Missed our webinar on higher education contact strategy – or do you want to see it again? View it here now!
This is part two of our post-webinar Q&A session. Our audience asked lots of thought-provoking questions about contact strategy for higher education, and now we give you the answers!
We know how challenging it can be to develop and maintain a savvy contact strategy. But that doesn’t stop us from pushing for more than mere maintenance. Let’s discover strategies that help our institutions strive for better and more valuable connections with every engagement. Here are four of the best questions that we received on our most recent webinar.
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Your Burning Questions & Savvy Strategist Answers (cont’d):
5) In a small marketing office, personalized messages require greater segmentation. How do you recommend balancing greater segmentation with limited office resources? Everyone has limited resources. In order to compete with larger organizations, we’d recommend prioritizing one or two KPI’s to focus on each month. Are your emails not being opened? You can easily personalize the subject lines and test variations to improve. Are you not getting in contact with prospects? Try scheduling one or two nights a week to call them in the early morning or later evening hours. Don’t have the bandwidth for that? Try scheduling text messages to go out instead. Taking small steps to improve each month will bring about measurable improvements very quickly. You have to walk before you can run. Prospective students are considering 2-3 schools on average.* While being the first to reach them definitely helps, its just as important to build a personal relationship with them early on in the process (and continue through graduation when possible!)
6) How do you measure the success of your contact strategy within the context of your greater recruitment strategy? For instance, if the goal is to get a student to apply – and they do – how do you attribute their application to the contact strategy as opposed to other strategies?
You can break it down into smaller KPIs. For example, if you have better or worse contact rate relative to the number of inquiries you’re generating you can measure things like handle time. Handle time measures how long your advisors are on the phone with prospective applicants. These types of contact center KPIs are isolatable to the contact center specifically and do not bleed into marketing or other activities.
As far as the context you mentioned, if the goal is applications, it’s folly to attribute the application solely to the contact strategy. Instead you should consider the contact strategy as maintenance for your marketing efforts, not a unique or incremental effort. Make sure you measure each layer of contact. For instance, it is probably important to measure which human agents are generating the most applications.
7) How long should emails be? There’s a relative concern about too long as well as too short.
Emails should always be as short and direct as possible to address particular info requests and solidify your position as a primo choice. For example, a brief paragraph that’s excited to answer questions well is crucial. Also express what’s special about your program offerings. Make sure to close with “Please let me know the best way to reach you” and make it EASY for them. You can accomplish this easily with a multiple choice click-through to capture their answer. This can all be done in an email of four lines. Keep it as concise as possible.
8) For how long should you engage a student before you release them from your contact strategy?
It depends. Different programs and different audiences may warrant a different contact strategy. For instance, there may be as many as twelve contacts with a student before you classify them as “no contact” in your strategy given the program and student demographic. But you also may have programs where it’s appropriate to stay more conservative about contact. One thing to consider with that is whether or not you’re coming across as responsive and engaging without annoying potential students.
For more information on how and when to apply your contact strategy improvements, schedule a free consultation with EducationDynamics team. We’ll help you find the optimal way to efficiently grow enrollments at your institution.
We hope you find these questions and answers enlightening. It’s important to face content strategy challenges like these directly in order to address the multifaceted market of students today. This is how we can all better engage and capture student attention. Keep your focus on that primary goal so that your business can evolve with the market more effectively.
* Download the full Online College Students Report from Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House here: http://learn.dev.propaganda3.com/education-dynamics/online-college-students-2017