It's not me, it's you - how a shift in audience focus can boost conversion


By Dan Beynon

These are turbulent times and it’s fascinating to be working with Higher Education marketing professionals as we consider the best ways to engage the right groups of potential students. There’s a quite understandable focus on strategies for conversion across the sector and over the last month we’ve delivered a series of conversion masterclasses in London and Manchester. These sessions were attended by 30 different universities and the striking thing was that all types of institutions came along. There was no distinction based on mission group, tariff or geography. So it’s quite clear the conversion challenge is as universal as the desire to hear best practice.

As an agency we work hard to help universities truly understand their audiences both in terms of their current cohort and their opportunity markets. The holy grail for us is highly targeted communications delivered to specific audience segments providing the information they need exactly when they want it. It was interesting that the conversion masterclasses revealed that many institutions felt they were delivering segmented conversion communications but in reality they were not. And that sometimes any progress in this area was delayed by a nervousness about the sheer scale of the task.

So we have encouraged people that instead of solving the whole problem in one hit it is really helpful to break the task up and enjoy some quick and achievable wins that will have some instant impact. Things like improving and sharing website analytics, developing an attractive email template or 3 or getting a group of people together to really understand the impact of moments that matter in the customer journey.

It also became clear during discussions at the masterclasses that the content many institutions were sharing through all their conversion communications might not actually be as valuable to the audience as the universities think. It was interesting to see how much content qualified under the description of ‘what we want to say?’ rather than ‘what do the audience want/need to hear?’