A strong, yet simple, admissions and enrollment process is the white rabbit every school chases. In our modern, hybrid world, schools need an efficient way to simplify the admission process, build better relationships with prospective families, find right-fit candidates and analyze results — all while ensuring the sustainability of their enrollment.
It sounds like a lot to ask for — and it isn’t something that can be achieved with siloed teams, platforms or plans. But rather, the answer lies in integrating your enrollment and marketing communication platforms.
The first integration between Finalsite's SchoolAdmin Enrollment Management System and Finalsite’s marketing and communications platforms will be available in January 2022! This integration will further expand SchoolAdmin’s already loved suite of integrated admission, enrollment, retention, and tuition billing tools custom-built for schools. When used together, the Finalsite and SchoolAdmin integration will create a seamless process from the first contact with prospective families, all the way through the enrollment process and beyond.
Integrating Your Marketing and Admissions Platform is Vital to Success
Meet Parents’ Expectations
Today, families have high expectations for your school. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped the way we interact with brands online, and elevated what we expect in terms of speed, personalization, functionality, and design. For schools looking to recruit and retain families, meeting those expectations — or dare we say, even exceeding them — cannot be achieved with disconnected systems.
The past almost two years has irreversibly changed the way people interact and engage online, and marketers of all kinds face the challenge of adapting to this rapid change in an even more rapid fashion. 81% of consumers who increased their online use during COVID-19 said they expect to keep, if not exceed, their time spent online moving forward.
Additionally, 85% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) reported an increased openness from consumers to new types of offerings within the past two years. To put it simply, new forms of engagement and communication have risen since Covid-19 shifted our engagement preferences online, and the corresponding change in consumer behavior and their demand for quick and easy access to information will only increase in the years to come.
Save Time and Eliminate Redundancy
Two separate, disconnected systems means you’re doubling the work required for both your admissions and marketing teams. Rather than one integrated system automatically moving families from Finalsite's SchoolAdmin System to Finalsite’s marketing platform in a seamless, uninterrupted process, your teams have to make manual updates each time.
Ensure Data Integrity
While manual uploads waste precious time that your teams could be spending engaging with prospective families, platform integration also ensures data remains consistent and accurate in both systems throughout the enrollment and re-enrollment processes.
Create an Improved Admissions and Enrollment Process with the Finalsite and SchoolAdmin Integration
Your school's future depends on enrollment – but there's more competition than ever.
Once available, the Finalsite and SchoolAdmin integration empowers you to create a stronger and more personalized journey that begins with the first impression on your website and ends with a simple re-enrollment process year after year.
Attract: Making the Best The First Impression
Most online experiences start with a search, schools included. Prospective families are almost always going to discover your school first through a Google search, and Finalsite’s search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising teams can help schools like yours create a stronger first impression by beating the competition with higher rankings in search results or targeted ads to get seen by prospective families.
From the first touch, future families and students can see everything your school has to offer, and some families will decide after a single website visit whether or not your school is right for them. There’s a lot of pressure to nail that first impression when there’s dozens or hundreds of other schools to consider, but Finalsite’s websites stand out from the crowd and help ensure that that first experience creates a positive, lasting impression.
Use your website to entice families with unique content offerings to expand their knowledge on what makes your school special; capture their interest with videos, testimonials, and blogs; and ultimately secure the first step in the admissions process with the completion and submission of the initial inquiry form.
Recruit: Move Prospects Along the Funnel with Forms
Once someone is convinced that your school is on their list — they’re going to take the next step and share their information with you by submitting an online form. For most schools, this can be done through SchoolAdmin’s Inquiry and Application forms. However, some schools opt to have a viewbook, content offer or virtual event registration, as an additional first conversion opportunity. SchoolAdmin Communication Plans can also be used to keep families updated throughout the process and to keep staff informed on important “to-do’s” at each milestone.
However you choose to pique interest in your school, a prospective family’s information is then sent from that initial form to SchoolAdmin’s strategic enrollment management system that takes families from “interested” to “enrolled" by building deeper relationships with these new families throughout the entire admissions process.
Nurture: Engage with a Personalized Process
Did you know that 72% of un-nurtured leads enroll elsewhere?
Today’s prospective family requires continuous engagement throughout the admissions process using tools like email, text messaging, and social media. This builds relationships and trust in your school as the right choice.
Within SchoolAdmin, your admissions team can encourage families to take that next step in the process at their own convenience, entirely online or through in-person visits, by offering calendars to schedule meetings, plan for events, and more, giving prospects more flexibility in how they continue to learn about your school.
While prospective families make their way through the admissions funnel, you can use Finalsite Workflows to send personalized emails that share your school’s story and nurture prospects through automated and personalized communication plans specific to each of your applicant families.
Schools can also use Finalsite’s email marketing platform, Messages, to reach out to families early in the funnel and encourage them to continue to move forward from inquiry to application form. From there, you can continue to nurture families throughout the entire journey with personalized, automated emails sent through Finalsite Messages, over the course of days or weeks, until they enroll in your school.
At this point, their journey to become a member of your school community is nearly over, but there are still plenty of opportunities for engagement once they’ve gone through the admissions funnel.
Enroll, Retain and Engage
Even after families have made the change from prospective family to current family, you can continue to use the Finalsite platform to send emails with important information to keep all of your families up-to-date with important news and information.
Leverage your website to keep families engaged in the weeks and months to come through Finalsite’s community portals with information specific to new families, an updated Calendar with all the events to come, and a robust athletics section or microsite to deepen their involvement with your school before they even set foot on your campus.
Retaining families as active, involved participants in your school community is made easier with the first day of school workflows that provide them with all the information they need to start strong. Retention is also made easy through Finalsite Forms to quickly create powerful forms of all kinds to drive engagement on your website, such as volunteer forms to keep families engaged in the school community throughout the year, event forms for football and basketball games, and forms for families to fill out for extracurricular activities.
And when it comes time to re-enroll for the next school year, SchoolAdmin’s re-enrollment tool within the SchoolAdmin parent portal allows for quicker and more efficient enrollment from semester to semester or year to year. The process can begin through Finalsite Workflows to create a series of automated reminders that encourage families over time to re-enroll, with the final email taking families directly to the parent portal to do so.
Additionally, you can help create a more engaged school community throughout the year through Finalsite Portals that connects both alumni and current families to their teachers, other families, and also provides them a convenient location to find the information they need to succeed in and out of school. SchoolAdmin portals also provide a convenient way for families to access re-enrollment and billing information throughout the year.
A quick glance at your admissions funnel shows your key admissions statistics: inquiry-to-application conversion, selectivity, yield — all in real-time — while admissions reports show how your school is performing year over year or within specific segments of students.
Sophisticated search and reporting within SchoolAdmin’s platform helps you make data-driven decisions that help you and your school achieve your goals for the current year and beyond, growing your goals each year. Finalsite Messages also provides stats on email deliveries, opens, and clicks, data which is useful for creating future, more effective email marketing campaigns for higher enrollment and re-enrollment.
And considering the entire process is online, you can be sure all data is both accurate and consistent as new data moves into SchoolAdmin and integrates with the Finalsite platform. No messy paper trails or human error when duplicating entries!
Once the integration is live in the coming weeks, the Finalsite and SchoolAdmin’s integrated enrollment and marketing platform will create a seamless journey that converts prospective families to new members of your school community. From that first point of contact, families are kept engaged and informed through powerful suites of integrated admission, enrollment, retention, tuition billing, marketing and communications tools only possible through the combined power of Finalsite and SchoolAdmin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.