Use Slate to Empower Your Enrollment Strategy

During the pressure of yield season, it’s easy to fall back on tactics that promise quick wins. We encourage enrollment leaders to connect their efforts across their website, Slate and their campaigns using a unified digital strategy to get the best results at the bottom of the funnel.

The life of an enrollment manager at work can feel like playing a game of Whack-a-Mole at the arcade. You’re never sure where the next challenge or priority is going to pop-up, especially during yield season. You brace for the next issue, and give it your best shot when it appears, but you know your work isn’t done and it feels like you can never rest. We get it, because we’ve been in those roles ourselves.

This year as you and your teams prepare to fight summer melt and the many priorities of the enrollment planning cycle, consider an integrated approach to digital strategy, supported by Slate, your website and your analytics dashboards.

But first, what do we mean by unified digital strategy?

Your digital strategy is your plan for achieving organizational goals using digital platforms and tools. These tools are your website, your Slate CRM, your social channels, your email service provider and other technologies you may use to engage with prospects. A unified digital strategy puts your prospective students and their needs at the center. This strategy delivers a consistent brand experience, impactful messaging and an easy path through your platforms and digital experiences.

Student benefits of the unified digital approach:

  • Students don’t hit barriers or speed bumps trying to enroll. (UX)
  • They quickly find the content for new/admitted students. (UX)
  • You uphold the user journeys you designed for prospective students and maintain your storytelling and lead-nurture from RFI to the first day of class. (Content Strategy, UX)
  • Formerly siloed content is connected – bringing together admissions, financial aid, student accounts and student life for ease in on-boarding. (UX/Content Strategy)
  • You deliver a consistent and inviting brand experience across every channel – web, portal, social, email, and print. (Brand & VIsual Design)
  • Your data is all connected between channels so you can see the engagements that inspire enrollment. (Analytics)

How does Slate support a unified digital strategy for enrollment?

Slate works in unison with your website and your campaigns to deliver content to prospects at every phase of the enrollment funnel. It helps you define audience segments so you’re speaking to the right students with the right content at the right time. And it can be an analytics home base to track which messages, forms and CTAs are performing well or not. But Slate, while powerful, is just a tool. What you put in it is up to you. And that’s where taking a little time to map your strategy and connect the dots between channels can elevate your use of Slate, so you’re seeing great results where it matters most- at the bottom of the funnel.  

Applying UX, content strategy, design and analytics to the Slate environment

At NewCity we’ve been supporting higher ed and enrollment teams for 28 years  by helping them build websites and digital experiences that solve for user needs while meeting business goals. When you partner with NewCity, you don’t get a singular perspective on a multi-faceted problem. You’ll work with experts from each of our five disciplines, who will apply deep domain expertise to enrollment strategy design. You’ll get a research-driven, data-backed plan for growth. 

Here’s how NewCity’s domain expertise applies to enrollment strategy:


  1. Enrollment Strategy & Marketing – assesses your funnel metrics, communication flows and digital marketing campaigns to connect the dots between platforms and inspire conversions. 
  2. User Experience and Content Strategy – looks at ease of finding and answering key questions on the portal and website at this stage, opportunities to smooth and improve the student/parent journey
  3. Brand and Visual Design – ensures the brand experience is visually consistent and brand messages are reinforced with engaging and relevant content as students and parents move from the parts of the experience supported by admissions to the parts supported by student accounts, financial aid, housing, etc.
  4. Technology – evaluates performance, accessibility, and opportunities to better integrate systems to streamline the experience for students and parents.
  5. Digital Marketing & Analytics – ensures you are tracking clean data for the student experience at each stage, and helps you develop a 360 view of what’s happening with each student / family, how they’re responding to all of your outreach. 

Keeping a unified digital strategy in mind, let’s look at three examples of common problems within the enrollment journey and opportunities for improving the digital experience to increase yield.

Admitted student content gathering dust

How fresh is your admitted student content? A recent client found that to their surprise, this part of their site hadn’t been touched in years. Imagine a wall of text, with no storytelling and no calls-to-action to inspire enrollment. They’d done a great job of nurturing students through the prospect to application phase, but meaningful communications and outreach came to a digital halt for admits.

