When it comes to online marketing, A/B testing has proven to be one of the most useful tools to test the waters with potential customers. While it can be crude to label prospective students as customers, they are indeed a highly sought after audience — one that deserves extraordinary attention to their behavioral actions and reactions.
Using variants of email communications — version “A” and “B” — you can gauge which emails are hitting home and encouraging prospective students to complete their application for admission.
Ryan Underwood, writing in Inc. magazine, cites a recent survey that found “of the online marketers who measured return on their A/B testing, 81 percent reported a positive return on investment.”
Though Underwood is speaking specifically of “physical stuff,” that is, actual, tangible products one can hold in the hand, the implications for college emails to prospective students are no less tangible. Depending on the shape you give the emails — more or less detail, shorter or longer, focus on school statistics or the town’s cultural outlets — you can chart the effect on student response and thereby develop your communications appropriately.
Small tweaks can make a big difference — things like subject lines and using more impactful wording.
But there are also more complex changes to make. For instance, one item that Capture Higher Ed tests in our communication flow is the length of our emails. After all, high school seniors may have too much on their minds to wade through a long email. With A/B testing, we can see which version works best and implement the results into future communications.
We also track responses from men and women, and the distance from the school — seeing if there’s particular messaging or value-propositions that generate greater responses.
College institutions should continuously test throughout each campaign cycle to find the best way to reach prospective students. With each change you make, new data comes in.
At Capture, we’ve built this process into our system, taking care of the details in the data so you can focus on more important things — communicating with students already on your admissions radar.
By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed