be most useful, and 82 00:05:29.529 --> 00:05:32.209 I'm finding because I'm doing that, the whole the main picture is in all 83 00:05:32.250 --> 00:05:35.120 complete. Yet the whole pie is not completed. I haven't built everything out 84 00:05:35.120 --> 00:05:38.600 the way I want it to be, but I've been able to make these 85 00:05:38.639 --> 00:05:42.800 small steps in working toward that major goal. So I mean I'm thinking back 86 00:05:42.839 --> 00:05:46.079 to when I initially started in this position. I was really fortunate to have 87 00:05:46.399 --> 00:05:48.680 pretty much a blank slate and there wasn't really a focused marketing effort done for 88 00:05:48.720 --> 00:05:51.910 our online programs yet. So coming into that it was a little bit overwhelming, 89 00:05:51.949 --> 00:05:55.430 but also it was actually really nice to have that freedom to kind of 90 00:05:55.430 --> 00:05:58.149 start from scratch. And initially, you know, I had all these great 91 00:05:58.189 --> 00:06:01.750 ideas of I wanted to have this robust set of email campaigns, social content, 92 00:06:01.829 --> 00:06:04.740 paid advertising, that all linked together, but realizing as a one man 93 00:06:04.819 --> 00:06:08.579 show it's not realistic to do that in the first few months of a new 94 00:06:08.620 --> 00:06:12.180 job. So I took it into small, small, bite sized chunks, 95 00:06:12.300 --> 00:06:15.379 you know, initially like looking through before coming into this position I had about 96 00:06:15.379 --> 00:06:18.889 a five years of experience in undergraduate enrollment and missions and was involved in their 97 00:06:18.930 --> 00:06:23.730 marketing campaigns for email. So I took what I knew from that and understanding 98 00:06:23.769 --> 00:06:28.089 the main touch points that students had with the university throughout the enrollment process really 99 00:06:28.209 --> 00:06:31.329 just helped me build a shell of what our email communication was going to look 100 00:06:31.329 --> 00:06:34.639 like. So looking at when they submit an application, they should probably get 101 00:06:34.639 --> 00:06:40.160 something initially confirming that we receive their application what their next step was. Same 102 00:06:40.279 --> 00:06:42.800 with after they were admitted, making sure they knew what their next steps for 103 00:06:42.839 --> 00:06:46.629 enrollment were. So building out content related to those specific action steps was my 104 00:06:46.670 --> 00:06:49.750 key point and that allowed me then to rest a shirt that they were getting 105 00:06:49.750 --> 00:06:53.870 the main points delivered to them, the main pieces of content they needed, 106 00:06:54.189 --> 00:06:56.350 and then from there I was able to kind of take a step back and 107 00:06:56.389 --> 00:07:00.670 look more at that information at a whole and was able to develop the communication 108 00:07:00.750 --> 00:07:03.300 plan much further than building out and filling out those gaps in between the pieces 109 00:07:03.339 --> 00:07:06.620 of messaging there. So it did take a lot of time, but I 110 00:07:06.819 --> 00:07:11.660 think taking it in bite size chunks was the most with the key for me 111 00:07:12.019 --> 00:07:14.579 to be able to do this successfully resting a shirt that they had the main 112 00:07:14.660 --> 00:07:16.970 points out there and then every so often, maybe every six or eight months, 113 00:07:16.970 --> 00:07:20.050 I would introduce some more content to build out these campaigns and flows. 114 00:07:20.250 --> 00:07:24.170 That way it's really good in that kind of there's some of the takeaways that 115 00:07:24.209 --> 00:07:26.329 I hear you'd sayings that. I mean, you can't. You have to 116 00:07:26.410 --> 00:07:30.279 start with a strategy, and a strategy that's informed with data. Is really 117 00:07:30.879 --> 00:07:33.079 big deal on that part. But tell me a little bit about different types 118 00:07:33.120 --> 00:07:36.480 of content you're producing me and certainly the email. You talked about email flows. 