Meaningful content that validates a student’s choice and helps them get ready to enroll is one of the most neglected areas during yield season. Enrollment teams might be sending out checklists, forms and invitations to parties, but they might not be connecting with students on an emotional level. How can you address some of the admitted student’s most urgent considerations? Will I fit in here culturally? Will I feel at home? Will the school help me handle financial aid, housing and academic advising? 

We helped this client map their student journey and develop content and messaging on admitted student pages that’s right for this stage of the funnel. Then we explored how subsequent engagement opportunities across email, text, social and print campaigns can play a huge part in helping a student feel like they’ve made the right choice.

The unified digital approach applies this messaging and storytelling across Slate in the form of dynamic portals that mirror the language and branding of your main website. You can then tell the same story of belonging in your comms flows to admitted students all summer as they weigh their options and discuss with their families. And all throughout, you can track the performance of each email in Slate (subject lines, body copy, CTAs) to gauge the effectiveness of your messages and quickly adjust when something isn’t working. 

Building a conversion funnel for admitted students

Prospective students engage with many different groups from one school throughout the stages of the student journey. One group might be sending admitted students an email drip campaign. Another group may be speaking directly to athletes about scholarships.  Financial aid, housing and student life are all running their own separate campaigns across channels and platforms.  Enrollment managers often aren’t in control of what everyone else is doing. As a result, messaging, brand and digital experience can be inconsistent and even confusing for students. 

Slate is one in-house tool enrollment leaders can leverage to deliver a consistent brand experience to students who are deciding whether or not to enroll. Designing a bottom-of-funnel plan can help you get crystal clear on the conversions that inspire enrollment. 

We worked with one client recently on a full redesign of their website. Their launch date was right in the middle of yield season, and they hoped to take advantage of their new site during this critical time, so as not to miss out on another enrollment cycle.  We suggested designing a conversion funnel for admits using elements they already had- Slate audience segmentation, portals and some of the brand and visual design elements we created for their website. This allowed them to apply what they loved about their new site – good UX, lively content and messaging, and brand guidelines, and a beautiful design – to bottom-of-funnel interactions an admitted student might have within Slate and their comms flows. 

Tracking bottom-of-funnel analytics for biggest impact

Data for the typical enrollment funnel can often look like this:  

  • Website user behavior is tracked in Google Analytics 
  • Email performance and comms flows are tracked through Slate 
  • Social campaigns are managed and tracked by another vendor who sends you reports

You are looking at data, but you’re not sure where prospects are in the funnel, or which interactions are inspiring the most meaningful conversions. 

Add to this that your marcom team may be the keepers of important metrics from their advertising campaigns that could tie to yield, but you’re not sharing data dashboards. 

You are aware that prospective student behavior can be tracked across your website and forms using UTM codes or Ping codes, and that these interactions can be imported to Slate and accessed by queries. But no one has taken on the job of adding these code snippets to your web pages and forms. 

We understand. There’s just too much going on and too much to do. But if there’s ever a time to get serious about analytics, and get help with it, it’s melt season! Tracking admitted student behavior across your pages, forms and emails will help you tailor hyper-personalized outreach that could really make a difference for those students who need to feel like your school has their back. 

Having one analytics dashboard that pulls clean data from all of your sources can help.  

A big-picture strategy lets you focus on the details that matter most


Melt season is stressful. Every year it’s like placing a bet for who is going to turn up in September, and that puts enormous pressure on enrollment teams. We understand that everyone is doing their best to manage priorities that sometimes seem impossible. 

Of course the goal is working towards a unified digital strategy across your properties, applying best practices for content, UX, visual design, technology and analytics, and using Slate to help you connect the dots in your enrollment funnel. You can see how this will eventually pay off in the form of increased yield. 

But few schools have the bandwidth to accomplish all of this in one season. Changes take time. Sometimes you need a “crawl, walk, run” plan. Our team can help you visualize the big picture and develop a plan of action that focuses your time and resources where they’ll have the greatest impact. 

Even if you can’t execute a comprehensive digital strategy overhaul, whatever you do first, lead with empathy and keep the student experience at the center. This will help focus your efforts where they matter most- nurturing students along their path with you so that on the first day of classes, they feel like they already belong. 

We’re here to help

Visit our Slate Services page to learn more about how Slate can help you stay connected to students during melt season this year. 

Ready to talk enrollment strategy or all things digital? We’d love to hear from you. 

Get in touch here.

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