Western Governors University
This is what occurred after I filled out an application form at WGU. First, WGU reached out with a code to waive the application fee. The primary messaging here is related to the low-cost of the university.
Then, they reached out again. Here you will see that the messaging of the email is different. This time, it focuses on the self-paced aspect of the university and the flexibility that provides. It also highlights how the format of the degree can help you capitalize on your prior skills and learning to accelerate your degree completion.
You will also note that in both cases, the email is not from the “University”, but rather from an individual. Daren is the one who is “sending” the email – he’s also the VP of enrollment, and he’s personally interested in you as a customer. Though this use of names is not uncommon in marketing, it is not always present in marketing in higher education online.
Kennesaw State University
Here is a different type of email sent out to a “lead” focusing on a non-degree professional development opportunity. It highlights the content of the program and is highly career and workforce-focused. See how this is different from the messaging of WGU, where the price and format is first highlighted. This is indicative of a difference between full degree programs and online professional development, where the content of shorter-form learning experiences is critical to the need for the less formal credential.
Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global’s email arrived within minutes of filling out the inquiry form. This video shows several elements being highlighted in order to illustrate the messages that the email is sending.
Lead to Prospect
When you become a prospect, this will be marked by engaging in a two-way relationship with the institution. Though these conversations look different from institution to institution, they will likely highlight some of the key reasons that learners choose the institutions they choose.
A prospect is lower in the funnel, towards the middle. The communication becomes a two-way engagement. Those communications become personalized to you from a human to a human (though chatbots may be changing this!). This is the step where the institution is encouraging you to apply.
Once a prospective learner moves from being a lead to a prospect, they would then apply for admission, likely be admitted, and move to the process of registration. But that learner hasn’t yet show up in class!
What is Melt?
Once a learner has applied and is enrolled, often there is a first payment or fee commitment. If the learner pays and then does not show up for class, they must be dropped for non-admittance. IF a learner withdraws after they have paid fees or tuition of some sort, this is called melt.
Part of the communications between enrollment and the start of class should be designed to be nurture the learner, and confirm their choice of attendance. Sometimes learners can be concerned about their ability to successfully obtain a degree, and need some confidence building. That relationship between the advisor, concierge, or mentor can be critical to the leaner actually showing up in courses.