119 00:07:36.519 --> 00:07:42.160 Are there other parts that you're leveraging their en amu or what other types 120 00:07:42.240 --> 00:07:45.110 of content have you seen that's working? Yeah, I mean our big focus 121 00:07:45.149 --> 00:07:48.750 has been email because we do primarily work with online degree seeking students and they're 122 00:07:48.750 --> 00:07:53.550 busy, you know, their adults, and with that then we implemented a 123 00:07:53.629 --> 00:07:56.230 blog, more content based, so it's a little bit more robust as far 124 00:07:56.230 --> 00:07:59.339 as the information we can get across and a lot of that blog content is 125 00:07:59.500 --> 00:08:03.660 really designed around action steps in the funnel. So we realize that you know, 126 00:08:03.699 --> 00:08:05.899 maybe are one of our students. One of our main personas of a 127 00:08:05.939 --> 00:08:09.100 student were looking at is, I'll say regular old working adults that want to 128 00:08:09.139 --> 00:08:11.930 come and complete a degree and maybe they have a smattering of credits from somewhere 129 00:08:11.970 --> 00:08:16.569 else. They're looking to have a fast track to degree completion here. Maybe 130 00:08:16.569 --> 00:08:18.810 they've been out of school for ten to twenty years and they're just trying to 131 00:08:18.850 --> 00:08:22.889 get back into things. We realize that higher education as a whole can be 132 00:08:24.009 --> 00:08:28.000 really confusing for those students coming back in and things have changed a lot in 133 00:08:28.079 --> 00:08:31.560 that amount of time. So our learning environment has changed a bit. But 134 00:08:31.680 --> 00:08:35.080 also with that online learning component there can be a lot of hesitation. So 135 00:08:35.120 --> 00:08:39.159 we've built our blog content out to kind of help them feel more confident in 136 00:08:39.200 --> 00:08:41.470 their decision and choosing northern walking them through our system. So when they're talking 137 00:08:41.509 --> 00:08:46.230 about the application for admission, what should they have on hand as they're going 138 00:08:46.309 --> 00:08:50.350 through that that process? Once they're in admitted, we talked about all their 139 00:08:50.389 --> 00:08:52.870 next steps, about taking taking advantage of the online orientation. We have an 140 00:08:52.909 --> 00:08:56.860 online course prep tutorial for them to take. Okay, what does that look 141 00:08:56.899 --> 00:08:58.100 like? Where does it live? What can they expect when they're in those 142 00:08:58.139 --> 00:09:03.379 experiences? So it's really just breaking those things apart so it's more accessible to 143 00:09:03.419 --> 00:09:07.139 the students and help them feel more confident before getting there. So that's a 144 00:09:07.220 --> 00:09:09.409 built in kind of to our email communication, but also as a standalone blog 145 00:09:09.570 --> 00:09:13.250 that serves at a laws as as a place to be able to use content, 146 00:09:13.370 --> 00:09:18.289 like repurpose content for social content as well. And that kind of goes 147 00:09:18.330 --> 00:09:20.450 back to your question about timing. When I first started, I thought I 148 00:09:20.730 --> 00:09:24.559 was kind of fell into that trap of feeling I needed to be everywhere all 149 00:09:24.600 --> 00:09:26.600 the time and pushing out content, pushing out content. So we had started, 150 00:09:28.120 --> 00:09:31.000 like I mentioned, with email. We had a facebook account linked in 151 00:09:31.159 --> 00:09:35.840 and instagram and after about two and a half years and re kind of visiting 152 00:09:35.879 --> 00:09:39.149 strategy for all three of those, instagram was not performing for us and I 153 00:09:39.629 --> 00:09:41.909 had to pull the plug on it and it was a hard decision to make 154 00:09:41.950 --> 00:09:43.710 because, you know, there were some of our students that were involved in 155 00:09:43.789 --> 00:09:48.470 that platform, but it really wasn't getting the engagement we were we were expecting 156 00:09:48.549 --> 00:09:52.070 or what we wanted to and we had revisited the strategy a couple times and 157 00:09:52.269 --> 00:09:54.419 we decided to cancel that for now and put our