By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Last month I wrote an article with a quick reminder if you wanted to improve student engagement from your prospects and inquiries. A number of readers have since sent me basically the same follow-up email asking for more ideas and details about putting this into practice.
So, let’s talk for a minute about how you can incorporate the right language into the body of your email that then causes a student (or parent) to reply and creates further conversation.
It’s basically a two-step process. First, introduce an idea you want them to focus on. It could be any topic such as your school’s community and atmosphere, the value of a degree from your college/university, or how much fun they’ll have living in the dorms. The key is to limit it to just one central theme. Most admissions counselors and marketing/communications staff make the mistake of including information on multiple topics in one message.
After you talk about the idea, part two involves asking them about it. Instead of ending your email with one of the same transactional call to actions that they’re used to seeing (i.e. visit, apply, deposit), ask them for a response. Some quick examples include:
- Does that sound like the kind of community you’re looking for?
- How important is location going to be in your college decision?
- Are you more excited or nervous about living in a college dorm?
- Reply back and let me know how that sounds.
Most of the students you work with aren’t going to reach out to you on their own and try to strike up a back-and-forth conversation. They’re nervous, worried, unsure, and they need prompting in a way that feels like you’re trying to help them. You have to be the one to lead the conversation and open the door for a reply.
And, by giving them a central idea to focus on, it makes it a lot easier for them to know what to talk about with you…plus it will help you keep your emails shorter, which also helps prompt a response.
This same strategy I just outlined applies to phone calls, letters, and text messages. Stick with one topic if a response is the goal.
Remember, getting (and keeping) a back-and-forth conversation going is far more important than just sending them tons of information.
If this article was helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who you think might also benefit from reading it.
And, if you’re interested in more articles like this with tips and strategies you can use right now, you can find them here in our Admissions BLOG.