3 Metrics Universities Need to Adopt for More Student Admissions

Written by Abby Nieten on February 26, 2016

Posted in Analytics, Education

If you work in higher ed marketing, specifically in student admissions, you are probably already held accountable for a few numbers. Obviously, overall new student enrollment is a crucial metric for any university, and you most likely have to keep pretty good tabs on campus visit signups, application counts, and other metrics that ensure the success of your team.

But if you’re like a lot of marketers, you might not be able to tie an exact number to the efforts you’re putting in to get more student admissions. Recently, we at Formstack surveyed marketers at over 200 businesses to learn about their problems and opportunities, and we summarized the findings in our new “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” report. One of the biggest surprises of the report was, despite all the data we have access to every day, 45% of respondents still couldn’t confidently tie ROI to their daily tactics.

Graph showing that 45% of marketers cannot tie ROI to their lead capture efforts.

You may not think of your role as higher education lead generation, but as an admissions employee at your university, you might have more to do with lead capture than you think. Think about it for a second. If someone asked you what project or event brought in the most new students on move-in day, could you give them a strong answer? When tasked with drawing students to your school, a lead capture mindset might be what you need to figure out your best activities to scale.

One easy way to start thinking in lead generation speak is to look at the overall conversion rates of your activities. A conversion rate is when you divide the total number of people who completed your goal by the number of people exposed to your brand (check out this in-depth guide for more info). We’ll get into more of the basics of this in a second, but trust us on this one—in our report, the marketers who said they monitor conversion rates as a key metric for their goals could confidently report on ROI 100% of the time.  

Here are a few conversion metrics to monitor if you want to align your efforts with marketing and lead capture strategies:

1. The Conversion Rate on Your “Request More Info” Form

The form on your site for prospective students to get more information is the pinnacle of “lead capture,” but it’s also a tricky stage of the recruitment process. You know at this stage that students might not totally be in love with your school yet. Heck, when I was looking at colleges, I filled out this form just because I liked getting mail.

But even though this is an early stage of the college search process, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it as easy as possible to fill out this form. After all, the more people who request additional info, the more email addresses and information you can capture for later in the recruitment process. And in our “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” report, almost a quarter of marketers attributed their best leads to organic website traffic.

Quick Formstack tip: Try adding Social Autofill functionality to this form to make it easier for students to complete the form with their Facebook or Google+ account info. If there is still abandonment, use Field Bottlenecks to figure out which questions are causing students to leave and change those questions.

2. Your Campus Visit Signup Rate

Out of all the people who request more information about your university, how many actually sign up for a campus visit? Knowing this conversion rate is a key way to gauge true interest in your school. Do you ask any identifying questions on your “Request More Info” form, such as major of interest or year in school? Use these questions to segment your email list and send targeted event information for their planned graduation date or academic subject. If you’re not already leveraging this tactic for your campus visit promotion, our survey showed us that email marketing is one of the top three tactics for bringing in quality leads across the spectrum.

Quick Formstack tip: Integrate your info form with your preferred email marketing client and automatically update your segmented lists with new submissions. After students decide to visit your campus, send them a confirmation email when they submit the event registration form to make sure they have all of the information they need before visit day.

3. Your Visit Attendance to Overall Commitment Rate

If you can document how many students actually show up on campus visit day, you’ll have a wealth of information that’ll complete the final piece of the lead capture puzzle. With this information, you can see how many people who signed up actually made the trip to visit your school and can modify promotional tactics to amp up that number. You can also see who, out of the students who showed up, actually filled out the application form to join your campus family. This will help you understand the effectiveness of your visit programming and identify if any tweaks need to be made to improve the overall experience. And since you have the prospective students’ email information, you can follow up personally to get their thoughts on why they did or did not fill out your application form.

Quick Formstack tip: Use a form to log attendance on your visit day and keep all your conversion data in one place. Whether you’re using a computer at a desk or an iPad on the front lawn of your student center, our mobile-optimized forms look good on any device.

Conclusion

These are just some basic metrics to get you started on a lead capture path for your recruitment efforts. And conversion rate optimization and monitoring can be replicated for a lot of different strategies at your university—getting more donations, increasing involvement in a student initiative, etc. But no matter the strategy, checking out a few of the metrics above should inspire new things to try as you learn more about your audience and how they interact with your school.

Want to know all of the findings from our marketing survey report? Read “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” now!