CONNECT Prospects to your School


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Join Hobsons University presenter, Amanda Gilliland, as she explains how Hobsons Connect can be used to develop admissions funnels.

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  • Located in Southeast Georgia about an hour from the coastCurrent enrollment: 20,000State public school founded in 1906 granting Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees114 programs of study under 8 academic collegesGeorgia’s large-scale, small-feel research universityCarnegie doctoral research institutionNCAA Division I athletics in 14 sports
  • My goal as a presenter is to really show you that there are some things that will allow you to determine the value of your recruiting efforts and once you dedicate the time to focus on implementing some of these functions, they stay on auto pilot and require little attention! Finding ways in Connect to make life simpler is always a goal of mine considering where I’ve started in my role. When I started about a year ago as the communications coordinator I walked into a large mess with multiple labeling systems, multiple ideas of a communication plan and a lot of confusion with no training. Through transitions and new leadership and being on a 3rd Client success manager I was given the vision to revamp our entire instance to focus on the recruitment funnel and planning intentional communication and valuable reporting in order to track and serve every level of the funnel more efficiently. I will start out with ideas for source codes and VIP pages to keep up with your prospects. I’m also going to show you how I built the admissions funnel IN Connect! How I assigned a stage to each contact and how I integrated those stages into a report and report dashboard.
  • I wanted to start out on some brief ideas of how to keep track of your contacts using your VIP page and Source CodesWhen I began, I noticed our VIP page was SUPER complicated. We had too many questions, too many general details and I felt like it was time for a change. We SIMPLIFIED! I analyzed what data was truly needed and determined which attributes to remove from the form and which ones we HAD to have answers on! I analyzed the “How Did You Hear About Georgia Southern” attribute. We cleaned up the current list, added missing options and made sure we provided “Other” as one of the options. When “Other” was selected, a second box for further detail populates for an answerNow we can pull a report using the “how did you hear….” attribute to determine how our inquiries are really being pushed to our website! This helps us see where our marketing efforts need to be pushed! This is a simple idea, easily implemented and can be set up on a dashboard for quick reference for directors and deans to access. It also helps you justify costs for specific marketing or recruiting materials and efforts!
  • Here’s an example of the type of report you can use to generate information off your VIP Page Answers, specifically the “how did you hear” Question. I chose the pie chart because all the wedges are interactive and you can get your results just with a click.
  • Continuing with the theme of Simple, Another way we track our VIP contacts is to create a mobile friendly VIP sign up page that we can save to an iPad or a tablet, take on the road and get rid of paper lead cards. This gets names, emails, terms and program interest in our system and gets people moving in the right direction! Our recruiters have the “how did you hear…” field required here as well. When trying to track specific grad fairs, we can update the “how did you hear….” attribute with a specific choice (ie: GSU college fair 2012) and they can assign that as a source for the inquiries they meet at their recruitment event. This also provides a vehicle to track recruiters success at specific events, allows time efficiency by eliminating the need to manually input paper cards a day or more later, and gets your contact instantly in connect so they can start getting the email communications you have set up.
  • When marketing or advertisingonline, we use our VIP form in order to track our prospects. However, you may want to change the look and feel based on the website you are advertising on. We found that our individual programs were placing their own ads and needing a more customized look outside of the standard Graduate Studies branding. By working with our marketing group we can customize the page and its frame for a good looking ad. For major investments that need exact tracking, we will have a new form created to place in the ad. We work with our client success manager to copy the VIP form that suits our needs, create a new source code for that form, and assign the new source code to the form. For example, we placed an ad for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. We created a new source code, requested that Hobsons copy our form, assign the new source and send us the form link. When we received the link for our new form assigned to the new source code. Our marketing department created an iframe to highlight the program we were advertising. This takes a good bit of collaboration, however with large investments for marketing, this is a way to really pinpoint where your contacts are coming from. Here’s the finished product!
  • In order to begin building my funnel, I wanted to start with organizing my emails. I revised our communications to be organized into folders labeled for the appropriate stage in the funnel. This is a look at our current communications tab which will show you a big picture layout. In addition to the Grad admissions emails, our programs send emails to each stage of the funnel. I organize those separately so I can find them easily for annual edits from the program directors.
  • The next step in getting organized was building new dashboards to look at our different funnel stages. We keep up with different attributes as they are related to the different levels of our funnel and put all the reports we need quick access to in each dashboard.
  • Some of these attributes reported on include: application decision, total applications, residency, and How Did You Hear About Georgia Southern Responses. We put everything we need to check very regularly and quickly on these dashboards! For example, we created a filter that looks at the funnel stage, like “all Accepted” and then created data tables to allow us to see historical data to current. While these dashboards are very informative and helpful for reporting reference, it still doesn’t allow us to watch the conversion of our prospects to enrolled. It does however allow us to pull back the curtain on that specific level of the funnel to see who is there.
