Three Digital Resolutions You Need for 2021

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Three Digital Resolutions You Need for 2021

Whilst we may not be fully embracing the New Year and listing resolutions as confidently as we may have pre 2020, undoubtedly there will be some we’ll include in our wish list pre/post restrictions and hopefully further ahead to a post COVID-19 world.

So, we thought we’d get you started with the three biggest digital resolutions we think you need in your life.

1. Time is precious… reduce the effort needed to find content on your website.  

The majority of university websites have a lot of content to suit the various audiences they serve. In student recruitment, you’ll have prospects at different stages of their decision-making journey, at various stages in their lives, different countries, courses and potentially the way they’ll be learning with you.

How you answer a question about a course, or what they need to do next, should logically be adapted to suit that individual

, just as you would if you were speaking with them in person.

But what this means for the majority of websites, is that there is a whole myriad of routes a prospect could find themselves in before they get to the right piece of content they need.

We actually found that the average number of internal links on university websites in the UK was 187, with some institutions offering more than 1200!

So, for your first resolution – think about how you can reverse engineer the user experience to be more like a conversation. Rather than rely on the structure of the website (which is still important to consider of course!), think about how else you can fill in the gaps in order to better serve content to suit a prospect.

With we do this through displaying a series of cues that help to fill in some of the blanks as students interact with an institution’s website – and we see this helps students find the right content at the right time in subsequent visits. It also leads to more time spent engaging with content and increased conversion rates.

2. Go and join the conversation

Yes, we know many of us are getting used to our four walls and the art of conversation with new people seems more daunting in 2021… but one thing we do know is how to have more conversations digitally!

And just like our pre-Zoomed-out existence, our expectations on where to have these digital conversations has to take a better view of where our prospects are. It should, in fact, be a critical part of our student engagement and for the most part of 2020, formed one of the only proactive approaches institutions could take.

Yes, virtual recruitment events and a well-developed website are critical to the effort of helping students find the right institution and course for them. However, these things already rely on some commitment and interest invested by a prospect. Even before that level of engagement occurs, there are ways you can be starting a conversation with prospective students.

And no, we don’t mean banner ads or high-end TV slots. We’re talking about how to integrate targeted messaging within social media advertising to begin to converse with students in the spaces they already are in.

A really good example of this is a project we worked on with Roehampton and how they cleverly adapted their student content for TikTok. It shows how the right kind of integrated advertising can help create more of a conversation as you serve the next level of content, adjust it to audience groups and ultimately lead them to that next step.

3. Use the right data to inform your approach

It's easy to get overloaded with the breadth of data you can use to inform how you adapt your digital marketing efforts – we get it.

But one thing we know from experience, is that your approach to data is one of the single most important tools you have in order to make your campaign a success (and we’re not talking about how you report that it was a success or what notional digital league table you end up on…!).

The information you use can not only help you adjust your efforts in real time, but it can help inform your approach to the content you actually need, or where students are cutting their research on particular courses short.

In short, you may not yet know some of the critical factors that are influencing a students’ decision this coming year and into 2022 and beyond. Rather than base any of this on vanity metrics, your third key resolution is to ask more and to listen.

Thankfully this doesn’t have to mean an additional 10 questions onto an annual student recruitment survey (although again, some of the data surveys can give you is really helpful so obviously don’t ignore it). If you’re able to integrate real time questions as prospects engage with your content, you can find out more about what else they’re missing from the conversation, why they’re turning off a particular course far earlier than before, or key insights into why certain groups of prospects aren’t seeing you as the place for them.

Sounds easy right? Some of these steps are relatively straightforward, whilst others require a little more work. What we do know, is that these three resolutions are really helpful in aligning all the information and content you have to what students actually need at any given time and that can only be a good thing.