Admissions Texting: Inquiries
Moving on from the prospective student stage of the admissions funnel, we can talk about texting inquiries. Admissions staff already have an advantage in texting this group. Inquiries have expressed interest in the institution. In other words, admissions staff already have the interest of inquiries. It’s now time to feed that interest with relevant information.
That’s not the only good news for admissions reps. By law, staff don’t have to track down inquiries to get their permission to text them. Rather, staff can send texts to inquiries as soon as their phone numbers are available. However, at least one message should indicate the steps to opt out, whether it means replying with “stop” or “cancel.” Other than that, admissions reps are free to text away!
Texting the right info
This is where the Signal Vine platform shines. Texts can be as personal as the data collected on inquiries. For example, some inquiries may indicate that they’re interested in majoring in business. Staff can use this knowledge to send a mass, yet personal, text to target students interested in this major. This is why it’s important that admissions reps are aware of their questions for student inquiries. The more information they collect on their inquiries, the more targeted and personalized messages can be. Thus, they’re decreasing the risk of an opt-out by texting students only with info relevant to them.
In our last blog of this series, we discussed how important personalization is for Generation Z. As adults, we value personalization in ways we may not realize. For instance, how many of us nearly fainted when one of our long forgotten favorite shows popped up on our Netflix home screen as a recommended show? This is personalization at work. Netflix harnesses our innate desire for personalized content, and it works: There are 48 million subscribers to Netflix in the U.S. alone. For the generation that grew up not knowing a time before Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and other sites that employ personalization, it makes sense that they would come to expect it. Their experiences in higher ed are no exception. (More on this in our Gen Z ebook.)
Also, admissions reps might benefit from Signal Vine’s Blended Messaging® technique for inquiries. Because inquiries are doing their research, it’s possible – even likely – they’ll change their minds a few times. A business major may turn into an economics major. If inquiries announce this change of heart in a text conversation, Blended Messaging® makes it possible for staff notice the change and update accordingly through a mixture of automated messages and human responses:
Staff can update this information directly on the platform to ensure future messages targeted for economics majors reach the inquiries that make this change. As a result, the system can send automated but personal texts to inquiries, ensuring they receive just the right info.
In action: West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (the Commission) texts nearly 8,000 students through its Txt 4 Success program. The Commission partners with 10 of the state’s public two- and four-year colleges and universities to help keep high school seniors on track to starting their college journeys. Furthermore, the program helps guide seniors throughout the admissions process by helping them choose a college or university and helping the college or university communicate effectively with inquiries.
The Txt 4 Success initiative proves that texting students throughout the admissions process works. Students from non-rural areas are nearly 7 percentage points more likely to enroll in and persist through their first year of college. Further, rural students who opt in to receive texts are nearly 8 percentage points more likely to persist.
Texting at the inquiry stage is the perfect time to help grow inquiries’ interest in your institution. With a personalized touch, inquiries will be more likely to appreciate what admissions reps have to say. Further, it shows them that the institution has done its research on them and is prepared to help them reach their academic goals.
In our next blog post in the Admissions Texting series, we’ll progress through the funnel with a discussion of texting applicants.
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