Measure and Improve Enrollment Marketing ROI

It’s no secret that marketing campaigns can be expensive. That’s why measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your Enrollment Marketing ROI campaigns is essential to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

There are a number of ways to measure ROI, but one of the most important is to track the number of leads generated by each campaign. By doing this, you can see which campaigns are generating the most leads and adjust your budget accordingly.

Improving the ROI of your marketing campaigns can be achieved by a number of means, such as increasing the conversion rate of leads into customers or reducing the cost per lead.

Demand Gen, in their 2021 report, reported that 44% of marketers focused on better measuring marketing return on investment (ROI) initiatives. 

If you’re like most colleges and universities, you’re always looking for ways to improve your enrollment marketing ROI. And while there are many factors that go into calculating ROI, one of the most important is how well your efforts are converting prospects into applicants and eventually, students. In this post, we’ll explain how to measure conversion rates and then suggest ways to improve them so you can enjoy more sustainable success in attracting new students.

What is Return on Investment (ROI)? 

Explained in the simplest of terms, return on investment is the measure of success for any investment or in our case marketing activities executed. This measure primarily indicates the profitability and efficiency of a marketing initiative. 

The mathematical formula to calculate ROI is as follows:

Return On Investment = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.

The foremost priority when gauging ROI as a strategic metric is to ensure the efficiency of every invested dollar. This not only leads to more precise budgets but also even more precise business strategies when looking to improve education marketing ROI. Routinely measuring the ROI of initiatives allows marketing departments if initiatives are working or failing.

Enrollment Marketing ROI: Why Measuring ROI Crucial?

Measuring ROI for Enrollment Marketing

Enrollment marketing is a clearly complex role that educational institutions pursue to engage more students. From developing the marketing strategy and identifying personas, to engaging students through inbound marketing campaigns and paid ads, the process is relentless for digital marketers. 

Since the process involves working through various digital channels in addition to conventional marketing activities, ROI remains a critical factor to measure the profitability of every single stage of the customer journey. 

There are several reasons that enrollment marketing professionals must record and understand the ROI for their diversified marketing strategies. Let’s quickly discuss each of these reasons that make ROI measurement crucial for enrollment marketing.

Utilize marketing budget efficiently

The foremost reason why marketers should continuously measure ROI is to quantify actual costs and align budgets through real-time data insights for future campaigns. Through this approach, marketing departments can not only budget better but make sound decisions about new initiatives, while providing more accurate estimates. 

There are a few different ways to calculate your enrollment marketing ROI. The most basic formula is to take the number of new students you enroll as a result of your marketing efforts and divide it by the cost of your marketing campaign.

For example, if you spend $10,000 on a marketing campaign and enroll 100 new students as a result, your ROI would be 10%.

Identify Areas of Improvement 

As mentioned above, improving education marketing ROI allows institutions to immediately identify other areas of improvement and where they are incurring possible losses. 

For instance, a certainly paid ad campaign may take up a chunk of your marketing budget but yield almost equal results in terms of ROI to your inbound marketing campaigns. The marketing team can then easily enact contingencies to improve the ad marketing campaign and divert resources to more profitable sources.

You Get To Know Your Target Audience and Well Performing Campaigns 

Consistently measuring enrollment marketing ROI provides the added benefit of connecting marketers with their target audiences. Marketing teams can better engage and communicate with these audiences, nurture them as prospects, and convert them into leads when they are ready. 

Enrollment marketing ROI can be used to measure the success of your campaigns and to determine which marketing strategies are working best for your school.

Help You in Making Strategic Decisions

The magnitude of data insights that measure the ROI of various marketing initiatives can be both overwhelming and incomprehensible for overall business growth.

Enrollment marketing can help you make strategic decisions by providing data and insights on your target audience. Enrollment marketing can also help you allocate your resources efficiently and make well-informed decisions on your marketing campaigns. Additionally, enrollment marketing can help improve communication with your target audience and create a more seamless customer experience. Ultimately, enrollment marketing helps you achieve your desired outcome by providing data-driven insights and recommendations.

Set a Roadmap Plan to Achieve Your Goals 

The most prominent reason to measure high education marketing ROI is to create a roadmap powered by real-time data to avoid as many hurdles as possible for future initiatives. By understanding your target audience and what they are looking for in a school, you can create a plan to attract and enroll them. Enrollment marketing can also help you measure your progress and ROI so you can make adjustments along the way.

