During my travels this month, I’ve heard from a number of admissions counselors who are trying to figure out how to best connect with today’s teenage prospect. Everyone wants a competitive edge as they begin to build relationships with this next class of students.
If you want to convince more prospects that your school is that “right fit,” then your recruiting communications better be impactful and generate a high level of engagement from prospects and parents.
Unfortunately, a large majority of those same prospects continue to tell us that most of the emails, letters, postcards and other marketing pieces they receive from colleges still look and sound the same. It’s the primary reason why a lot of admissions departments are becoming clients of ours. They want to make sure their recruiting emails and letters are truly personalized and don’t just inform, but inform and engage.
Today I’m going to offer you a piece of advice. This simple technique will increase the chances of making your points stick with your prospects.
It’s all about the power of ‘3’. It works in writing, and as our clients have discovered, it also work in phone conversations. It’s a principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than other numbers of things. There’s also evidence that our brains are more likely to remember information when it comes in threes.
Think about it for a minute. Most people have three names. And we say things like, “It’s as easy as one, two, three.”
Communicating with your prospects is no different. They want ideas about your school grouped in threes because they’re wired just like you and I are. So, if you’re interested in getting a better response than you’re used to from prospective students (and parents), consider employing this concept.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re trying to talk or write to your prospects about your school’s highly rated Accounting major or School of Business. You might normally talk about the major’s/school’s reputation once and then expect your prospect to connect the dots themselves. Instead, try this line of reasoning that groups your argument in a group of three:
“Our Business School was rated one of the strongest in the nation by Forbes this year. The return on investment for our graduates from programs like Accounting and Finance, which you mentioned you’re interested in, continues to be on the rise. In fact, Forbes also ranked us in the top 10 in both total 5-year MBA gain and years to payback.
Let me tell you about one of our recent graduates, Kelly Smith. She was offered a job at a Fortune 50 company immediately after graduation. She told Forbes in an interview that the extra level of commitment and preparation by her professors was one of the biggest reasons she was able to land such a high level position so quickly.
The best part for you is those same professors continue to shape our curriculum with the changing landscape and expand their networks. That means we will continue to give our students an edge against other Business School graduates.”
Let me break it down even further – Put your strongest proof at the beginning, and devote the most time and attention to that point. Your goal should be to get the reader to sit back and take you seriously. You should also make sure you vary the proof that you offer them. In the example I gave you, I started with a strong statement that statistically told my prospect why our School of Business was elite. Next, I gave proof of what the school and its professors did for a recent graduate. Thirdly, I offered up proof that the school is continuing to grow.
This technique has been used for decades in business marketing strategies. It will work for you because it meets our wired need for a group of three in the reasoning you present to prospective students and their parents.
During the discussions you and your admissions team have this summer, I encourage you to consider talking about the power of ‘3’ and how it can help you deliver more effective recruiting communications.
As we approach the 4th of July holiday weekend, what’s one question about recruiting or leadership that I can answer for you? Take 3 minutes and anonymously ask me your question here. It will help me help you as well as other readers of this newsletter. You can read all the past reader questions (and my responses to them) by clicking here.