Recruitment is an essential part of every post-secondary institution’s efforts to bring more students through its doors each year. Recruitment efforts would typically consist of large gatherings and fairs at high schools and community centers but with the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus and gathering restrictions being implemented to help prevent its spread, recruiters need to find new ways to attract new students to their institution.
Most of these new recruitment efforts have to be virtual in some way or another. Webinars, Q&As through social media, and email information campaigns sent to prospective students are becoming the new normal and this means that recruiters need to rethink how they are able to engage with students when they no longer have the option to connect with them face to face.
One might not think that an automation platform can help with engaging prospective students, due to the mere nature of its sending automated communications and not individual messages, however, such a tool can actually be a massive advantage for recruiters.
Well, here are five ways recruiters can leverage the use of automation technology in their student recruitment efforts without compromising engagement.
1. Simplified registrations
Signups are more important than ever, as they provide recruiters with vital numbers they need to gauge interest in virtual recruitment events so they can determine how much time to allow for each segment. Signups are also important for collecting contact information from the prospective student so recruiters can provide them with additional information they may have requested.
Before COVID-19 came into the picture, a lot of recruiters captured this information manually using paper signup forms passed around at in-person events, which they then took and transferred into their digital databases. Nowadays, however, sharing paper forms around provides too much risk for transmitting the COVID-19 virus.
Which brings us to the reason why online forms can provide recruiters a way to not only easily obtain signup information from prospective students, but also a way to prevent any input errors that may occur through attempting to decipher someone’s handwriting while entering information into a computer.
Recruiters can create online forms through an automation platform that can be added to custom landing pages (which can also be created and designed using the platform). When prospective students submit their information through the online form, the automation platform will then automatically take the information and create a contact profile for them in the connected CRM.
Recruiters can segment prospective students by having the solution add the CRM contact to one or more contact lists depending on which online form they submit to make it easier when sending them communications to them in the future.
2. A/B split testing to boost conversions
Wouldn’t it be useful to know whether your online recruitment tools, such as your custom landing pages are as engaging as possible?
Through the use of an automation platform, recruiters have the ability to compare and contrast the levels of engagement for multiple versions of the same landing page.
This is called A/B split testing and it is a great, automated way to ensure your web content is as optimized and conducive to conversions as it can be.
The way recruiters can utilize A/B split testing is by creating two or more versions of the same landing page within a single campaign, each using the same URL. Depending on the set traffic strategy (how the platform will decide which page to show for each viewer) a visitor will see a specific version of the page. When setting up the landing page campaign, a recruiter must decide how the system will determine which of the pages in the campaign performs best. Potential deciding factors could be the page that received the most conversions; the page that receives the lowest bounce rate; or the page that visitors spend the longest average time on.
Once the automation platform determines a winner, that page will become the only page associated with the URL and the recruiter will know that their landing page is fully optimized.
3. Multi-channel reminders
Recruiters may have to schedule recruitment fairs and events months in advance, allowing prospective students to have enough to sign up and research the respective institution.
If there is enough time between a prospective student signing up and the event, sending a reminder to them closer to the event date is certainly a good idea. With an automation platform, recruiters can create and schedule these reminders ahead of time and they will be sent on the chosen date automatically.
As well, if the recruiter has asked the prospective students how they would prefer to be contacted through the signup form and this information is available in their CRM contact profile, this reminder message can be sent through that particular method. For example, some contacts may prefer to receive reminders through email while others prefer SMS or phone calls.
Using an automation platform means recruiters can leverage multi-channel communication, furthering their engagement with prospective students who will appreciate being contacted via their preferred method.
Through the communication campaign’s reports, recruiters can gauge prospective students’ engagement and interactions with their messages with the ability to see whether the recipient has opened it or not, or clicked any provided links or not, giving the recruiter valuable insight about the prospect.
4. Social media engagement
Many educational institutions maintain an online social media presence as a way to attract new students and provide information about their courses and campus activities. Recruiters have an opportunity to really beef up this presence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more prospective students are searching for information online.
Rather than having a team of posters and tweeters glued to their monitors 24/7 to post to various feeds to keep the institution in followers’ purview, an automation platform can cut down on most of this effort through an automated scheduling tool that lets recruiters scheduled their regular information-heavy posts.
This leaves the recruiters time to follow up with direct messages and questions manually and posting engagement content organically. A scheduled solution helps to supplement these organic posts and boosts the overall presence of the institution and its reputation for answering messages in a timely fashion. Timely responses can go a long way to improving prospective students’ confidence that this institution will take care of their needs, both personal and educational.
The beauty of using an automation platform to take care of any social media scheduling needs is that it keeps all of a recruiter’s communication campaigns in one central location and means they do not have to keep switching between accounts and applications to perform various different tasks. All information is retained in the platform and can be reviewed whenever a recruiter needs it.
5. Targeted automation campaigns
Tying all these recruitment methods together is the ability for recruiters to use an automation platform to create an automated communication campaign using all of these different elements and keep it running in the background while they focus on personal outreach and responding to any individual requests for information that may come into their hands.
For example, once a prospective student submits a form located on one of the custom landing pages created within the platform, they can be initiated into an information campaign that will automatically send them information based on the preference selections they made in the submitted form via their preferred communication method.
The automation platform can run a decision query and if a prospective student indicates they are interested in the Arts program, they will be automatically sent down the Arts path in the automated campaign, receiving relevant information about the program and offered courses.
Another campaign can be run concurrently to the program information campaign, which could provide prospective students information relevant to any online recruitment events they may have expressed an interest in attending.
Automated campaigns can be made as specific or as general as the recruiter desires, but in either case will greatly assist them with their recruitment and engagement efforts by freeing up valuable time to be spent on other important endeavors, such as planning future online recruitment fairs and events.
Searching for an automation platform?
SimplyCast’s all-in-one engagement automation platform can provide post-secondary education recruiters with all the tools they need in order to increase their efficiency and manage prospective students’ information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Click the button below to request a demo of the SimplyCast solution so you can see for yourself how you can easily maintain the same level of engagement with students without having to meet them face to face.