Elevating Enrollment: How one university tripled their applications with direct mail.

Elevating Enrollment: How one university tripled their applications with direct mail.

With a goal of increasing the engagement of potential students and driving enrollment, one prominent public research university in the Southern United States decided to elevate its approach. With a rich academic history spanning numerous graduate programs, the university sought to revolutionize its marketing approach for young adults expressing interest in furthering their education. The campaign elements included identifying engaged leads, crafting personalized marketing materials, and implementing a measurable solution to gauge response. With limited resources, the university brought in a strategic partner to develop an innovative, multi-channel campaign. The results? A staggering 300% surge in response rates.

In this blog, we’ll share how personalized print campaigns became the catalyst for unprecedented student engagement and enrollment growth. Key elements of the marketing plan included:

  • Targeting Engaged Leads: Directing resources towards leads displaying genuine interest.
  • Personalized Marketing Materials: Creating tailored messages to enhance conversion rates.
  • Measurable Solutions: Developing a foolproof method to gauge the conversion rate of leads who received printed materials.

Within the constraints of limited financial and human resources, the university needed a solution that ranked high on efficiency, sparing their staff from additional management burdens.

The Strategic Solution
Their solution was a multi-channel campaign directed at leads sourced from acquired lists. Central to this campaign was a lead magnet—a printed variable viewbook personalized to each recipient.

This variable viewbook worked in three key ways:

  1. Actionable Engagement: The act of requesting the viewbook signified a lead’s commitment, enabling the university to identify engaged prospects not yet ready to apply but deeply interested in specific programs.
  2. Data-Driven Metrics: Through Personalized QR codes, email clicks, and Personalized URLs, the campaign measured engagements, providing valuable insights.
  3. Focused Resource Allocation: By pinpointing engaged leads within the broader pool, the Admissions team could channel resources toward those most likely to enroll in the university’s programs.

Lead Magnets: Unlocking Potential
Lead magnets proved instrumental in enticing prospects to share their information. In this example, the lead magnet was a personalized viewbook of the university. The viewbook was used as the offer, requiring prospective students to share their contact information in return for the viewbook. Not only did the university acquire leads, but they were also leads who showed a high level of interest by filling out the survey.

The Campaign Structure
The university initiated the campaign by dispatching a variable data postcard to their lead list, highlighting the graduate program of interest and encouraging recipients to visit their Personalized URL (PURL) for a personalized experience. An email follow-up ensued, ensuring a comprehensive touchpoint strategy.

Remarking to Engaged Leads
The campaign seamlessly identified engaged leads through various touchpoints—whether that was scanning PQR codes, email interactions, or PURL visits. For those who visited the PURL but didn’t submit the survey, remarketing options were deployed, including direct mail, additional emails, online ads, ringless voicemail, or SMS messaging.

Outreach Tactics: Print + Email
Engaging leads across multiple channels proved effective. The personalized postcard, coupled with timely emails, positively impacted conversion rates. The use of Personalized QR codes ensured precise tracking of recipient actions.

The PURL Experience
The Personalized URL (PURL) experience was tailored to provide a warm welcome, encouraging leads to take a brief survey to outline their interests and preferences. This interactive element was crucial in gauging lead engagement and shaping the subsequent personalized viewbook.

Identifying Engaged Leads
Utilizing PQR codes on direct mail pieces became a strategic move, signaling lead engagement. Unconverted engaged leads could be seamlessly funneled into follow-up campaigns for further conversion attempts.

The Survey: Achieving Dual Objectives
The survey achieved two critical goals: identifying genuinely interested leads and shaping the content of the personalized viewbook.

Cost-Saving Measures and Campaign Enhancements
Strategic email deployment, engagement criteria definition, and personalized mail pieces to actively engaged leads optimized resources. Ringless voicemail and text messaging added high-value, low-cost touches to the campaign.

Instant Response Coupled with Print
The campaign’s agile design enabled an instant digital response upon lead submission, directing them to a personalized microsite. Simultaneously, a variable data, customized viewbook was triggered for print and dispatched promptly to the lead.

The Campaign Dashboard
A comprehensive campaign dashboard empowered the Admissions team with real-time data on PQR code scans, email interactions, PURL visits, survey completions, and more. This wealth of information was seamlessly integrated into the CRM for further analysis and action.

A Successful Outcome
This integrated print and email campaign achieved remarkable results, with engagement and response rates soaring by an impressive 300%. The personalized viewbook, acting as a window into the university’s offerings, spurred increased application responses. The campaign also delivered valuable insights, helping identify the most effective purchased lists and eliminating costs associated with underperforming ones.

Key Takeaways
The university’s decision to collaborate with an external partner for this innovative campaign reaped significant rewards, unlocking new possibilities without burdening internal resources. Everything that worked together to help this university triple its response is a service that Think Patented can provide! Mail360 is our proprietary solution designed to seamlessly track the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns while enhancing results through complementary digital channels. Mail360 consists of individual services that are bundled together in one convenient package. Ease of use, effective communication, and high response rates add up to noteworthy ROI. See how it works here: TryLeads360.com

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