Admissions Texting: Prospective Students
Now that we’ve covered the broad scope of admissions texting, we can talk about texting prospective students. Communicating with prospects goes far beyond reminding them to apply. At this stage, it is more important to explain why they should apply.
Admissions teams can accomplish this goal in many ways. They might consider texting prospective students with invitations to attend an information session. Alternatively, they might text institution-specific fun facts. The goal for admissions teams is to demonstrate why their institution shines above the rest.
A word of caution: Consumers of information, including prospects, value personalization. This is particularly true for members of Generation Z. They desire personalization that not only shows name recognition but is also helpful and usable. For example, a prospect might be pleased if an admissions team member texts him using his name. He would be even more pleased if that representative texted him about the college’s intramural sports given his history with basketball. If a prospect feels he is being spammed with the same message that hundreds or even thousands of prospects are also being sent, an opt-out could be on the horizon.
Personalization works, but there’s a problem with this level of specificity. It can be a lot to handle given that the prospect stage is the widest part of the admissions funnel.
Blended Messaging®: Purposeful personalization
Signal Vine simplifies personalization through its Blended Messaging® technique. Admissions offices can use prospect information to power Blended Messaging® through the Signal Vine platform. For example, say several prospects indicate that they are interested in sports. With this knowledge, an admissions team can target that specific population with a pre-programmed, personalized text that provides prospects with information on the institution’s sports teams.
This targeted approach is more inviting than sending a general text to all prospects about sports. Some prospects will likely not care. With each untargeted text message, institutions risk high opt-out rates.
Admissions staff might also take advantage of other capabilities of Signal Vine’s platform to reach prospects. For example, they might schedule a text to all prospective students to remind them of the deadline to apply. At the end of this text might be an action step: “Text if you have questions!” As a result, some prospects might text questions that warrant a human response. Cue Blended Messaging®:
From an admissions standpoint, Blended Messaging® works in several ways. First, an automated text can target prospects without the need for admissions staff to reach out to each person one-by-one. Signal Vine’s platform allows for segmentation, so only prospects who need to receive the message will.
Further, the platform flags student responses that require attention. In the above conversation, the admissions person could see that the student had a question about applying. From there, the representative could provide guidance in a one-on-one interaction with the student. The Blended Messaging® approach saves both students and admissions staff time without sacrificing quality in these needed conversations.
In action: Southwestern Michigan College
Southwestern Michigan College (SMC) used Signal Vine’s two-way texting capabilities to help guide prospects through the admissions process. First, staff asked prospects to provide a mobile number to receive updates via text. Also, recruiters added their personal Signal Vine texting number to the back of their business cards and to the admissions website. From there, recruiters could use Signal Vine’s advanced search options to alert prospects of important deadlines and when they would be present at each prospect’s school. Best of all, because of the two-way communication the platform allows, prospects were encouraged to reach out via text if they had questions.
By the Fall 2018 semester, admissions leaders reported a 6% increase in admissions yield for students who opted in to receive text messages.
Texting prospects is ideal for two main reasons. First, it provides admissions representatives with a chance to show why their institution is a good choice. Second, it gives prospects an easy way to request help and more information. With the Signal Vine texting platform, just the right amount of personalization comes through texts, showing prospects that they are not just a number.
In our next blog post in the Admissions Texting series, we’ll move along through the funnel with a discussion of texting inquiries.
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