efforts into the channels that 158 00:09:54.500 --> 00:09:58.100 were working and proving themselves really well. So we wanted to build those up 159 00:09:58.139 --> 00:10:03.179 and gain some more momentum there and focus our effort and really make good use 160 00:10:03.220 --> 00:10:05.019 of our time. Again, because I'm a one man show in that regard, 161 00:10:05.500 --> 00:10:09.370 I would rather put the effort into something I know is working at this 162 00:10:09.409 --> 00:10:13.009 point, with the goal of maybe reintroducing instagram later on. Right. Great, 163 00:10:13.330 --> 00:10:18.169 Dan, you mentioned earlier that working adults as a top persona that you 164 00:10:18.889 --> 00:10:24.080 go after. What are some of the other top personas that you are going 165 00:10:24.200 --> 00:10:28.320 after and what is your approach to content creation as you try to connect with 166 00:10:28.399 --> 00:10:31.559 them? Yeah, I mean so, like you mentioned, the adult learner 167 00:10:31.639 --> 00:10:33.879 returning to schools is a big one, whether they, and a lot of 168 00:10:35.000 --> 00:10:37.789 them, don't have northern experience, previous northern experience. So those are their 169 00:10:37.830 --> 00:10:41.789 fresh to northern and then our second, I would say our top two personas 170 00:10:41.830 --> 00:10:43.669 would be that adult learner that doesn't have northern experience and then a re entry 171 00:10:43.710 --> 00:10:48.509 student to northern that may be stopped out for some reason, whether it be 172 00:10:48.590 --> 00:10:50.620 because of grades or family situations, they weren't able to complete their degree and 173 00:10:50.620 --> 00:10:54.340 they're just looking to come back because they have that affinity with northern. They 174 00:10:54.419 --> 00:10:58.340 know what to expect as far as education goes. So I mean, I 175 00:10:58.379 --> 00:11:01.659 think that would probably be actually our top persona that we're that we're after right 176 00:11:01.700 --> 00:11:03.809 now, because it's, I'll say, it's lowhanging fruit. You know, 177 00:11:03.929 --> 00:11:09.090 they have that private previous experience with Northern, which really really helps their confidence 178 00:11:09.129 --> 00:11:13.450 level in choosing us again to complete. Now the online learning environment is much 179 00:11:13.450 --> 00:11:15.850 different than what they experience, you know, as a freshman coming in fresh 180 00:11:15.850 --> 00:11:18.049 out of high school. So helping them understand what that's going to be like 181 00:11:18.210 --> 00:11:22.639 as a challenge. But I think for both of these these personas, these 182 00:11:22.679 --> 00:11:26.679 avatars, whatever you want to call them, are, approach to content development 183 00:11:26.720 --> 00:11:31.200 and design is very specific because, and this really isn't unique just to online 184 00:11:31.240 --> 00:11:35.470 learners, it's it should be common practice and marketing across the board, I 185 00:11:35.549 --> 00:11:39.350 think. But if we're not focused on being hyper relevant to our students, 186 00:11:39.789 --> 00:11:45.309 they're going to dismiss us. It's online learning is becoming much more competitive. 187 00:11:45.549 --> 00:11:48.299 There's a lot more programs and especially with the pandemic. I think a lot 188 00:11:48.340 --> 00:11:50.860 more institutions have become confident in their online delivery, so I would expect a 189 00:11:50.940 --> 00:11:56.580 lot more programs and courses will be popping up. So it makes me kind 190 00:11:56.620 --> 00:12:00.139 of go on the offense of being how can we be more competitive, how 191 00:12:00.179 --> 00:12:03.330 can we more appealing? How can we deliver the information in a way that's 192 00:12:03.330 --> 00:12:05.409 very specific to these students? And that's what really guides my content creation and 193 00:12:07.009 --> 00:12:11.049 I've kind of developed a strategy. I call it being generally specific. So 194 00:12:11.129 --> 00:12:13.210 I think through all this information I talked about, these initial emails I set 195 00:12:13.210 --> 00:12:16.279 up