Measuring the return on various activities both paid and inbound, allows marketers to develop both short-term and long-term targets. Mobilizing resources across activities becomes easier when marketers are driven by real-time results. 

Source: pexels

How To Calculate ROI of Higher Education Marketing Campaigns?

As we discussed above, education marketing campaigns are the amalgamation of multiple initiatives. Thus, managing and recording the ROI of each individual action is necessary to understand the effectiveness of the entire marketing mix. 

A number of metrics are used to calculate the ROI for different initiatives. For instance, what would be the ROI of a blog? It could be the number of unique users, session duration, number of clicks, etc. 

Measuring the right metrics to gauge ROI is essential to have meaningful numbers that provide better insights to marketing departments. 

Here are some crucial marketing metrics for measuring ROI:


Engagement in enrollment marketing refers to when a student or prospect interacts with one of your digital marketing initiatives. This is the first step of your marketing funnel. This can be done by dividing the total cost of the campaign by the number of people who engaged with the campaign (e.g. clicked on an ad, visited the campaign website, etc.). This will give you the cost per engagement.

Number of Clicks or Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click-throughs are predominantly a very common metric used to measure higher education marketing ROI. Tracking the number of clicks that land prospects to landing pages and contact forms can provide a wealth of information about the audience.

Clicks are a perfect metric to measure the effectiveness of both paid and organic inbound campaigns.

While a higher click-through rate may be a strong indicator of successful marketing campaigns, marketing managers who strive to improve enrollment marketing ROI must also look at other metrics like goal completions for more accurate results.  

Traffic to Your Website

Building a strong traffic flow that can be a mix of paid and inbound marketing initiatives is essential for any higher education institution. Marketing in the right communities, engaging the right audiences, and ranking on the ideal keywords are critical for growth. 

While more traffic is good to attract a larger audience, it’s also good to measure repeat traffic for enrollment websites. For instance, when the traffic of a website increases from 2500 to 5000 visitors a day, it becomes crucial to separate repeat visitors from unique visitors to gauge the ROI. We have a guide on higher education SEO tips to improve organic traffic. Perhaps you might find it useful. 


A referral link is an affiliate link placed on partner and subsidiary websites to enhance conversions. Referral ROI can be measured by the cost of hosting the referral link and the number of conversions for these referrals.

You will know that the return on your referral program is positive if your referral revenue outweighs your customer acquisition cost. This ought to be your go-to heuristic for determining whether or not to continue managing your referral program.

Salaries of Marketing Team 

When it comes to Enrollment Marketing, one of the most important questions is “What is my return on investment (ROI)?”. To answer this question, you need to factor in the salary you pay to your marketing team.

The average salary for an Enrollment Marketing Manager is $42,000 per year, according to To calculate your ROI, you need to divide the salary by the number of new students who enroll as a result of the marketing campaign.

For example, if your Enrollment Marketing Manager’s salary is $42,000 and they help to increase enrollment by 100 students, your ROI would be $420 per student.

It’s important to note that your Enrollment Marketing ROI can vary depending on the size of your marketing team, the scope of your marketing campaigns, and the tuition price of your school.

To get the most accurate Enrollment Marketing ROI calculation, work with your marketing team to track the number of new students who enroll as a direct result of your marketing campaigns.

Marketing Tool Subscriptions

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when trying to calculate the ROI of an enrollment marketing campaign. The first, and perhaps most important, is the cost of the marketing tool subscriptions that were used as part of the campaign.

While the subscription costs may seem like a small part of the overall budget for a campaign, they can quickly add up. For example, if a school is using three different marketing tools (such as a CRM, an email platform, and a webinar platform), the subscription costs for those tools can easily reach several thousand dollars per month.

Weighing the effectiveness of each marketing tool, you can see which marketing tools are most effective for your business.

Ad Spend

Keeping ad spending in control is essential for every marketing manager given it is expensive and highly competitive for the higher education industry. By understanding how much is being spent on ads and where that money is going, colleges and universities can get a better sense of the impact of their efforts. 

8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Enrollment Marketing ROI

Given the diversity of the enrollment marketers’ roles and the activities that they undertake, here are some effective tips to improve the ROI of their various enrollment marketing campaigns based on higher ed marketing trends

1. Clearly Define Your Goals, Budget, and Objectives

Success must start from the top, therefore it is essential to clearly define business goals, budget estimates, and marketing objectives that must be achieved. 

