With the January UCAS deadline for applications at the start of the next quarter, it’s time to start thinking about how prospective student behaviour changes throughout the coming months, and how your website experience can evolve to nurture students during this key decision making time.
Whilst we know offering courses and grade discounts for Black Friday isn’t going to go down well at your next admissions meeting, there are some tactics that you could consider to engage your student audience over the short term:
- Key Reminders: In ecommerce, we’re already seeing a lot of traffic online pre-empting Black Friday discount codes and offers, some of which open early, others just remind and reinforce the date and time. Black Friday sales are longer than they ever have been, and advertisers are putting emphasis this year on early reminders for seasonal shopping.
When it comes to student recruitment, it’s worthwhile taking inspiration from this and start subtly reminding users about the upcoming application deadline.
You can set a track within cues.ai to remind and nudge audience groups to pick up where they left off, book the next opportunity available or simply remind them of UCAS deadlines. You can use your audiences’ online experiences as a form of mini conversations that you can add into time frames to help offer useful reminders, similar to how Black Friday offers will continue to increase over the coming weeks.
- Conversation Starters: What’s different to Black Friday offers that sets them apart from other offers available at different points throughout the year? You could argue very little for some. However, the content around this US-formed discount weekend has generated a far-reaching sense of excitement around online sales.
The goal here is to generate a similar buzz around application deadlines through structured website messaging and marketing.
Student marketing teams often have more control than those working in ecommerce marketing in relation to defining their own seasonal traffic/interest peaks – with the obvious exception of the January UCAS application deadline and Clearing. You are in charge of when you start the conversation with prospects about key dates in the recruitment cycle. This is more than putting up a hero image on a homepage to promote an event – it's about treating your prospects as individuals on their own jouney to making an application, and subtly starting conversations through prompts on your website. Think about key engagement points with audiences over the cycle, where are you adding momentum about signing up for events, hearing from students or attending open days?
- Test what works: Integrating your digital advertising alongside cues.ai allows you to not only inform a longer part of the early conversations you have with a prospect but also enables you to split test what works well to engage different audiences off-site. You can make informed guesses about the relevant messages and pieces of content that you think your audience groups need but using a campaign push in a focused way really allows you to test your theories and improve your approach.
The key to engagement is having your website evolve over the recruitment cycle, and subtly personalise itself to those browsing. This is where cues.ai comes in, so if you’re interested in joining the fast-growing customer base of universities and colleges using cues.ai, feel free to schedule a chat with our founders Guy and Mark to see how it can work for your institution.