Welcome to Pro Views, where we ask respected professionals about their strategy, design, development and marketing questions and share their answers.
This week we asked higher ed professionals about their must-have marketing tools:
What is the one marketing tool you have used that has provided tremendous value and has become your go-to for a specific task?
1. Engaging Prospective Students with Email Marketing Tools such as Listrak & MyEmma
I couldn’t foresee an easier way to communicate with prospective students without an email marketing tool. It’s an essential element to share our message from a student’s initial point of interest through the confirmation of their enrollment. Email marketing with vendors like Listrak or MyEmma can provide Higher Education Professionals an opportunity to share meaningful stories about current students, inspire students to apply, and can give reason or purpose about the value of your institution. It has been an essential element for our work and is the easiest way for our staff to share an important message quickly with a group of students. You may find that text messaging, social media or even a phone or video interview could be a great conversion tool; which they are! However, the sheer amount of information, design priorities, and stories most institutions share at the drop-of-a-dime can be most efficiently done to draw results through email; it’s drawn the most significant results for our purposes and I can’t wait to see how it evolves.
Brian Benusa, @BrianBenusa
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
2. Managing University’s Social Media Communities with Hootsuite
My must-have tool or the tool I would miss the most would be Hootsuite. We are always evaluating the latest social media buzz or analytics tools, but Hootsuite is the tool that has always stayed on my desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Why? After years of facilitating social media communities within an organization, the one thing that tends to be forgotten or pushed to the background with the rush to broadcast is listening and being responsive to our customers. Hootsuite provides those avenues to listen and react as a organized team when customer service is a priority!
Carl Lew, @FarmerOfLlamas
Saint Martin’s University
3. Monitoring and Engaging in Twitter Conversations with Tweetdeck
One of my go-to tools in Tweetdeck in terms of knowing about and engaging in Twitter conversations about and around our college. I keep separate searches for references about the college (“sunyoswego,” “suny oswego” “oswego state”), follow specific hashtags we’re using and respond to anybody accordingly. It’s wonderful to see, for example, a student celebrating getting into SUNY Oswego, and then we give them a virtual high five by posting an animated gif and congratulations, which they usually share within their own network. Amplifying the awesome is one of the best things about this job, and Tweetdeck makes it easier to do so.
Tim Nekritz, @TimNekritz
Director of Web Communication and Associate Director of Public Affairs
State University of New York at Owswego
4. Monitoring and Measuring Broadcast Media Exposure with TV Eyes
The tool I value most at this current time is TV Eyes. This tool allows us to very effectively monitor and measure our broadcast media exposure. The service includes real time TV monitoring search and alert notifications and is accessible via any device. We can save our most cherished clips in an archive for retrieval later as part of presentations or other reporting/analysis. As we know in today’s world, content is king and being able to have an affordable tool that captures what airs concerning our organization is very valuable!
Barb Dreger, @BarbDreger
Director of College Marketing
Fox Valley Technical College
5. Tracking Website Traffic & Marketing Performance with Google Analytics
There are many tools we cannot live without in our office. Many of them are the most basic of things – like a solid calendaring system for ensuring we cover the important events or spreadsheets (how much more basic can you get?) to maintain and share accurate metrics.
My top, must-have tool, however, is Google Analytics. With this monitoring tool, we’re able to determine which web pages – academic and nonacademic – are most used by internal and external audiences. We’re able to tell which academic programs are the most interesting for prospective students and which program pages have the most engaging content. These two measures alone can help us as an office understand where we need to enhance content in order to achieve our strategic goals.
Google Analytics can also influence where we launch targeted recruiting efforts. When we saw a surge in visitors from the state of Louisiana, which we had to believe was influenced by fiscal unrest in the state that impacted higher education, we pushed more online marketing and media relations in that geographic area. We also launched special web content for individuals who visited our site from IP addresses in Louisiana. Without those initial numbers delivered through our dashboard, we’d never have known that there was an increased interest in our university from that particular state.
Tonya Oaks Smith, @marleysmom
Office of Marketing and Communications
Henderson State University
Do you have a marketing tool recommendation you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.