Private, Liberal Arts
In order to stay viable in a tough recruiting market, Newman University hired a nationally known firm to help boost enrollment. While this firm delivered on their promise to increase applications, the admissions staff at Newman were flummoxed: over an 8-year period, the increased applications never resulted in more deposited students.
After just one cycle with Waybetter, Newman:
- enrolled 16% more non-athletes than the previous year
- saw their marketing cost per enrolled student plummet from $3,800 to $950.
Newman University: Increasing enrollment and spending less (After Parting Ways with a National Enrollment Management Firm)
The Whole Story
Newman is a small university in Wichita, KS with 1,200 undergraduate students, many of whom come from a historically reliable, but highly competitive, concentrated feeder market. Despite its good reputation and unique service-oriented mission, they were struggling to remain relevant in the increasingly fierce battle for prospective students.
When they hired a well-known national firm to help them boost enrollment, Newman initially felt relief as applications spiked…significantly. Their peace of mind was, unfortunately, short lived. Despite spending $285,000 per year on this firm, a staggering 47% of Newman’s applications were incomplete.
Several factors accounted for the high number of incomplete applications, and for the abysmal yield from applications to deposits. Chief among them was that the firm Newman hired made applying to Newman too easy, which encouraged students who were very unlikely to attend Newman to apply anyway. These were soft applicants—poor matches from the start. In fact, in a last-minute effort to increase enrollment in their Fall 2014 class, Newman’s partner spent an additional $60,000 trying to reach out-of-state students. The effort generated 990 applications from Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. On the surface, this was a great result in new recruiting territory, but this pool resulted in only 8 enrollments (and marketing costs of a staggering $7,500 per student).
The Waybetter Way
On our first trip to Newman, we started by getting to know all the things that make Newman the special, life-changing institution it is. Once we had a full understanding of its core values and mission, we set to work making sure that the students who were a good fit for Newman were being:
1) Accurately identified through strategic, data-driven name buys
2) Talked to in the most personal, most relevant way possible
3) Made aware of available scholarships sooner rather than later
In addition to identifying the right students to target, we also advised Newman to continually buy names as they became available and to add them to the search campaign. This “always on” approach helped ensure that the campaign was perpetually fueled with the best possible leads.
Once we started talking to the right students, we sent them waves of personalized messaging and attracted them to microsites where they could express their interests and concerns, and get responses in real time. Every action a student took on the microsite was tracked and reported, and automated daily reports were sent to counselors alerting them to any new information about the prospects.
The Good News
It worked. In addition to enrolling 16% more non-athletes, Newman:
· Increased yield from 13.1% to 22.8%
· Grew their 2016 inquiry pool by 25%
We did it for Newman. We’ll do it for you.