talking about just the main touch points, when they apply, when they're 196 00:12:16.279 --> 00:12:20.080 admitted, once they completed an orientation, that kind of stuff. Those that's 197 00:12:20.159 --> 00:12:24.159 general information everybody needs to know, helping them get through the process in a 198 00:12:24.240 --> 00:12:26.759 general way just so they can actually progress. But if you're taking things and 199 00:12:26.879 --> 00:12:31.789 taking that general information and making it hyper applicable and hyper specific to individual students 200 00:12:31.830 --> 00:12:35.190 and what their needs are, that's where that magic is going to happen. 201 00:12:35.190 --> 00:12:37.429 And what I mean by this would be so, for instance, if we 202 00:12:37.509 --> 00:12:41.909 have somebody coming through our initial RFI form, just raising their hand, they 203 00:12:41.909 --> 00:12:46.740 want to get some information about studying online at northern and they indicate will use 204 00:12:46.779 --> 00:12:48.860 our Ur ndbsn program as an example. They want to learn more about that 205 00:12:48.940 --> 00:12:54.899 program so the initial email that goes out to them is delivered within the hour. 206 00:12:54.059 --> 00:12:58.299 Our system has a timing thing, so that's the soon as we can 207 00:12:58.340 --> 00:13:01.850 get it out, but within an hour they're delivered a very specific email that 208 00:13:01.929 --> 00:13:05.570 addresses their interest in the URN rndobsn program online. We take their state of 209 00:13:05.730 --> 00:13:09.970 residency into account as well, so if they're outside of the state of Michigan, 210 00:13:09.049 --> 00:13:13.200 we have some information we provide that way. And then we also collect 211 00:13:13.200 --> 00:13:16.879 information on their their student type, so whether they're an incoming freshman, a 212 00:13:16.000 --> 00:13:20.240 transfer student or re entry northern student or a post baculaureate. And while the 213 00:13:20.519 --> 00:13:24.120 I sage just still conveying the same information with the program there are nuances to 214 00:13:24.200 --> 00:13:28.950 each of these programs that would be relevant to different student types or where they're 215 00:13:28.990 --> 00:13:31.070 from or, you know, their stage if they're transferring, in kind of 216 00:13:31.110 --> 00:13:35.629 how their credits work. So instead of just sending them general links to go 217 00:13:35.870 --> 00:13:37.750 and sort out the information themselves, we do all that work for them and 218 00:13:39.230 --> 00:13:43.179 it's delivered and populates in the emails for them automatically. So that's where the 219 00:13:43.179 --> 00:13:46.379 time comes in. We're doing all those work on the back end to really 220 00:13:46.860 --> 00:13:50.740 create content for the student when they're having this experience in their web browser. 221 00:13:50.059 --> 00:13:52.580 They're going to see what they need to see right away without having to sort 222 00:13:52.620 --> 00:13:56.009 and get lost, you know, and we don't want to lose them. 223 00:13:56.090 --> 00:13:58.889 So this is a way that we can help help them through that and be 224 00:13:58.009 --> 00:14:01.129 relevant. I really like that because I think that it's so important, and 225 00:14:01.250 --> 00:14:05.129 I talked to a lot of people about this, as let the computers do 226 00:14:05.250 --> 00:14:07.929 the the tasks and all the other things so that you can focus more on 227 00:14:07.090 --> 00:14:11.440 the on the relationships and being strategic. I love the fact that you're automating 228 00:14:11.440 --> 00:14:13.720 so much of that because, I mean, you know, the data is 229 00:14:13.720 --> 00:14:18.360 in the database. The computer should be able to figure out this person's out 230 00:14:18.360 --> 00:14:20.759 of state, so I'm going to insert this particular piece of contents that they 231 00:14:20.799 --> 00:14:24.110 have what they need and program specific and other things like that. So I 232 00:14:24.230 --> 00:14:28.750 think that that's so it's a critical thing that a lot of people miss is 233 00:14:28.909 --> 00:14:31.750 that really take advantage of these automated tools. You know, crm's are I 234 00:14:31.830 --> 00:14:35.789 mean, even if you use excel and word. There's ways to automate different 235 00:14:35.830 --> 00:14:39.299 things and take the time to figure that out. I think really pays off 236 00:14:39.419 --> 00:14:41.220 in the long run and at the end of the day it really makes it 237 00:14:41.340 --> 00:14:45.259 a better experience for the user, which is really what we're talking about. 