With so many reputable law schools in the New York area and along the East Coast, competition between institutions to recruit top talent has risen to new heights. One of the biggest struggles law schools face during the recruitment process is differentiating from competitors and keeping the interest of prospective students engaged until they’re ready to start applying.
How can law schools bridge the gap between the student’s first interaction (such as visiting a booth at a law school fair) and their final application submission? When balancing how to connect with the students who are the best fit for our school, with keeping their interest alive while they complete their undergraduate studies, every touch point matters–and using online capabilities can strengthen your online brand for these offline results.
Gather Data, Then Segment
Law school fairs have always been important when building relationships with prospective students. But how can you turn that initial in-person interaction between school and student into meaningful and lasting online communication? It all starts with data.
(Next page: Hofstra’s online brand strengthens through data and customization, automation)
At Hofstra Law, we were using hand written sign-in forms to collect prospective student information before switching to an email marketing automation platform. Now, we use the information we capture with digital sign-up forms – like students’ names, email addresses, campus where we met them, initial meeting date, and the year they plan to enroll – to immediately segment our new email subscribers. Students who are taking the LSAT soon and will be deciding on a law school in the near future, are placed into one group, while students who have a few more years left as undergrads are placed into another. This initial segmentation sets us up to become more targeted and effective with our future email marketing campaigns.
Customize and Automate
Using the list segments above, we then customize our communication. Instead of just blasting out an all-purpose email asking prospective students to apply to Hofstra Law when they still have two years of undergraduate studies left, we get personal. We send a targeted email to these students thanking them for stopping by our booth and letting them know the next time we’ll be on campus. With that email, we set the groundwork for continuing their relationship with Hofstra Law. For those students who will be choosing a law school soon, we send an email directing them to specific landing pages offering free webinars or printable brochures to learn more about our program, and including details on how to apply. The targeted personalization leads to more effective communication with each audience.
The more we customize, the better our engagement. The better our engagement, the more likely it is that a student will decide to attend Hofstra Law. I can always tell which students we initially met in person just by looking at our email tracking; their engagement is on average 4x higher than someone we have only communicated with through email. The details we gain in-person directly impact our online strategy and our email campaigns. It’s all about relationship building and email helps us to continue the conversation.
Automation takes us a step further. We no longer have to dedicate as many resources to making sure the right email gets to the right person at the right time. We simply segment and customize our emails, and automated marketing workflows do the rest. By saving time and resources, we’re able to justify spending more marketing dollars attending live events, such as law school fairs, that have always been at the heart of our student engagement strategies.
From an admissions standpoint, we’re lucky. We know one of our audiences consists of prospective students who have taken or plan to take the LSAT. The challenge lies in trying to stay ahead of a very competitive law school environment, especially in areas like New York and the East Coast. The law school that can create a lasting impression by actually building a relationship with a student usually wins at decision time.
In this competitive landscape, automating our outreach has greatly increased our engagement with prospective students from the first impression to accepting an admissions offer. It’s a winning strategy for Hofstra Law.