That first touch you make with a prospective student—whether in a search campaign or in response to an inquiry—is critical to your success. In our latest webinar “Enhancing Your First Touch”, Dr. Mondy Brewer, vice president of enrollment management at Lubbock Christian University joined Liaison’s Suzanne Sharp to discuss just how critical a speedy and relevant first touch can be. View the slides here.
Studies have shown that 35% to 50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first. You may not think that sales data has any application to higher education enrollment, but today, institutions who have rapid response mechanisms built into their enrollment campaigns are seeing higher conversion rates overall. And remember, when you are first to respond, you are framing the conversation. That can make a real difference to your yield rates overall.
When you see a response to a form you’ve filled out that says “Thanks. We’ll respond to your request in a few days,” that generic response to a request for information just doesn’t cut it for a generation used to immediate and personal contact. Personalizing those messages—particularly at the point of first touch—is more important than ever when you’re competing for attention.
First Touch? Or First Touches?
Reaching out over a single channel, when students today use multiple channels to stay connected, just doesn’t make sense. Are your messages easy to access on mobile devices? Is your website responsive? Are you asking students to opt in to text messaging? How are you pulling all of that together?
Your form fill is really the first opportunity that your institution has to make an impression. Make it easy to find. And make the information you collect relevant to the students. Then think about what happens when a student completes a form. Some institutions are providing an immediate response by creating personalized URLs (PURLs) that return the requested information in a personalized, relevant, and interactive microsite. You can use the PURL to collect further information or provide a checklist of “next steps” that will help the student on the path to enrollment.
Launch Nurture Campaigns
Once you’ve collected even a small amount of information about a prospective student, you can begin to design and launch nurture campaigns, automated communication touches—and do that across channels through email, text, print, and even voice mail. Personalized print-on-demand can be a great tool—especially if you deliver them within 48 hours of an inquiry. All of this is possible with marketing automation tools from Liaison’s Enrollment Marketing Platform.
Set Staff Expectations
An immediate, personalized response depends on recruiters who can spend time recruiting—not spending time in databases or mailing out brochures. Giving staff the ability to respond effectively to student inquiries and spend more time engaging with them in a meaningful way isn’t just good management, it gets results.