238 00:14:45.700 --> 00:14:48.299 So I think that's a it's a really good point. Yeah, and when 239 00:14:48.299 --> 00:14:50.460 you're thinking about the content too, it's important, I think, to be 240 00:14:50.580 --> 00:14:54.529 thinking about the information you're collecting. And every institution I know operates very differently. 241 00:14:54.649 --> 00:15:00.009 So their methods of collecting information maybe a universal, universal form, or 242 00:15:00.169 --> 00:15:01.769 maybe they have the flexibility in the benefit of having their own where they can 243 00:15:01.769 --> 00:15:07.960 collect whatever information they want. But really being strategic and thoughtful about what information 244 00:15:07.000 --> 00:15:11.879 you're collecting to inform how your campaigns are going to be executed is really, 245 00:15:11.879 --> 00:15:13.440 really key. So if you're just asking for everything and really don't have a 246 00:15:13.519 --> 00:15:16.799 plan for how you're going to use it information, it's pointless. Right. 247 00:15:16.799 --> 00:15:18.919 It's a waste of the prospects time, it's a waste of your time. 248 00:15:18.360 --> 00:15:20.950 It's almost like the chicken before the egg. What comes first? Is a 249 00:15:20.990 --> 00:15:24.509 developing these forms of get leads, or is it thinking about how you're going 250 00:15:24.549 --> 00:15:26.350 to what types of messages you're going to send to these students to inform how 251 00:15:26.350 --> 00:15:28.549 you're going to build this form? Yeah, and I think that's a really 252 00:15:28.549 --> 00:15:33.110 a big conversation that needs to happen within, you know, departments. Yeah, 253 00:15:33.110 --> 00:15:33.950 and I think that that's a really good point too, because if you 254 00:15:33.990 --> 00:15:37.340 ask too much information, you're going to scare scare them away and they're going 255 00:15:37.340 --> 00:15:39.899 to be like I I'm not going to fill out an application just to get 256 00:15:39.940 --> 00:15:43.700 some information. And I think that's a balance that a lot of schools don't 257 00:15:43.700 --> 00:15:48.419 think about sometimes that you really put yourself in the in the shoes of your 258 00:15:48.500 --> 00:15:52.090 prospect who's a busy professional, you know, with with your particular audience, 259 00:15:52.129 --> 00:15:54.889 their busy professionals. They're trying to get answers to the questions that they have 260 00:15:56.129 --> 00:15:58.490 and they're trying to make some decisions in the middle of balancing work and life 261 00:15:58.570 --> 00:16:03.289 and and everything else. And if you're all the sudden asking them, you 262 00:16:03.370 --> 00:16:07.360 know, fifteen or twenty questions on an RFI, that is you're halfway down 263 00:16:07.399 --> 00:16:10.840 with an application at that point there, it's going to create a wall for 264 00:16:10.919 --> 00:16:14.320 them and I think that you're probably seeing that kind of thing in your data 265 00:16:14.440 --> 00:16:17.600 and that's probably helping you figure that out. So maybe you know, you 266 00:16:17.720 --> 00:16:19.309 mentioned data earlier and how you kind of go in to some of those, 267 00:16:21.029 --> 00:16:23.509 you know, analyzing your data to Chers to make better decisions, to choose 268 00:16:23.710 --> 00:16:27.309 the content and understand things. Tell us a little bit more about how you're 269 00:16:27.350 --> 00:16:32.750 using that, how you're how you're going about your data reviews. Yeah, 270 00:16:32.750 --> 00:16:36.299 that's a great question and it's been a big learning process and I'm I'm not 271 00:16:36.340 --> 00:16:37.259 going to claim to be an expert. I don't know if this ruins the 272 00:16:37.259 --> 00:16:41.460 episode or not, but it's worked for me so far. There's always so 273 00:16:41.500 --> 00:16:42.899 much more to learn and I love learning about this stuff. So I mean 274 00:16:42.899 --> 00:16:47.059 it's great too. That's I appreciate. What appreciate about your show. You 275 00:16:47.139 --> 00:16:48.490 know, can learn so much from the other professionals that are out there. 