How do you know if the resources you invest in marketing and communications activities are producing adequate results?
No doubt, you collect, track and analyze important data on enrollment—inquiries, app, etc. But these numbers only tell you part of the story. They don’t give a full picture of how your communications activities are working.
To get a bigger view and insight into where to focus your efforts, dig into your website data. Most people interested in learning more about you will come to your website at some point in their decision-making process. When the number of visitors to your site increases, that means increasing interest in your organization.
More specifically, the number you want to follow is the number of new visitors to your website who come in via a search term that uses your school or college’s name or variation on that name. If that number is going up steadily, it means your marketing and branding activities are working. It means that people taking note of your name and are interested enough in who you are to find out more about you. You are making an impression.
It takes a little work to develop this number, but it’s a metric we recommend you should track. It is the best first measure of your marketing. Start by creating a new visitor report, then take a look at your organic search traffic. Add up all the traffic that uses your name or some variation of that name. Track it over time, paying attention to the timing of your key marketing activities and you’ll quickly start to see what works. The number is more meaningful if you look at it as a trend, not in isolation, so track it every month. Benchmark against the same month of the previous year. Admissions interest is cyclical—you need a full year of data. The data is meaningless if you don’t compare apples to apples.
One caveat: the number isn’t 100 percent pure. No web data ever really is. But the number is good enough and, if you track it, it will be good enough to use in decision-making. You’ll be able to see if your marketing is working. Once you have a handle on this metric, you can use it to assess other aspects of your communication activities. For example, are you reaching the right people? Are they finding the information they need? Is your website helping you convert that growing interest into inquiries, inquiries into applications?
If you’re not thrilled with your trend once you start looking or you aren’t sure what to do next, we hope you’ll call us. We’d love to help you get that line moving up.