  • So now that we had some quick reference reports and we had our communications in order, we needed to build the actual funnel in CONNECT. The first step to this project is mapping out the items you will have to complete in order to create your funnel in ConnectThis was my checklist:I first defined my stages: I wrote out how our office defined the stageslisted attributes that we would filter off of in order to define that stage in preparation of editing and revamping our communications plan we listed potential issues to address and specific communications to include for each stageI created a new attribute under the contacts tab that was a list of the funnel stage attributes I then built filters to use in a bulk editI then created my bulk edit in order to assign a funnel stage to each contact in connect and scheduled those edits to run daily. And Lastly, I built my conversion funnel reports and created a dashboard for themSo we will go through this checklist together today and I will show you the filters and bulk edits for each level as well as the reports I built to give you a clear picture of the process!
  • So the first step was Define the stages:Here are the 5 stages we used, each definition may be different for you. These are just our examples, your definitions could look different based on your current source codes and attributesProspect: List Purchases, McNair Scholars, Anyone that hasn’t reached out to GSU DirectlyInquiry: A contact that has awareness of GSU, reached out directly through a variety of sourcesApplicant: A contact that has applied to GSU (includes “stealth applicants”)Accepted: An applicant that has received a decision of regular or provisional admissionEnrolled: An accepted contact that has registered in classes at GSU
  • Once we defined our Stages, we had to create a new attribute: we call this attribute Admission Funnel Status. I selected Text as the Data type, with a field size of 10, Type of response accepted was “One choice from list” and used “Name”
  • I added in each funnel stage as a choice, here’s how it looks, click finish and you are ready to start building your bulk edit filters!
  • I’m going to combine the next two steps in the process by stage I’ll show you the filter that was built and then the look of the bulk edit. You will want to run each stage completely before moving on to the next. This will help with testing the filter as you move through the funnel stagesI created the filters and ran a one time bulk edit for each stage then I scheduled them to run daily once I saw it worked. The first filter built is to define contacts as “prospect”. Here is a screen capture of the prospect filter. We identify the funnel status is empty and the current source code equals one of our Name purchase imports from GRE, McNair, etc. This is based on the definition we determined prior to beginning this task
  • This filter helps us identify the appropriate population and thus we can begin assigning a funnel stage to them through the Bulk Edit. Here is the bulk edit, We select the title of our filter, then choose to edit the admission funnel status to equal prospect. Our Banner Import runs at 8pm. I chose to queue and schedule my bulk edit and selected to run it around 11p.m.
  • The next filter I built was the next level of my funnel, inquiry. This filter is probably the most difficult to build because you have a few moving parts and the attributes you filter off of aren’t necessarily classified as “empty” or “not empty”To identify an Inquiry we first indicate the contact has not applied. (If they have an application on file then they should be considered an applicant)Their funnel status should be either assigned to prospect or it should be empty. Lastly we need to examine the current source code on the contact. The contact should have a current source of anything other than a list purchase source. We create watched attributes to monitor the change from a list purchase to any other source code. Once the source changes from a list purchase it indicates that action has been taken on the part of the contact creating awareness of our institution and thus defining them as an inquiry and not a contact.
  • Using the Inquiry filter we then will bulk edit our contacts to assign the stage of inquiry to the contact. I queue this to run around 11:15p.m. daily after the prospect edit runs.
  • The next filter I built was the next level of the funnel, ApplicantWith applicants, source code is not the triggering attribute for this level of the funnel. The attributes “application date” and “application status” will determine if someone should be classified as an applicant in the Funnel. In this filter the contact must have an application date listed and the application status must not be listed as “decision” (this allows for incomplete, complete, and pending as options meaning there IS an application on file) If they have applied and DO NOT have a decision on file this filter will capture them and we can edit their status to be applicant. Lastly, the contacts funnel stage is either empty or it is NOT in the stage of applicant accept or enrolled. This section of all the filters keeps us from having to pull the full population of contacts once they have been edited. If they have already been classified as an Applicant Accept or Enrolled student, we don’t want to pull them in the filter and bulk edit them again. The goal is to catch them when they change and move “down” in the funnel. It also allows us to catch anyone that has not received a funnel status but still meets the filter criteria.
  • The timing of the bulk edits is key. For a “stealth” applicant, for example, we still want to see them move through the funnel in our contact stages tab so we organize our bulk edits to run in order from prospect to enrolled. Using the Applicant filter we then will bulk edit our contacts to assign the stage of Applicant to the contact. I queue this to run around 11:30p.m. daily after the inquiry edit runs.
