How to Engage Prospective Students to Get Them On A Call
Why does Hollywood keep reviving the same handful of movie franchises? It seems as if Spiderman alone has been played by more actors than a spider has legs. It’s not a lack of ideas. Plenty of scriptwriters are out there praying their original screenplays will get picked up.
The truth is… audiences like to know what they’re going to get. They want assurance that this movie will engage them before they spend money on a theater ticket or streaming fee. Spiderman, or any other superhero franchise, has a brand. People watch movies because they know the brand and trust that their time and money will be well spent.
Prospective students are no different. They have limited time and energy, so they’ll only pick up the phone for an enrollment advisor if they have some assurance that the call will be worthwhile. That’s why programs that rely on phone calls as part of their enrollment marketing strategy, a.k.a. pretty much all of them, need to engage prospective students. Here are a few ways the best-performing programs do it.
Build Awareness and Equity to Engage Prospective Students
Imagine a Spiderman movie with no snappy one-liners, no off-the-wall villains. It’s just gritty drama for 120 minutes. Moviegoers are likely to be disappointed. Straying too far from expectations damages brand equity and confuses audiences.
The name of the equity and awareness game is consistency. Like moviegoers, students will look for patterns so they can build a mental story about the brand. From OTT ads to social media, websites to, yes, the phone call, programs successfully engage students by delivering a clear, consistent message across all platforms.
Use Ads and Organic Strategies to Build Brand Awareness
It all starts with awareness. Advertising and social media presence help convey the unique personality of the program while also sharing essential information to peak the interest of prospective students.
Programs that successfully engage prospective students do three things:
- Answer questions real students have
- Share a consistent message about the program
- Be responsive when students reach out
That last point means responding to comments on social media, answering messages promptly, and generally being available when prospective students have questions. It could also mean using text, messaging, live chat tools like Facebook messenger and WhatsApp, or chatbots to schedule phone calls. For all of these text and chat solutions, students will expect a near-immediate response time.
All of this is good marketing, but more importantly, it’s good relationship-building. It moves prospective students from ads and social media platforms toward the program’s website.
Provide Valuable Information on Your Website to Engage Prospective Students
Consistent messaging should follow through to the website. The majority of students use college and university websites both when researching colleges and when applying. Programs build trust with students in two ways:
- By meeting the brand expectations set in ads and social media
- By providing useful and valuable information for students
Web copy and blog posts should answer common questions students have about the program. Seemingly small details, like ease of navigation, can have a big impact here. Programs succeed when they make it easy for students to find information. All of this is only possible when programs understand and build websites with the student experience in mind.
Some programs push for the call by refusing to share details about tuition costs, time commitments, or prerequisites on their website. This is a risky strategy. Students want the opportunity to learn about programs independently before they commit to talking to someone. Providing easy access to program details builds trust and makes the phone call more likely.
Accept That Calls Are a Privilege, Not a Right
It’s understandable that programs put a lot of emphasis on getting the call. Experience and research show that speaking directly to students is an effective way to move them toward enrollment. But be careful not to take the call for granted. A prospective student, even if they’re highly motivated, may not be eager to invest time in a phone call until they’ve built up some understanding and trust in the program.
It takes work to turn a one-time moviegoer into a devoted fan. Once a program has earned the privilege of calling a student, what happens on the call determines whether the student stays engaged. Tune in next time for more on how to make the most of the phone call.
In the meantime, if you need help optimizing enrollment and student outcomes, reach out to the Enrollment Management team here at EDDY. They enhance engagement with your prospective and current students along their journey.