276 00:16:48.570 --> 00:16:52.289 But what I found to be helpful is when I'm looking through this data that 277 00:16:52.370 --> 00:16:56.769 we've collected from the way our students behave. Obviously I think it's pretty common 278 00:16:56.769 --> 00:17:00.879 to segment into three different different pieces. So the inquiry stage where they haven't 279 00:17:00.879 --> 00:17:04.240 submitted an application yet. You got that time with a student where they've submitted 280 00:17:04.279 --> 00:17:07.480 an application but they have not been they've not gotten an omissions decision yet, 281 00:17:07.640 --> 00:17:11.400 and then from those that have gotten their admission decision, what happens after that, 282 00:17:11.519 --> 00:17:12.680 what steps that they take? So I've broke it into those three parts 283 00:17:14.200 --> 00:17:18.789 and then I took about a too, because our department was relatively new and 284 00:17:18.869 --> 00:17:22.150 I started. I took about a two to three year historical look at how 285 00:17:22.190 --> 00:17:26.150 our students behaved in that each of those stages. So what I was looking 286 00:17:26.190 --> 00:17:30.900 at was how long from their initial inquiry to when they submitted an application. 287 00:17:30.460 --> 00:17:33.019 On average, how long did it take a students in that that part of 288 00:17:33.059 --> 00:17:37.140 the funnel to take the next action? And that was really really helpful because 289 00:17:37.180 --> 00:17:41.299 that was able to inform how long I was going to run an email campaign 290 00:17:41.339 --> 00:17:45.130 for that group of students. And I think it's also important to like it's 291 00:17:45.490 --> 00:17:48.250 it's easy to want to try to catch every single person, but realizing if 292 00:17:48.289 --> 00:17:52.250 we're doing that, that's a always going to be a oneonone system and it's 293 00:17:52.289 --> 00:17:55.690 really hard to do that within an automated system. You have to kind of 294 00:17:56.410 --> 00:18:00.240 you have to reach the ninety percent almost, you know, and then backfill 295 00:18:00.559 --> 00:18:03.279 with individual communication for those it maybe don't fit that. So that's what helps 296 00:18:03.359 --> 00:18:07.519 me build the automations is looking at that time frame. So what I found 297 00:18:07.599 --> 00:18:10.960 in our information we had about a twomonth window that a student might be hanging 298 00:18:11.000 --> 00:18:14.509 out there. From an inquiry to an application, that was about the longest 299 00:18:14.509 --> 00:18:17.710 that they'd be in that that stage. And then from application to admission, 300 00:18:17.829 --> 00:18:21.589 but a two week window, and then from admitted to enrolled it's another two 301 00:18:21.630 --> 00:18:23.349 months, depending on when they're coming in. It depends on start terms. 302 00:18:23.349 --> 00:18:26.470 There's a lot of a lot of variables for sure, as I'm sure a 303 00:18:26.470 --> 00:18:29.259 lot of you understand, but that just gave me a framework to know. 304 00:18:29.500 --> 00:18:32.539 Okay, so if I've got two months to run an email campaign for this 305 00:18:32.579 --> 00:18:34.859 specific stage, let's break it apart. Are we doing a monthly email? 