By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
In almost every episode of the TV show New Amsterdam, Medical Director Dr. Max Goodwin asks “How can I help?”
It’s hard for any of us to truly help someone until we get to know them – their current situation, frustrations, fears, goals and dreams. Doing that involves getting their attention, being authentic and empathetic, asking direct and intentional questions, and consistently being an active listener.
That last point is what I’m going to focus on today because there’s still not enough active listening happening in the college admissions and enrollment marketing world.
Following the same old plan and saying you’re here to answer questions and help is no longer enough.
Direct feedback from your audience should inform almost everything you do in terms of content creation and communication in 2021. It’s hard to truly help and serve someone if you’re not always looking to understand the what, why, how, and when, many of which change over time.
For example, if you read my blog regularly, you know that fear of making the wrong decision is something that a lot of high school seniors are currently dealing with. Have you asked undecided admits about that in recent conversations and communications, or had current students speak to how they got past that during your admitted student day events? Those are things that you can do to help.
If you’re looking for other ways to listen and better understand your target audience, there’s an unprecedented amount of free articles and survey research, as well as social media insights (i.e. reading comments on Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, etc.) available to you anytime you want.
Once you’ve identified problems, pain points, and opportunities, change may be required. That could include how you lead your conversations, the language and content you use in email campaigns, the format of your website or in-person and virtual events, etc.
I’m not denying that change can be hard and in some cases take time, but if you refuse, you risk leaving behind valuable information and the opportunity for deeper connections with prospective students, parents, and families.
One high school junior said it best as I was analyzing more than 7,000 responses from our latest survey project:
“Just listen to feedback from surveys like this.”
That was in response to the question, “What do colleges and universities need to understand about the way you and your friends want to be communicated with during their college search?”
Will you consistently seek out and actively listen to comments like those?
And when you have overwhelming amounts of data straight from your target audience that says they want or need something different from you, will you listen and adjust in an attempt to help make their college search process easier?
If you do, you’ll stand out and have the chance to make a major difference.
Got a question or comment about this article, just hit reply or ask me on Twitter here.
If you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.
And if you’re interested in reading more articles with quick tips and strategies you can use, check out our admissions BLOG.