Recruiting the Silent Funnel

Prompting Inquiry, Increasing Yield, and Capturing Re-enrollments

Topics: Online Strategies, Online Education, Academic Affairs, Marketing and Branding, Enrollment Management

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Executive Summary

Today's prospective adult students are skilled online shoppers, adept at, and increasingly comfortable with, independently finding and comparing institutions and programs to meet their varied educational needs. Prospective COE students face no shortage of options given the increasingly competitive landscape for professional and online education. Many COE units report increases in the percentage of applicants classified as stealth—with figures as high as 70% at many institutions—calling into question the traditional approach to prospect management.

Based on more than 250 research conversations, this study highlights three disciplines progressive institutions are using to recruit the silent funnel.

1. Prompting Early Inquiry

HandshakeEncourage silent prospects to identify earlier through redesigned website and mobile site features that serve web visitors with varied information needs and personalize the independent search process.


2. Restarting Stalled Applications

HandshakeRedirect staff efforts from lead generation to nurturing warm prospects who have begun, but not completed, applications. Targeting communications and outreach at this high-impact moment drives momentum toward application completion and, ultimately, enrollment.

3. Recommending "Smart" Next Steps

HandshakeGain insight into student preferences and career paths to stay top of mind for the occasional buyer and facilitate repeat enrollments.


Top Lessons from the Study