Founded in 1968 in Nelsonville, Ohio, Hocking College offers more than 50 affordable degree programs that are geared towards providing students with the technical experience to get hired into the workforce.
They are one of the few two-year community colleges in the country that offer on-campus housing for students. This helps students keep costs low if they don’t have a place to stay local to the campus.
In recent years, the college has seen a decline in student enrollment as a result of the improvement of the U.S. economy during the post-recession period. Hocking College also faces significant competition in the state of Ohio, with more than 100 colleges and universities all competing for market share of students.
Hocking also had critical challenges with their internal resources and processes. Their internal systems did not provide full visibility through the sales pipeline, making it difficult for the organization to see where potential students were falling through the cracks of their sales cycle.
Inconsistent and manual communications led to inefficient communication processes for their enrollment team. A lack of sales tools and dependency on outdated legacy softwares didn’t allow the enrollment team to diversify their efforts with the latest tech-savvy generation of students who want a personalized experience.
In order to stay competitive, management at Hocking College decided to engage with NR Media Group in August of 2016 to help them reach their enrollment goals of a 2% increase year over year.
How We Helped
In order to begin implementing the software and strategies necessary to help Hocking meet their goals, we had to ensure that marketing and sales were aligned and people understood the reasoning and methodology behind the strategic decisions that we were making.
In order to accomplish this, we gathered a 200+ person audience composed of faculty, staff, and administration to learn the key fundamentals of inbound marketing and how we could combine HubSpot’s tools with a solid education marketing strategy.
The Website Solution
With their marketing and sales strategies in place, we performed a Content Audit on more than 1,700 website pages; identifying broken links, redundancies, and opportunities for improvement and then went to work building a new Hocking.edu website.
Using research on higher education, Gen Z trends/pain points, and continuous testing using heatmaps, the entire site was created with the user in mind. What used to be a barely-functioning website is now fully responsive and contains at least two points for conversion on every single page.
The Content Solution
After 8 months of auditing and redeploying the Hocking College website, we refocused our strategy on content. Creating a steady stream of content was critical to Hocking’s online organic footprint. Using a combination of Hocking’s internal team and our internal resources, blogs were going out four times a week and traffic and conversions were climbing.
The Hocking College Experience Blog now houses over 350 press releases, program information, and general blogs for students interested in attending college.
ollowing the success of the blog, The Career Pathways campaign was launched in August of 2017. This campaign used ebooks and blog posts to promote each of Hocking College’s degree programs and drive enrollment. Each ebook contains easy to read information on each program and its career outcomes.
Using a combination of social promotion, paid advertising, and organic traffic, the integrated campaign strategy distributed the ebooks across a variety of platforms. To date, this campaign has generated over 2,200 leads and over 100 enrolled students..
The Sales Solution
In order to fully utilize the new leads that were being generated, a custom Deals dashboard was created and optimized for the Enrollment team at Hocking College that allows them Enrollment team to follow the journey of each student.
Working with the enrollment team, we also created custom templated emails and sequences to increase efficiency and productivity so the enrollment team could reach more students with better strategy.
The Advertising Solution
Hocking’s organic content was performing incredibly well and we wanted to build on that even more. Alongside that, Hocking was opening 7 new programs that needed fast promotion before the enrollment period for the 2018-19 school year started.
We were given a list of 36 programs and their enrollment numbers that Hocking needed to supplement to hit their enrollment goals for the school year. In order to do this, we created a comprehensive Facebook advertising strategy for the “Priority Programs” campaign.
This campaign used A/B split testing to optimize ads with copy, images, audiences, and ad placements to get the most out of the budget and timeline. Over the course of five months, we ran short sprints for each program and promoted the Career Pathways content to generate program leads.
After six years of declining enrollment, Hocking College increased the total number of registered students from 3,401 in the fall semester of 2017 to 3,471 enrolled students for the fall of 2018, an enrollment increase of 2.1% since the implementation of marketing and sales automation.
Staff at Hocking College also credits social media advertising and content strategy with an important role in this increase.
Since the website launch in April 2017, Hocking College’s website has seen more than 1,762,000 page views.
Student retention increased from 6% in 2016 to 67% percent in 2017.
Advertising for the new Border States Scholarship generated 70 students, which exceeded the goal of 35 students to break even.
Advertising alone for new programs accounted for more than 100 students.
Hocking College ranks in the top ten search results for more than 130 keywords.
The Financial Aid FAQ page, which was once buried on the website, has received more than 3,800 views and is one of the top converting blog posts for the college.
Hocking College’s executive staff now has the ability to track Enrollment performance by employee through the HubSpot Reporting tool.
Hocking College now has complete visibility to how the student is interacting with the Enrollment team’s emails and more.