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What is Marketing Automation and How Can It Help Your University?

Many people mistakenly think that marketing automation eliminates the human component from the process. After all, it relies on machines to engage prospects.

Higher Ed Marketing Tools
Higher Ed Marketing Tools

Many people mistakenly think that marketing automation eliminates the human component from the process. After all, it relies on machines to engage prospects. However, marketers consistently find that automation actually boosts human interaction.

Marketing automation tools and tactics can help you attract new applicants, connect with alumni who might offer a testimonial, donate to your university, or buy tickets to your school’s events.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation

Schools rely on their employees to keep the system functioning smoothly. However, if you dedicate your staff to repetitive manual tasks, those professionals cannot make meaningful contributions to the organization.

Think of marketing automation as a way to streamline those repetitive tasks so that your staff can focus on creating real, human connections.

Essentially, an automated digital marketing strategy creates a cause-and-effect chain of events. When a prospective student visits your website and signs up for your school’s newsletter, for instance, that student’s email address might automatically enter a database that sends out monthly enticements via email in addition to the newsletter. This is one of the essential elements of inbound marketing.

Essentially, every interaction that a prospective student initiates with your school triggers a response. You don’t have to click “send” or manually manage a database. The system does it for you.

White Paper: Inbound Marketing for Higher Education

How Does the System Work?

A growing number of schools are using customer relationship management software to power their automation. Essentially, the CRM becomes the backbone of your digital marketing strategy and helps support your university’s end goals, whether you’re hoping to boost enrollment, increase alumni engagement, or solicit donations from businesses.

A study conducted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) found that nearly 65 percent of responding higher education institutions are using CRM systems. Of the 36 percent that are not, more than 40 percent claimed to have considered implementing one.

A CRM doesn’t just automate your university’s digital marketing strategy. It also collects, analyzes, and draws conclusions from copious amounts of data. It unites all of your online properties (websites, social media accounts, email subscriptions, and more) so that you can understand how those people interact with your school.

Why Does Automation Matter For Your University?

Automation has transformed numerous industries, from engineering to retail, to universities. For instance, university library automation has created myriad time- and money-saving benefits for schools that no longer have to devote man hours to those jobs.

When you automate parts of your higher education marketing strategy, you gain powerful insights into how prospective students think. This competitive advantage allows you to predict prospect behavior and respond to their inquiries more effectively. As mentioned above, this technology isn’t just for increasing enrollment potential. You can also use it to maintain long-term relationships with alumni and donors.
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