Case Study: NACC FTE

You’ve heard this song before.

The struggles of Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) aren’t too dissimilar from those of your or any other community college…

Students graduating from high school and going straight to a four-year university.

High school graduates enrolling with plans on attending for two years before transferring, but transferring much sooner.

The University of Alabama, just over two hours away, uses its large marketing budget and dynastic football program to attract more and more students from the area.

We could go on, but you know the problems all too well yourself.

NACC has been nationally ranked multiple times. However, local high school students—and their parents, teachers, and counselors—continue to believe and suffer from the stereotypes and stigmas that surround two-year colleges.

What got you here, won’t get you there…

So, like yourself, marketing and public relations director Debra Barrentine needed to think differently to get enrollment numbers increasing again. Debra had already implemented short-term digital marketing campaigns on an ad hoc basis, along with traditional marketing such as billboards, television, and print.

For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, though, Debra partnered with Rekrewt to plan and execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for the entire year. Instead of a few Facebook ads here, and some Google Adwords there, each month for the entire year got its own digital campaigns strategically planned based on the time of year.

The nitty gritty…

The months prior to application deadlines were filled with recruitment and enrollment campaigns.

Some months featured awareness campaigns, while others promoted specific programs of study. During the summer we were asked to promote specific non-credit workforce development programs with poor enrollment. At one point we even promoted NACC’s annual bluegrass festival to fans of the genre throughout the region.

Rekrewt utilized Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google Search Ads, programmatic display ads, and even Snapchat ads to reach the ideal audiences for each month’s goal.

We designed all ad creative in-house, ensuring each and every ad perfectly suited the target audience, and perfectly represented NACC.

The year flew by, and was a lot of fun, as the year included more digital marketing than NACC had done in all prior years combined.

But was it all fun and pixels, or did it actually move the needle? What were the measurable results?

The fairytale ending that you dream of…

We can talk about total impressions, clicks, click-thru rates, conversion rates, etc., but ultimately only one stat really matters: full-time enrollment.

NACC’s full-time enrollment increased 7% year-over-year.

Are we taking sole credit for this increase? Of course not. NACC has a great staff, great programs, and Debra does an excellent job managing their entire marketing and PR efforts.

However, we will share this… Debra wanted to hire Rekrewt for another annual campaign for 2018-2019, and wanted to invest more than the prior year. NACC President Dr. David Campbell authorized the investment, and this year we’ve also added retention campaigns to the revised strategy.

Great things happen when marketing staff have the trust of their president. The ability to try new things and build upon what works is allowing Northeast Alabama Community College to implement sophisticated digital strategies that many four-year universities would be jealous of.

We’re ecstatic to be working with Debra and NACC for another year!