One of the most traditional graduation gifts is money. And students will need it, considering that over the last 20 years, the average tuition at private schools has increased by nearly 150% and is expected to continue to climb. According to U.S. News, tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year cost an average of about $39,700 at ranked private schools.
So, all those monetary high school graduation gifts likely won’t have quite enough zeros to cover a student’s needs. Many parents turn to 529 plans to save for their kids’ education. With millions of mortarboards being tossed in the air, now is the perfect time for wealth advisors to market to parents while graduations are top of mind.
Here we share ways that Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help raise awareness and drive interest around 529 plans. These tips are relevant whether you are sitting on an abundance of customer and prospect data or, if you’re not, these tips will get you there. They overlap and support each other so you can build up your data, generate leads, increase efficiency, and ultimately win more customers.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud unifies all your customer data from Salesforce or any source so you can gain a complete view of each customer. Leverage Marketing Cloud to segment your wealth customers’ demographic and transactional data into groups that may be receptive to receiving messaging about 529 plans. The most apparent segment to identify is if your customer has kids. If so, look at the ages of their children in relation to the best time to purchase a 529 plan.
Opening a 529 account is not limited to only parents. Anyone who is a U.S. resident over the age of 18 can open a 529 account with no income restrictions. Consider expanding your segments to grandparents or other relatives in your customers’ households who may be able to gift money to an existing 529 account or make it part of their estate planning.
2. Gated content and tools
But what if you don’t have the customer data in the first place to conduct segmentation? You can use Marketing Cloud to create gated content and tools to gather data.
The U.S. Department of Education provides an open data platform with a College Scorecard that helps prospective students search and compare colleges based on a set of data elements such as graduation rates and average annual cost.
Researchers and developers can access over 2,000 downloadable data elements through the College Scorecard’s application programming interface. Have your data analysts create a public dashboard using Tableau that your customers can use to help them plan for college, which they access by entering their information. Now you know more about your customers and potentially have a new prospect to nurture.
Once you have your data, use Marketing Cloud to automate personalization across your customer’s journey and deliver one-to-one engagement.
One idea is to use your customer’s address and look at colleges that are in their state. Send the customer a personalized email sharing the average tuition costs for a few nearby colleges to educate them about the benefits of a 529 plan. This approach changes the narrative from general information to treating the customer as a unique individual.
4. Progressive profiling
If you don’t have enough data on your customers to determine if they require a 529 plan, consider doing some progressive profiling. This process allows you to collect customer data points over time to find out if your customer has kids or if they are thinking about paying for college.
Marketing Cloud simplifies progressive profiling by letting you create a poll or survey. Try asking your customers what keeps them up at night when they consider paying for college. You can incentivize participation by offering a free cup of coffee to help them recover from those sleepless nights, plus some helpful wealth management advice. Follow up with a piece of your gated content and continue to build your customer profile to inform each interaction.
Find out how Silverline can help your wealth management organization optimize Marketing Cloud to drive long-term value with your customers for college savings and beyond.