My daughter is in her junior year of high school. She is a straight “A” student who kicked butt on her PSATs. So now I am a mom with a letter that includes glossy photos of smiling students posed around campus, from every school in the country, cluttering my mailbox and inbox. The communication includes everything the school offers from the sports teams to the elite professors to the awards earned and so on and so on.
When I asked if she had read any of these slick marketing pieces my daughter replied “Well, I started to but they are boring and I can’t find what I want to know”. This is a problem. As someone who works with universities across the US, I know it’s a problem that we face at the graduate and non-credit level as well as with undergraduates.
At JMH, we would want to encourage you to take on the mantra “Enough with the Fluff!” There is a great deal of competition for students. Therefore, you need to cut through the fluff and share with prospective students why your school is a good fit for them and why they are a good fit for you. This begins with listening:
- Listen to what questions your prospective students are asking
- Listen to what goals they are trying to achieve
- Listen to their concerns about enrolling in your program
- Listen to what is attractive and a good fit about your program
Take this information and begin to incorporate it in your communication. Your website and emails should be able to answer basic information like start dates and application deadlines as well as the total tuition price for the program (this does NOT mean sending them to a tuition and enrollment page where they need to multiply total hours by cost). You can also let prospective students know you are listening by:
- Taking the top most frequently asked questions and highlighting the answers on your website through an FAQ page
- Incorporating the frequently asked questions and the benefits of the program into an email communication plan that is sent over a period of a few weeks. The emails can tackle each question one by one. This also keeps your program “front of mind”.
- Create bullet points for the most important and pertinent information and include that in your first email. Long paragraphs don’t get read!
Do you see what I just did there? Yep…pull out the key points and highlight information that students need to know. The result will be more students who are a better fit for your program.