306 00:18:34.900 --> 00:18:37.539 Are we doing a weekly email? What does this look like? And it 307 00:18:37.619 --> 00:18:41.849 just kind of really helped shape that strategy a bit. So that was the 308 00:18:41.009 --> 00:18:45.609 key thing I was looking at and then from there it was looking back at 309 00:18:45.650 --> 00:18:48.930 any of the other sources we had off look at the inquiry stage, for 310 00:18:48.970 --> 00:18:52.210 example, like after after a students submitted their initial RFI. What other touch 311 00:18:52.289 --> 00:18:55.650 points at the university that did a lot of them seem to have? Was 312 00:18:55.690 --> 00:18:57.480 a phone calls, was it a virtual event of some sort, and that 313 00:18:57.559 --> 00:19:00.880 really just kind of helped develop a strategy a bit more as well. I 314 00:19:02.079 --> 00:19:06.240 liked it. Looking at it from the funnel phase. I think you've simplified 315 00:19:06.279 --> 00:19:07.920 it down to the three. I think some schools kind of look at it, 316 00:19:08.240 --> 00:19:12.029 and I'm a big believer that you have to resell your service every time, 317 00:19:12.309 --> 00:19:15.509 your product every time. I mean you're doing one type of sale in 318 00:19:15.549 --> 00:19:19.430 the inquiry phrase, you're doing another type of sale in the application phase, 319 00:19:19.470 --> 00:19:23.819 you're doing another type of sale after acceptance with deposit and and or getting them 320 00:19:23.900 --> 00:19:26.859 registered and all those things. I mean there's like four or five different sales 321 00:19:26.900 --> 00:19:32.619 processes even up to matriculation, and so it's so critical to even you know 322 00:19:32.700 --> 00:19:36.019 whether whether you're looking at ags adult and graduate students or whether you're looking at 323 00:19:36.019 --> 00:19:40.089 traditional Undergrad or transfer. I think that there's just so much ways to use 324 00:19:40.130 --> 00:19:41.769 that date and I think that's a really, really great point. So thanks 325 00:19:41.769 --> 00:19:45.210 for sharing that. Yeah, and I think related to that to there's such 326 00:19:45.210 --> 00:19:48.529 a tendency, and I keep focusing on email. That's the big focus that 327 00:19:48.569 --> 00:19:52.089 I have right now is getting that nailed down. There's a tendency to just 328 00:19:52.210 --> 00:19:56.359 put all this, all these hyper links into emails. Like, if anybody's 329 00:19:56.400 --> 00:19:59.680 thinking to their inbox, nobody likes to see any email like that unless you're 330 00:19:59.680 --> 00:20:03.319 like specifically signing up for a newsletter. We were expecting multiple links, but 331 00:20:03.400 --> 00:20:07.789 if we're blasting students with that kind of information unwarranted, it's it's really not 332 00:20:07.829 --> 00:20:10.349 going to get any performance on that. So if the beauty of that is 333 00:20:10.470 --> 00:20:12.589 okay, so you've got this email with tons of hyperlinks, like you have 334 00:20:12.750 --> 00:20:15.789 basically the content you need for a campaign right there. Let's break it apart 335 00:20:15.789 --> 00:20:19.509 in two separate emails, deliver it to them and small, bite sized chunks. 336 00:20:19.509 --> 00:20:23.299 or it's not so overwhelming. And a lot of times I'm finding even 337 00:20:23.339 --> 00:20:26.740 with other within other departments at the university, that they already have the content 338 00:20:26.819 --> 00:20:30.900 they need to build out a full campaign. It's just instead of sending it 339 00:20:30.940 --> 00:20:33.460 in one or two emails, we can spread it out into nine or ten 340 00:20:33.539 --> 00:20:37.490 maybe to increase the lifespan of that Daan. We like to close each episode 341 00:20:37.490 --> 00:20:41.089 by asking our guests for a power nugget, something that you're doing or maybe 342 00:20:41.089 --> 00:20:45.769 you read about that could immediately be implemented by others. Do you have anything 343 00:20:45.849 --> 00:20:48.490 that you can share her, I mean without restating the generally specific thing, 344 00:20:48.529 --> 00:20:52.680 has been really helpful for me. I'd say. The other piece is really 345 00:20:52.000 --> 00:20:56.519 kind of elaborating at what I just mentioned. would be focusing in an email 346 00:20:56.759 --> 00:21:00.839 on one action step, maybe even to depending on you know what the actually 347 00:21:00.839 --> 00:21:03.039 emails designed for. But if you're really looking for student to take an action 348 00:21:03.119 --> 00:21:06.789 in the funnel, that has to be the primary focus. So don't bog 349 00:21:06.869 --> 00:21:10.549 it down with other things that they can get distracted on go down different rabbit 350 00:21:10.589 --> 00:21:12.309 holes. If you want them to apply, make that your your action. 