By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
The late Jim Rohn – entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker – said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
We all know the importance of building good habits. To get better at something it takes hard work and practice on a consistent basis, which is becoming more difficult for many people to accept because we live in a society that wants instant results.
As you shift your focus to this next class of prospective students, I can’t stress enough the importance of being consistent from start to finish with all of your recruiting communications.
If your office doesn’t have a clear long-term plan to consistently communicate all the different parts of your school’s story and the things that make you unique to both prospects and parents, you’re making student recruitment harder.
Here’s why consistency works and will give you a big advantage over your competition:
- It gives your prospects a predictable flow of information. As obvious as that may be, there are still hundreds of colleges and universities whose recruiting communications are anything but consistent. For example, some schools come out of the gate strong for the first month or two and then run out of things to say before really gaining traction. Others slam students with information at various points in the funnel but provide little in between. My recommendation for you is to use the “drip, drip, drip” method of communication. From start to finish communicate small chunks of information about your school that explain why that prospect should want to come there. When you extend your messaging out over the entire recruiting cycle, you’ll win over some students simply because other schools fall off.
- Your prospects value consistent communication. It’s a proven fact – this generation of students appreciates and values you being there from start to finish. When we work with clients and help them develop a messaging campaign for an entire year, we often hear stories like the following one from students. When it came time to make a decision between multiple colleges and they had to use a tiebreaker, the school that communicated with them the most during the college search process won out. It might not seem like the smartest way to pick a college, but that’s what this generation of students says matters to them.
- Consistency prompts a response. All of your communication should focus on building a recruiting relationship between you, your prospect, and his or her parents. Everything you send out should prompt a response that creates back and forth conversation. This will lead to them feeling more connected with you. It may take you five, six, or even ten times before you get that response, but remain consistent and stay the course. Believe it or not, most prospects are looking for a reason and permission to reach out and contact you once a relationship has been developed. Most won’t do it on their own because of fear. Start by asking them a question or getting their opinion about something that’s being discussed in your email. When you have a call to action like this it gives them a safe, non-committal way to connect with you.
- It builds trust and loyalty. Building close relationships with your prospects and their families is all about communicating on a personal level. That takes time and is hard to accomplish if you’re inconsistent with your contact. When you try to understand the problems that your prospect (and his or her parents) faces, you’re sending a strong message that you care. Over time your ability to help problem solve will build trust. It will also build loyalty and what you’ll find is the student continues to interact with you more than your competitors.
That’s not an exhaustive list of reasons why consistency works, but I hope those four points get your mind turning a little bit.
A small word of caution – schools can be consistent but with a poor message or poor phone etiquette. We see it happen all the time…in fact it’s why one college chose to become a client of ours last month. Generating a weak message consistently can sometimes be as bad as getting a great message out randomly.
If you have a particular question, problem, or concern…or maybe you’re just looking for reassurance that the approach you’re considering is the best strategy, I’m here to listen if you’re willing to share. Take the first step, and email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll get a response from me within 24 hours. That’s my promise to you.