How to Use Marketing Automation for Your Student Recruitment Plan

Prospective students are no longer impressed by a one-size-fits-all newsletter e-blast. Your students are sophisticated, have an overwhelming amount of information at their fingertips, and they have a lot of schools to choose from. They need a carefully planned student recruitment plan, and we’ve found that it comes in the form of marketing automation.

For Prospective Students

With marketing automation, prospective student nurturing becomes a science of behaviors and targeted interests and needs. The first step of this science is to categorize your prospective students into one of the following stages: research, consider, and commit. Then organize the information each stage needs to receive:

  1. Prospective students in the research stage are interested in basic information on your school’s tuition and fees, courses, scholarships, and financial aid. They are usually overwhelmed, and using marketing automation can help simplify the decision-making process.
  2. Those in the consider stage are interested in campus tours, open houses, overnight visits, and hearing what alumni have to say about their experiences. They like what they’ve seen so far, and now is the time to deliver the information they need in a timely fashion.
  3. Committed students have made a decision and now need information regarding FAFSA, scheduling classes and meeting advisors. Marketing automation solves the problem of sending all of this information manually.

Once you’ve categorized your students and organized the information they need, you can lead-score them through marketing automation. Lead-scoring attributes a calculated numeric value to each user, and points can be given based on behavior, such as interacting with certain emails and Web pages. The lead score can then be used to send different types of triggered messages based on where that user is within the three stages.

For Parents

As any school knows, parents are a major factor in decision making. They should also be marketed to with the research, consider and commit strategies. Identify the information most important to parents in each stage, and create a program that provides that information when parents are looking for it.

Using Dynamic Content

Remember that not all students who are in the same stage are equal. Each is interested in a different degree, and sending information that doesn’t interest a prospective student can cause disconnect. Dynamic content allows messages to be targeted to the degrees that interest each prospective student. Using information gathered from a form, you can send messages with only the degree information that a student is interested in.

Have you tried marketing automation? Share your experiences in the comments below.

And if you’re looking for help increasing enrollments, explore marketing automation programs for colleges and universities.


There’s power in 1:1 messaging across the student life cycle. See how it influences student recruitment, retention and alumni engagement in our free guide for higher-ed marketers.

Student Life Cycle Nurturing

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