This past year, my department partnered closely with our admissions office. Our goals were simple: to try to increase our sales funnel, to increase application completion, and ensure those who do enroll do so with a more complete understanding of Concord Academy’s core values. These goals would, we believed, deliver on one of our core purposes: to create not only the best possible student body, but one that is aligned with our values — students and families that are not only gifted, but also honest, creative thinkers dedicated to participating in and building a strong community.

We sought to fulfill these goals through a few means, but at its core we worked to build a strong automated email marketing campaign. Borrowing from the demonstrated success of Welcome Series in B2C marketing, we built out a welcome series for the top of the funnel, and then a strong email series at the tail end, after student had been accepted, to try to boost conversion. We began with targeted digital advertising on social search platforms, and then delivered 5 email messages about our values. These contained video, photography, quotations, and reflected the full spectrum of our community, as they were written by our head of school, by our students, and by faculty and staff.

The results were remarkable. Here’s the summary:

  • In the first year of this, we increased applications by 8% to break our all-time school record.
  • We increased our yield rate by 10%.
  • Meanwhile, we were able to safely decrease our acceptance rate by a similar amount.
  • Our emails had a very high engagement rate, averaging over 90% (OR) for one series, and over 50% (OR) for another.
  • And our videos showed high levels of engagement, some with engagement rates of over 90% (this is Wistia’s engagement measure).

Given this success, we’ll be pursuing this same strategy again next year, with some tweaks. I look forward to reporting on next year’s success.