Free Your Search … And the Rest Will Follow

This is the last in a series of three articles about bringing your search efforts in-house. In Are You Ready to Bring Your Search In House?, Alex Williams, RHB’s Senior Vice President for Relationship Development, explains how to discover the truth about your institution, and then share that truth with prospective students in beautiful and compelling ways by leveraging your CRM for search. In Overcoming the Fear of Search, Amanda Sale, Ph.D., RHB’s Senior Consultant for Enrollment Management, addresses the fear that some institutions feel as they consider bringing their search in house. In this piece, Ken Anselment, RHB’s Vice President for Enrollment Management, shares what life looks like after making the leap.

There’s a song that’s been getting a lot of play in the enrollment profession lately called “Let Us Handle Search For You.” You’re probably familiar with the lyrics:

“It’s too big … ”

“It’s too complicated … ”

“It’s too demanding … ”

“It’s too important … ”

It’s a catchy song, and—like a lot of songs engineered to maximize downloads or streams—it can worm its way into your head. But if you listen to those lyrics carefully, you can hear a problematic subtext:

It’s too big, too complicated, too demanding, too important … for you to handle.

We’ve been singing a different song here at RHB for the past five years, and it’s been climbing the charts with more and more clients ever since. It’s a song of belief, encouragement and empowerment: “Free Your Search … And the Rest Will Follow.

(I will submit my Generation X bona fides here and acknowledge that the song has an En Vogue vibe to it that may or may not be playing in your head right now. You’re welcome.)

When you bring search in house by managing it in Technolutions’ Slate (as so many of our clients have), you’ll find that you are closer to your data and the intelligence that comes from them, and that you can make key strategic decisions more effectively as well as empower your team in new ways.

While the process is, indeed, big, complicated, important and demanding, it is much easier to accomplish with a team who will ride alongside you to ensure your success every step of the way, from the beginning (discovering and telling your institution’s compelling truths to the students we will help you find for your funnel), through the middle (developing and then installing in your Slate instance messages and online experiences that look, sound and feel like your institution) to the end (launching, measuring and refining).

“Without a doubt,” says Corry Unis, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Fairfield University, “bringing search in-house was a critically important decision for the university.” 

Corry and his team launched search in Slate a few years ago with the help of RHB. He appreciates being so much closer to Fairfield’s performance data, which gives him and his team “a much deeper understanding of what’s happening with our prospect pool at every moment of the process. Who’s opening what information? Who’s accessing it?” 

With the reports RHB built for the Fairfield team, Corry and his staff are able to understand the rhythms of search, which is especially important now that it is—as he describes it—a 24/7/365 process, which gives them “more insight into student behavior than we’ve ever had.”

In fact, with intelligence gathered from their expanded outreach through search, Corry was able to determine where it made the most sense for Fairfield to invest in regionally-based admissions officers as they were looking to develop new markets, thereby increasing their presence (and applications and enrollments).

When reminded of the song “Let Us Handle Search For You,” Corry says, “I was surprised it wasn’t a monumental uplift for my team. [While] there was a lift by all members of every team, I didn’t have to pull them off other projects to help with the partnership with RHB to launch search via Slate. It’s team-friendly, especially as we are all being called to do more.”

As he reflects on the decision to launch search in house, empowered by his colleagues at RHB, Corry offers this advice to those thinking of doing the same: “When you’re looking at the lifecycle of the student, the wealth of data we have on our students from inside our own instance of Slate from the moment we license their names as a sophomore or junior, through application and yield season is astronomical.”

“That alone is worth the price of admission to me,” he adds.

At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader for my colleagues (full disclosure: I was, in fact, a college cheerleader, so it comes with the territory), the RHB team is loaded with the industry’s deepest and most talented bench of Slate experts, including former Technolutions program managers and team members, as well as former enrollment practitioners with strong presences in the Slate community. They are joined by professionals in institutional marketing, design, writing and enrollment management who can all come together to create a search for—and with—your institution that is coherent, intelligent and entirely yours.

Whether it’s launching your first search in Slate or improving the work you’ve already done in your instance, we stand ready to empower you to proceed confidently on this journey.

And, after launching your search, we will hold your hand as tightly or as loosely as you’d like us to. After all, you might need both hands free to clap along with that new song about search you’ll be singing.

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Ken Anselment

Ken is the Vice President for Enrollment Management at RHB.