We conduct research every year, specifically on how colleges and universities engage prospective students. From emails, text messages, and phone calls to post cards, letters, and view books, we see a lot.
This is part 1 of a series of posts to share some of our findings.
Let's put on our enrollment manager hat and start with a basic premise - we launch enrollment marketing campaigns to stimulate interest and to encourage response.
We follow up on student response to educate, engage, and hopefully encourage a next step with our institution. In short, if we do our job well, we are helping students assess the opportunities, and envision their future, at our college.
Our research looks at how colleges and universities build "value" in their educational experience through their direct response messages. Think of it as delivering upon your brand promise.
In one recent study, we looked at over 2,500 email messages sent by over 200 colleges from across the country to our "high school prospective student."
We then identified common information categories represented by the emails such as event invitations, affordability messages, or ones about academic programs.
Does your college offer an affordable education? Only 9% of the emails addressed this topic.
Is student life an important component of your educational experience? Again, only 9% of over 2,500 email messages spoke to student life.
Do you help students prepare for a career? Only 3% of emails addressed career preparation.
Finally, do you offer a "quality education?" Eight-percent (8%) of follow-up emails spoke to institutional quality.
What topics do colleges and universities address the most? Invitations to campus events (25%) and offers to apply (23%) represent the content in almost half of the emails received.
Are campus events and offers to apply important?
Absolutely. But if you want to stand out from your college and university competitors, give your prospective students reasons to visit and apply.
Endless pleas to visit and apply wall fall on deaf ears.