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Building a Higher Ed Enrollment Campaign With Friends

Friends University in Wichita was attracted to PLAY Creative’s work because of our specialization in dynamic mail pieces and other creative print media. The private college was looking to launch a campaign to boost enrollments in a unique way, and that’s exactly where PLAY fit into the picture.

Friends wanted to blend print and digital marketing into a quick campaign to close out the academic year, which we rolled out in five parts. Our knowledge of the unique marketing funnel in the higher ed realm proved to be vitally important in getting both teams working in unison from the first meeting, making alignment of our goals and their execution quick and seamless.

After some research, brainstorming and a productive meeting with the Friends team, we hammered out a refined plan for how we wanted to position the University and its top value propositions for prospective students. We’ve found that many college enrollment campaigns across the country often fail to highlight a school’s unique selling points to students, and that’s simply not an option here at PLAY.

The campaign started with a simple landing page that 1.) gave us a portal to shorten the funnel for students to go from prospect status to hot lead status and 2.) allowed us to track and report results quickly and precisely. Each of the campaign’s five phases funneled to our landing page, including both digital and print media.

The campaign included print and digital media in each phase, and of course, a dynamic mailer. As a nice added bonus, we were able to create the mail piece that was both dynamic and engaging without breaking the budget. This project operated on a set budget not to be exceeded, so fitting in a dynamic mail piece was a challenge we were proud to accommodate.

We also gave the Friends team a full results reports on a weekly basis thanks to our landing page and tracking tools.

The project had an interesting twist when Friends introduced a custom marketing video into the fold, wanting to include it in the campaign near the end of the sequence. The PLAY team was able to pivot this particular phase of the campaign and even turned it into one of the strongest of the whole project.

The PLAY process for executing advertising campaigns includes various checks that allow us to pivot our strategy based on results, and our work with Friends is a perfect example. Without massive overhauls or hits to the budget, we were able to adjust our email sending strategy and messaging based on feedback in the early phases.

In total, this quick turnaround campaign drove 32 unique visitors to the Friends University application. The five campaign emails—sent to a cold, purchased list—averaged better than 12.5% open rates.

The entire campaign build consisted of:

• A landing page funneling to the Friends University application
• 5 custom emails
• 2 post cards
• 1 dynamic self-mailer
• Letter to parents of prospects


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