The marketing team must be given clear objectives like increasing engagement, increasing web traffic, completing more conversions, or increasing clicks. Budgets should be based on real-time data insights secured from previous campaigns and marketing budgets to ensure efficiency from every dollar spent.  Once the marketing team understands what is required of them, planning short-term and long-term targets becomes easier for team members to achieve.  

2. Evaluate Your Current Enrollment Marketing Efforts

Evaluating all existing enrollment marketing activities and initiatives is critical to collect as much data as possible to make sound decisions for the future. Understanding which channels engage and which ones convert more is very important to improve education marketing ROI. 

Taking a macro look at the overall strategies including conventional ones can provide timely insight into remobilizing resources towards more profitable initiatives. A thorough audit of the marketing strategy can also identify bottlenecks and inefficient elements that must be removed. 

3. Understand the Different Types of Enrollment Marketing Channels and How They Work

There are many different enrollment marketing channels, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Institutions need to carefully consider which channels will be most effective for them in order to maximize their ROI.

Some of the most common enrollment marketing channels include:

  • Traditional advertising, such as print ads, radio, and TV
  • Digital marketing, including paid search, display advertising, social media, and email marketing
  • Content marketing, such as blog posts, infographics, and eBooks
  • Public relations and media relations
  • Events and campus visits

Each of these channels has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, traditional advertising can be very expensive, but it reaches a wide audience. Digital marketing is often more cost-effective, but it requires a greater investment of time and resources to create effective campaigns.

Institutions need to carefully consider which enrollment marketing channels will be most effective for them. The best way to maximize ROI is to use a combination of different channels. 

4. Calculate the Cost-Per-Enrollment for Each Marketing Channel

It is important to calculate the cost-per-enrollment for each marketing channel in order to determine the Enrollment Marketing ROI. By understanding the enrollment marketing ROI, colleges and universities can make informed decisions on where to allocate their marketing budgets.  

For example, if the total cost of Google Ads was $5000 and brought in 1600 new enrollments, the cost per enrollment was $3.125. Another good example is conducting a marketing event in a conference hall costing a total of $12000 while it generates 6000 new enrollments. The cost per enrollment in that case would be $2 per enrolled student.   

5. Address User Search Intent & Value 

Researching personas, user intent, and the pain points of users is essential to improve higher education marketing ROI. Students may have different aspirations, problems, and intent when enrolling in any higher education institution. Therefore, it is important to keep them in view when measuring ROI.  

Social listening remains one of the most popular ways to understand the psyche and behavior of digital leads. By understanding the circumstances and realities of students, marketers can find relevant ways to deliver their message to enrolling prospects. 

6. Invest in Good CRM and Marketing Automation Tool

Investing in a good CRM and marketing automation tool can help you see a significant return on your investment in enrollment marketing. By automating key tasks and processes, you can free up time and resources to focus on more strategic initiatives. Additionally, you can use data and analytics to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and make necessary adjustments to improve results. 

7. Experiment With New or Different Marketing Strategies to Improve ROI

Marketing is always about discovering and trying new tactics to attract more visitors and converting them through a proper customer journey. To improve higher education ROI means engaging more audiences through different channels. Therefore evolving content and conventional activities is always a great idea to see the change in the response of target audiences.

8. Go Beyond Google Analytics for Tracking Results

Google Analytics is a great place to start, but it only tells part of the story. If you want to get a complete picture of your Enrollment Marketing ROI, you need to go beyond Google Analytics.

Some tools you should be using aside from using Analytics for tracking results include:

  • Search Console
  • Resources
  • Majestic SEO
  • Raven Tools
  • Moz Analytics
  • SEOptimer
  • Woorank
  • SEMRush

There are other tools too out there including Advanced Web Ranking and Authority Labs, but they frequently have a stronger emphasis on tracking keywords and rankings.


By measuring and improving your enrollment marketing ROI, you can ensure that your investment in marketing is paying off with more students enrolling. Use the tips in this blog post to get started, and if you need help getting started or want to improve your results even further, reach out to us. We offer higher education marketing expertise that guarantees results. 

At Orion, we support educational institutions in finding the best professors, students, and donors. We’ll assist you in growing your income, grants, and funding. Our experts will work with you to find practical ways to grow and dominate the fiercely competitive higher education market.