  • The next filter I built was the next level of the funnel, AcceptedWith accepted contacts, the attribute “application admission decision” will determine if someone should be classified as an Accepted Contact in the Funnel. In this filter the contact must have an application admission decision as a regular or provisionally accepted student. AND the contacts funnel stage is either empty or it is NOT in accept or enrolled following the practice we just discussed.
  • Using the Accepted filter we then will bulk edit our contacts to assign the stage of Applicant to the contact. I queue this to run around 11:45p.m. daily after the inquiry edit runs.
  • The next filter I built was the next level of the funnel, Enrolled With Enrolled contacts, the attribute “application admission decision” must be populated with a decision of regular or provisional admission and their enrolled data must equal Y. Enrollment data will have to be counted in this filter based on your import. Our import has a Y/N option for the enrolled attribute and must be a current term. Yours may be a different attribute so you will want to work with your IT group and your client success manager to determine how connect is reading your import and how the data will be collected. You will notice on each of these filters I have listed a detailed description laying out the filter rows. This allows me to read each filter on the manage filters screen without having to open each filter to confirm how they are pulling data if I need to reference this information.
  • Using the Enrolled filter we then will bulk edit our contacts to assign the stage of Applicant to the contact. I queue this to run around 12:00 p.m. daily after the accepted edit runs.
  • So once you have your contacts fully edited, you want to build your funnel reports and plug them into a dashboard for easy reference! The first step to creating the report is to determine what data will you report on. Typically you find conversion funnels based on term. We want to know how many students moved through our funnel for a specific entry term. Here is a screen capture for my filter to create my funnel for Fall 2012. We include all stages of the funnel, and we pull any contact that selected an entry term of fall 12 or a prospect that selected an entry term of fall 12.
  • Now we want to create our report! Click on reports, Select New. Select your previously saved filter and select a primary attribute of admission funnel status (or funnel stage) and select all attribute values by choosing the hyperlink to the right. Under step 2 you will want to select Conversion funnel as your report type and I like to check off row totals and row percentsStep 3, title your report and save
  • Now see your report!The next step is to build a dashboard for easy access!
  • Here’s how you build your dashboard. Under manage Dashboard, you can click new or you can copy another dashboard by selecting a specific dashboard and clicking copy. This will save all group access and report layouts. Here we created a new report, typed in the name, chose Regular Site and assigned our access groups that could view this page
  • Next, you will want to add in the reports you will use. The Dashboard layout is at the bottom of the new report dashboard form. Here in the Dashboard Layout, I chose 3 columns to show our 3 terms, spring fall and summer side by sideI then clicked the green plus in each column box to add in the reports I wanted to see. Once complete Click Save. As you see I have funnel reports and Charts listed. Here’s how my dashboard turned out (on the next slide)
  • As you can see the reports are displayed as they were laid out. I used the same filter from my conversion funnel report to create a data table report. As the Funnel report is NOT interactive, this data table allows us to click on the hyperlinked totals and review contact information for those still in that stage of the funnel This is a quick reference way to review your funnel data and conversion rates.
  • Contact stages is a new product upgrade to connect. It allows you to monitor the stages of your contacts. When building your funnel, be careful not to mistake contact stages as a new funnel tool. This tool is supposed to work WITH your self-built funnel filters and bulk edits.In order to utilize contact stages you will need run your configurationgo to your admin tab and select “configure” You should have your funnel stage/status attribute already created like we demonstrated earlierWhile running configuration keep in mind, this will only affect NEW CONTACTS. Your filters will be in place to edit and update current contacts and move them through the system. The contact rules part of configuration allows you to set up rules similar to your filters and bulk edits to assign a contact stage/funnel status to a New Contact in connect as they are added to the system. You can assign staff to each stage level so they receive an email when contacts are updated in their stage. A new layout in the special imports screen has been created. During configuration you will not have to do anything but view this special import layout. This step is designed to create awareness that this layout exists and if you do special imports of lists, this will allow you to import and assign a contact stage to each record you are bringing in.Lastly, Contact Stages provides a unique historical log of the contact’s position in the funnel. When searching for existing contacts, you will see contact edit log, communication log, and now Contact Stages log tab. You can see where the contact is currently and how/when they moved from stage to stage. The Hobsons training site provides a step by step tutorial on the full configuration
  • Here is a look at The Contact Stage tab in a contact record. In my application record, it shows that I initially was an applicant and then moved to an accepted student, and you have a stage date column that shows you when those were updated. When you do your initial bulk edits, your contacts may show the same date in more than one stage which is normal, as time goes on you will start to see a more diverse range of dates. If you choose to assign stages, the assigned staff member will be showing in the “Assigned Staff” column.