351 00:21:12.789 --> 00:21:15.509 Maybe have a couple links to the application for admission. If you want them 352 00:21:15.549 --> 00:21:18.380 to fill out a request for information form, if you're buying lists and things 353 00:21:18.460 --> 00:21:22.859 like that, literally your only action they can take should be to fill out 354 00:21:22.900 --> 00:21:26.900 that form. There's a bit of a craft, I guess, with creating 355 00:21:26.940 --> 00:21:30.980 benefit messaging with an action, but if you keep them pretty short and sweet 356 00:21:30.980 --> 00:21:33.410 there's more likely a chance that they're going to actually click through and take the 357 00:21:33.450 --> 00:21:37.690 action you want. It's great, perfect. Thank you, Dan. And 358 00:21:37.569 --> 00:21:41.890 what's the best way for people to get ahold of you if they would like 359 00:21:41.049 --> 00:21:45.369 to? Probably the easiest way would be on Linkedin, just you can search 360 00:21:45.369 --> 00:21:48.599 for my name, Dan Freeborne. I'm there. Feel free to message me 361 00:21:48.680 --> 00:21:51.319 of any questions that you have. Would love to just hear what everybody's up 362 00:21:51.319 --> 00:21:53.880 to and what strategies are. I love collaborating that way. Thank you and 363 00:21:53.920 --> 00:21:57.160 Dan, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today. Thanks for having me, 364 00:21:57.559 --> 00:22:00.509 Bart. Do you have any parting thoughts? Before we wrap up, 365 00:22:00.630 --> 00:22:03.950 I just want to thank Dan too, just for being a guest on the 366 00:22:03.990 --> 00:22:07.829 show. I think it's been very valuable, Dan, and I think that 367 00:22:07.150 --> 00:22:11.069 I love the fact that you are really focused so much on this sun on 368 00:22:11.150 --> 00:22:15.390 the clear content that email can do, and I'm a big believer that the 369 00:22:15.549 --> 00:22:18.180 power hour of email is still there. I think you know, obviously with 370 00:22:18.259 --> 00:22:22.380 a GS, I think that that's their primary mode of doing that. Whether 371 00:22:22.420 --> 00:22:26.380 your Gen wire, jen x or boomers, that's the email is going to 372 00:22:26.420 --> 00:22:30.289 be the conduit. But I think even when you look at Gen Z and 373 00:22:30.569 --> 00:22:33.490 and parents, email can be a very powerful thing as well. You just 374 00:22:33.609 --> 00:22:37.769 have to kind of look at it slightly differently for generation Z and augment it 375 00:22:37.849 --> 00:22:40.130 with a few other things. But if you can copy mom and dad on 376 00:22:40.210 --> 00:22:44.170 that for the traditional you're right back in the sweet spot with email, and 377 00:22:44.289 --> 00:22:47.519 so I love what you've shared today and I love the the content that you've 378 00:22:47.519 --> 00:22:52.160 talked about. So thanks again. Absolutely well said. And now we end 379 00:22:52.200 --> 00:22:56.839 every episode with our commercial. The High Reed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Kao 380 00:22:56.039 --> 00:23:02.750 Solutions and Education, marketing and branding agency and by thing patented, a marketing, 381 00:23:02.789 --> 00:23:06.950 execution, printing and mailing provider of high it solutions. On behalf of 382 00:23:07.109 --> 00:23:11.869 my cohost Bark Taylor, I'm troy singer. Thank you for listening and supporting 383 00:23:11.950 --> 00:23:18.380 our podcast. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that 384 00:23:18.500 --> 00:23:22.539 you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. 385 00:23:22.420 --> 00:23:26.660 If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a 386 00:23:26.700 --> 00:23:30.170 quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the 387 00:23:30.210 --> 00:23:32.690 podcast deserves. Until next time.