By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
If you’re trying to get more prospective students, parents, and families to open and read your emails, answer the phone, sign up for a visit/virtual event, or take the next step in the process with your school, there are rules you need to follow. I’ve been sharing many of them with you in articles like this since 2014.
The good news is, when you follow these writing and communication rules, there’s a really good chance your open or engagement rates will increase…possibly quite a bit. That’s because rules like the one I’m about to share with you come straight from your target audience.
One of those often-repeated rules I really, really want college admissions professionals and marketing/communication teams to understand is the 6 to 9 day rule. I will continue to push it because literally every single time I read through student survey feedback I see multiple comments like this one:
“The process is already so overwhelming and sending us a bunch of emails and the same information multiple times every week is annoying and makes it worse.”
Our ongoing focus group research with students continues to reveal that the majority wanted colleges and universities to communicate with them via email or letter once every 6 to 9 days during their college search. That’s the frequency they continue to be comfortable with.
Every 6 to 9 days you need to communicate some aspect of your school’s value proposition in a way that feels personal and not completely transactional.
Here are some other keys to remember:
- Without personalization, you will look and sound like most other colleges and universities and your chance for engagement and action will decrease significantly.
- Most of your recruiting messages (i.e. emails and letters) should focus on one topic and highlight one or two value points within that topic versus cramming in every fact, figure, and piece of information you have. Less is more.
- Along with that, it’s important that your emails and letters explain to a prospective or admitted student how something is different, and/or why something is better at your school than their other choices.
- When it comes to phone calls, text messages, video chat, or in-person contact, those can happen as often as needed in whatever time span works for you and each student. Meaning, some students never wanted a college or university to call or text them during their search, while others are okay with one or both multiple times a month. Just ask. But your written message needs to stay consistent from start to finish.
- It’s helpful when you incorporate the current student point of view (i.e. direct quotes) in your emails and letters as a way to back up what you’re saying.
- Instead of just asking or giving students a link and telling them to take the next step, ask them (or their parents/family) for their thoughts on what you just shared, and/or how they’re feeling about different things depending on where they’re at in the college search process.
When you follow the 6 to 9 day rule, as well as the other rules that I’ve laid out today, students tell us it “feels” right to them. It’s not something being received every day that ends up being impossible to keep up with, nor is it spaced out every few weeks that makes them wonder just how much true interest you have in them.
If you want to talk more about something I said, or you need some help with your enrollment communications or individual emails, reach out and we’ll start a conversation.
And if this article was helpful, go ahead and forward it to someone else on your campus who you think might benefit from reading it.
One last thing – If you’re interested in more articles like this one with other important recruiting rules to follow, you can find them here in our Admissions BLOG.