How to Say the Right Thing so More Adults Enroll
Aug 21, 2017
A prospective adult student contacted you last week and requested information about one of your graduate programs.
And that’s when everything went wrong.
You emailed that person, thanking them for their interest in your school and you included some links back to pages on the website – most likely the main page for the stated program of interest, financial aid and the online application. You ended the email with contact information for the enrollment coordinator along with “…if you have any questions, feel free to contact me…”
One week later, you haven’t heard back from that prospective student.
You can’t tell if the email was opened or any of the links clicked.
What do you do next? Why?
Time to Re-Think What You Are Saying to Prospective Students
That prospective adult student was on your site and asked for information so what did you do wrong?
First, you sent them back to the website. Now, unless you sent them back to the site with a password to unlock protected content, all you have done is ignore their request and shown them that you aren’t paying attention. And if you’re not paying attention to them now…
A great many colleges don’t have information to send – it’s all on their website so they direct prospective students back to where they were when they reached out and asked for something more. Not a good first impression to tell them “Read it again, the answer you seek is right there…”
Second, you put all the work back on the lap of the prospective student by ending with the “…call me if you have questions…” closing. They are busy. And it’s not really their job to sell themselves on your offering.
So, be more pro-active and show them you care, you are interested and you are the expert.
You Have Important Questions To Ask – So Ask Them!
You know that if you are going to be able to convince a prospective adult student to enroll in one or any of your programs, you need to know more than what you get on a “Request Information” web form.
What’s their motivation? What are their concerns? Expectations? Perceptions of your college and programs? Perception of the other colleges they are considering? What do they want and need in their educational experience?
And depending on your own situation, you might have some requirements that they need to meet to be accepted into your college and/or program – so ask to see if they meet or exceed those requirements now, before you invest any more of your limited resources trying to get them to start the online application.
Have an Efficient Process For Storing, Analyzing the Answers
Too many colleges don’t have a process in place for asking these questions and capturing the responses in a safe, secure, easily accessible (to the right staff) place so it can be analyzed and used to drive decision-making.
In the head of the enrollment advisor is not all that easily accessible for others to access and analyze. Either is the “Notes” section of Outlook or any CRM.
You need data fields created, responses to select so the data is easier to analyze – and that requires training and on-going management to ensure the process is being followed.
The benefit of all this effort is you can segment quickly and accurately, and then use your content marketing/marketing communication plan to move forward with the qualified prospects.
In other words, instead of sending everyone the same messages via email, you can send the right message and offer via the right media/communication channels at the right time in the decision-making process.
You Will Need The Right Message and Offer – How To Make That Happen
Right now, most colleges have a series of about 4 to 5 emails that they send to every and anyone that requests information from them.
They include “Thank you for your interest”, “World-class Faculty & Caring Staff”, “Financial Aid”, “Testimonials from Graduates” and an invitation to an Open House. There might be one more that addresses how student services can help you network and interview more effectively.
But for the 25-year-old that is wondering how they will balance work, a young family and graduate school – you got nothin’.
For that 40-year-old that is concerned about being in classes with 17 to 20-year-olds and if she can write reports at a college level so she can earn her A.A.S. in Dental Hygiene – you got nothin’.
For these two, and many other scenarios, many colleges rely on the ability of their enrollment advisor connecting with the prospective adult student and being able to share a story verbally. But that’s a risk that you need not take or rely on.
To have what those people need, you need to have identified audience segments so that you could create the communications you need for them.
And to learn more about how to use your current resources to make that happen, download our complimentary ebook, Content Marketing: Doing It Right (Higher Education Edition) by clicking here.
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.