By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
During the fall each year I love the influx of prospective student communications that come to my inbox. As a “stealth inquiry” for many schools, I get the opportunity to read and see what new campaigns are being created to draw in students and generate action.
Many of the communications I receive put a lot of emphasis on the recognition of the student. For example, here are a few themes that stand out from some recent messages I’ve received:
- I’m a “selected candidate” for a “special opportunity”
- I’m personally invited to an “exclusive event” on campus
- I’m “unique”
But there’s a key mistake schools are making by doing this – they’re not actually taking time to learn more about the students to reinforce their claims.
Students are not only savvy enough to know the message is ingenuine because you haven’t actually gotten to know them, but their interest in your school will decrease, making it harder to gain that trust back.
For students to feel that you genuinely believe that they are unique, personally invited to an event, or that they are a great candidate for a special opportunity, you have to actually try and get to know them on a more personal level.
Here are three easy ways you can accomplish that:
- Work to foster a relationship with students in the first few messages of your communication plan. No need to toss up a “Hail Mary” on the first play of the game. Get a rhythm going with them.
- Make your communications conversational. This is your chance to put out non-transactional calls to action through intentional questioning and learning more about the student.
- If you really think they are unique or worthy of a special invite, tell them why. Segmentation is a great way to accomplish this. Sure, more variations of messages will need to be created, but what is the purpose of sending the message? To check a box or to actually get students motivated to take action?
If you’re struggling to get students to engage with you in a meaningful way, I recommend that you revisit your approach through your communications. You may find that your intentions of trying to be complementary to the student are actually deterring them from engaging with you and your messages.
If you would like me to take a look at one of your messages and offer feedback, let me know! I’d be happy to assist you in your conversion efforts and visit registrations.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to start they conversation, or if you’re going to be at NACAC this week in Houston, stop by Booth #1233 and we can chat in-person.