Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Are opens and clicks a true indicator of campaign success?

Everyone focuses their attention on opens and clicks. Although they are interesting benchmarks I challenge you to to draw any conclusions regarding the success of a campaign based on these two numbers. Today's society is very different than in the past (big surprise, huh?). A client recently did a study thinking their email campaigns were failing, only to learn that people weren't clicking through but instead were calling the school directly, going to the website and filling out a form there, NOT the Landing Page. Plus, if I see one more landing page with more than one "out" I think I'll scream.

For those of you who don't know, any link in an email that takes you to anyplace other than the Landing Page designed for the campaign is a way for someone to NOT fill out a form or contact the school. Or, they are simply calling the school directly and you have no idea where the prospect came from. So, the $64,000 question, are you checking to see where your prospects and students are coming from?

Here is my suggestion. Make a survey, three questions. And send it to all of the non-traditional students who have enrolled in the past six or twelve months. Something like this:

We are attempting to fine tune our marketing efforts and would like to ask you two simple questions.

How did you first hear about XYZ University?

  1. Family/friends
  2. Billboard
  3. Email from our University
  4. Radio Ad
  5. Television Ad
  6. Postcard 

If you received an email from us did it cause you to contact us directly without using any links?

  1. yes
  2. no

If you did click through did you fill out the form, or contact us directly?

  1. yes
  2. no


What you may discover is that links and forms are no longer the way people complete a transaction. People are seeing the email/postcard, get motivated to contact you and pick up the form, or go to the website to find a program they are interested in and then register.

A recent client noticed a drop in clicks, yet they saw an increase in website visits. This perplexed them, and they decided to check by doing a survey like the one I have listed. It turns out that the majority of their new students got an email, never clicked through and just called to make an appointment and then registered. Are YOU checking to see how your emails perform? In reality they got more response from their email campaign than they anticipated, they just weren't clicks.

Don't jump to conclusions that a given campaign is a failure. You may be missing the boat by not finding out how your real students are contacting you.

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