industry: Education

How Johnson County Community College Uses Act-On to Boost Enrollments Automatically

By updating data collection efforts and integrating Act-On with SugarCRM, this Kansas community college was able to launch segmented marketing programs to positively affect enrollment.

Company:JCCC logo
Customer:

Mary Anne Matos

Marketing Automation Specialist

Results

Johnson County Community College has recently been able to fine tune marketing efforts to better connect with specific audiences. From home schoolers, to non-traditional students and those coming straight from high school, JCCC implemented new automated marketing programs using segmentation and the email journey builder from Act-On. Initial results show these adjustments have returned positive dividends over time.

  • In Summer 2020, 12% of people in a segmented marketing program enrolled at JCCC.
  • In Fall 2020, that number jumped to 18% enrolled.
  • The following year in Fall 2021, that number increased to 21% enrollment from the campaigns.
  • As programs grow in complexity, and in the richness of content provided, those numbers are expected to continue to climb.

Problems Solved

As more classes go online and the internet provides us with every detail we would want to know in seconds, colleges and universities must work even harder to capture interest and encourage students to enroll in courses.

“We’ve been able to identify leads that meet specific criteria, and automatically send them messages. The result is higher engagement rates than our previous, broader audience lists.”

MARY ANNE MATOS, JCCC MARKETING

Approach

Driven by a desire to better connect with potential students and others in the surrounding community, Johnson County Community College wanted to implement an automated marketing approach to serve the right kinds of information to encourage students to enroll in courses each semester. 

JCCC selected Act-On to replace a previous email-on-demand model. One of the important deciding factors was Act-On’s native integration with SugarCRM, the CRM system used by the college’s recruiting teams. Integrating marketing automation with SugarCRM has set JCCC up for success with targeted and personalized campaigns that use data from both systems.

Act-On and SugarCRM Integration Aids Advanced Segmentation 


Improved list management has provided opportunities for advanced segmentation across different demographic and behavioral variables. 

After integrating Act-On with SugarCRM, the marketing team at JCCC is now able to identify detailed segments of potential students, and serve them with personalized content automatically.

“With the SugarCRM/Act-On integration, we’ve been able to tailor our messaging based on demographics, and present current and prospective students with relevant messaging such as the appropriate tuition rate, send them information on events that are relevant to them, and send tailored information based on their interests.”

MARY ANNE MATOS, JCCC MARKETING

One of the most effective segments identified in early experiments with Act-On was a subset of potential students who had applied, but had not yet registered for courses. JCCC was able to encourage this group of interested students to take the next step toward their educational goals. The results of uncovering and addressing this small segmentation blind spot were quite remarkable.

In fact, JCCC was able to document a nearly 9% increase in enrollment rate for this new segment vs. the former, undifferentiated student list. Applied-but-not-enrolled was the most engaged new audience – with more than 30% of those in the campaign completing enrollment.

How JCCC Updated Two Forms and Opened a World of Segmentation Options

One of the most important early victories for JCCC’s marketing automation effort was segmenting based on data from the updated form fields. Today, these forms generate a series of emails that include helpful, tailored information for the different types of community members interested in the college and its offerings. 

JCCC now runs automated email programs with Act-On with Dynamic Content based on that ever-so-important first-party data, including:      

  • Zip Code
  • Birthdate 
  • Interest in Credit / Continuing Education


By using the information provided in the forms, we were able to tailor email content to ensure prospective students hear about the things that will be most helpful as they consider enrollment. For example, JCCC can provide tailored information on tuition rates based on the shared zip code, or suggest specific events for graduating high school students.

Running segmented email campaigns is now a differentiator for JCCC in the market, because their offers and emails can stand out among less-sophisticated content and marketing programs.

Incremental Changes Add Up with Act-On

If the story of Johnson County Community College teaches us anything, it’s that incremental changes can add up to big results. Starting with small test campaigns to particular segments in one semester, JCCC was able to bump up enrollment among its email subscribers by 10% year-over-year. Marketing automation with seamless CRM integration is the foundation JCCC needed to spark a new wave of enrollment growth. 

In the future, this community-focused college plans to build on early successes with Act-On by expanding its use of the SugarCRM and Act-On. The next step in incremental growth is using the integration to identify and connect with more new segments, using increasingly sophisticated automated programs and dynamic content.