  • To conclude I wanted to just remind you of a few items that will help you as you go on this journey to build your funnel, your dashboards, and your VIP pagesFirst: assess your needs. Do you Need the funnel right now or would the VIP page or dashboard reports be more important? Second: assess your tasks. Maybe you want to do it all but need to find time to fit it all in. Tackle the tasks that are the least time consuming first. Small victories or successes will encourage you as you begin to tackle the big projects!Next: Make a checklist for each TASK. What are the steps you need to complete to finish this task. Make sure you have department/supervisor approved definitions to items in the task. Like we discussed with the funnel, I really drilled at each definition for the funnel status in order to understand how to build my filter. GET ORGANIZED! Whether its flip charts, white boards, online maps, whatever allows you to stay on task and helps you see the vision for the end result in anything you work on in CONNECT, use it! Start building. At some point, definitions, calendars, checklists, meetings, ideas etc have to become reality in the system. Just go for it! The hardest part in tackling large projects is starting. TEST! Because you are running edits make sure to test the data in each filter prior to moving on. The great thing about this particular project is if you change the way you filter, the system will still pick up on the right contacts, however, you want to really analyze everything before pushing it out to the staff. Have conversations with your director or your coworkers about the definitions and about the filter results, sometimes brainstorming can get you a better filter making your funnel data the most accurate. Stay organized. Keep up with the checklist, schedule time weekly or daily to just focus on the big project at hand. Share. Sometimes, when you work on a web based system that send emails, all the feed back you hear is negative when an email ISN’T received or goes out to the wrong group of contacts. Share it with your staff, keep them updated on the new things they can see in connect and that they can use to their advantage! Send screen shots and offer to answer any questions!
  • I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Feel free to contact me as well!
  • CONNECT Prospects to your School

    1. 1. CONNECT Prospects to your school:Using Connect to build your admissions funnelAmanda Gilliland, Communications Coordinator, Graduate Admissions
    2. 2. About Georgia Southern UniversityGeorgia’s large-scale, small-feel research university
    3. 3. Amanda Gilliland• Over 2 years in Higher Education• Communications Coordinator• Presentation Goals
    4. 4. Tracking Your Contacts VIP Style • Simplify • Create • Track
    5. 5. VIP Page Results Set up a Report• Create a Filter • Contact Attribute: Applicant Admit Status = not empty • Contact Attribute: How Did you Hear = all possible options• Create a Report • Use one attribute: How Did You hear • Assign created filter • Choose Report type: We chose Pie Chart with data table attached • Charts are interactive!
    6. 6. Tracking Your Contacts VIP Style • Go “Mobile”
    7. 7. Tracking Your Contacts VIP Style • iFrame it
    8. 8. Organizing Your Communications
    9. 9. Creating Dashboards to Match Your Funnel
    10. 10. Building the Funnel• Define your different stages• Create your attribute• Create your Bulk Edit Filters• Create, queue, and schedule your bulk Edit Job• Build your conversion funnel reports
    11. 11. Define your stages• Prospect • List Purchases, McNair Scholars, Anyone that hasn’t reached out to GSU Directly• Inquiry • A contact that has awareness of GSU, reached out directly through a variety of sources• Applicant • A contact that has applied to GSU (includes “stealth applicants”)• Accepted • An applicant that has received a decision of regular or provisional admission• Enrolled • An accepted contact that has registered in classes at GSU
    12. 12. Create Your Attribute
    13. 13. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Prospect Filter
    14. 14. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Prospect Bulk Edit
    15. 15. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Inquiry Filter
    16. 16. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Inquiry Bulk Edit
    17. 17. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Applicant Filter
    18. 18. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Applicant Bulk Edit
    19. 19. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Accepted Filter
    20. 20. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Accepted Bulk Edit
    21. 21. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Enrolled Filter
    22. 22. Create Your Filters; Queue your Bulk Edit Enrolled Bulk Edit
    23. 23. Build Your Conversion Funnel Reports Filter for Conversion Funnel
    24. 24. Build your Conversion Funnel Reports
    25. 25. Build Your Conversion Funnel Reports
    26. 26. Build Your Funnel Dashboard
    27. 27. Build Your Funnel Dashboard
    28. 28. Build Your Funnel Dashboard
    29. 29. The Last Piece of the Funnel Puzzle Contact Stages• Run your configuration • Located in the admin tab • Must have attributes, filters, and bulk edits in place • Only applies to new contacts in the system • Contact Rules allow easy stage assignment to new contact • Staff assignments • Special Imports • Provides new tab in contacts screen• Check out the tutorial on the Hobsons training site to walk through the steps of the full configuration
    30. 30. Contact Stage Tab
    31. 31. Staying CONNECTed• Assessment of Needs• Assessment of Tasks• Definitions and Checklists• Get Organized!• Start Building• Test!• Stay Organized!• Share With Staff
    32. 32. Questions?Amanda Gilliland, Communications Coordinator, Graduate Admissions 912.478.2302