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4 ways to measure your marketing effectiveness in higher education


What marketing efforts are driving your success? If you were asked where your department could trim some fat or in what area you would advise increasing efforts to generate greater returns, would you know the answer? Unfortunately, many communications and marketing professionals experience the frustration of not knowing the answers to these questions. The problem lies in an inability to measure marketing effectiveness. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this hurdle and turn your department into a data-driven, results-oriented operation.

It all starts with your CRM

In today’s fast-paced world, speed, ease and reliability are vital components of data. The marketing department and admissions team not only need data, they need to be able to use it. This is where a Customer Relationship Management system — also called a CRM — comes in. A CRM is the central storehouse of all your customer related data. It is software that tracks contact information, interactions with prospects and students, and can segment contacts into groups based on demographics or other variables. Some CRMs designed specifically for higher education might be optimal for your institution.

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Add a marketing software like HubSpot

Next to a CRM, the ability to automate marketing activities and track the success of every email, social media post, blog post, landing page, lead capture form (and much more) is invaluable. An all in one package that contains a CRM, marketing automation, and analytics is probably ideal. For instance, HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software that is built around the concept of attracting visitors, converting leads, and closing customers. Harkening back to the idea of one central storehouse, why not go all in and make it a central hub of marketing activity that covers not only tracking and storing data but also marketing activities, for example, building a landing page or scheduling a tweet.

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Google analytics

Almost all companies and organizations that are serious about digital advertising use Google Analytics (GA). Unfortunately, not all of them use it to its full potential, leaving valuable insights, and potential customers behind. However, GA is not only powerful enough for enterprise use, it’s simple enough for sole proprietors. Additionally, the standard version is free and comes with Google’s amazing cloud storage which enables them to process huge amounts of data with no problem in a user-friendly interface. At the end of the day, GA offers a more robust and in-depth measurement of your website than any other solution. No matter what else you have in place, a free GA account is a no-brainer.

Online dashboards

Online dashboards can be a very helpful way to synthesize a lot of data. Not only do online dashboards offer real-time feeds, they bring together a plethora of data sources. This saves you a lot of time and can be a powerful way to show results to higher-ups. Marketing efforts and certain tactics have the habit of becoming either lost in the shuffle or overly-prioritized. It’s important to be able to view all of them at once and in their proper places to make the best decisions. Don’t become lost in the weeds of one tactic or one platform. Like a general, take a step back and view the entire battlefield. Dashboards are the perfect place to do this. 

Document anecdotal success

Don’t forget to document anecdotal success. Despite the massive amounts of data available to the modern marketer, there is still something incredibly powerful about personal anecdotes. Once you’ve collected and interpreted the data, find the anecdotal evidence that helps illustrate what you’ve found. There are several benefits to doing this. It will provide a heart-warming confirmation of what you have found or offer a warning to reexamine the context of your data. It will also prove invaluable by making your findings more memorable and easier to explain to someone who isn’t analytically savvy.


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