“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” is the statement made in Apple’s first marketing brochure. This is true not only for products, but also for services. The K.I.S.S. principle – Keep It Simple Stupid – succinctly captures this. The KISS principle states that simplicity should be a key goal in design, and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided. Unfortunately, the KISS principle is more difficult to apply to a university application process. That’s why marketers must work hand-in-hand with the recruitment team to create a simple and straightforward path for a complex and sometimes scary process for a prospective student.
KISS when you first meet
How simple is it for people to raise their hand and express an interest in your program? If a prospective student visits your website, they should not need to click through three additional screens in order to contact you. A short inquiry form should be a part of your website and appear on several pages. You can also create a way for people to virtually engage with a recruitment counselor – even if this is just for 4 to 6 hours each day, it’s a way to make it easy for prospective students to begin a conversation with you and start an application.
KISS the process
The application process may include several steps from completing an application to writing an essay to requesting transcripts. It’s a lot and people are busy. As you think about KISS in the application process, map out the current process that your prospective students experience. Take a look at:
- If the application easy to find
- Do you provide tools to simplify the process (e.g. Transcript Release forms, templates for requesting references, or guidelines for writing an essay)
- Is there a checklist or a visual representation so they know what they need to provide in order to complete the application?
There are always university requirements, but you can work to make it feel simple to your prospective student. Let your students know what they need, where they can get it, and when they need it by.
KISS in Public
Go to prospective students where they are – don’t make them check in with you. This is where social media can be a powerful tool. Targeting on platforms like Facebook and Twitter has dramatically improved. Target and remarket prospective students and then give them a reason to follow/like you through useful, valuable posts that are relevant to their careers or life goals. In turn, you will be able to share with them updates on the program and encourage them to apply.
Send a KISS through email
The average adults’ attention span is 8 seconds long. Does your email communicate what you need in that amount of time? Probably not.
Email is a powerful tool, but many universities do not use their emails in a strategic way. Emails are too long, too boring, and lack a clear message. As you consider how to keep it simple for your prospective student through email, be cognizant of how it can be used for marketing versus recruiting and how the emails are used based on where a prospective student is in the enrollment funnel. We’ll discuss both approaches.
KISS your Recruiters too!
Your most powerful “marketing tool” is your recruiter. Recruiters can (and should) customize their message to meet the needs of the prospective student. Ensure your marketing message and your recruiters’ approaches are in alignment. Get feedback from recruiters on what prospective students need and want to update your marketing.
Keep It Simple for your prospective students. Guide them through the enrollment process and help them feel like the “return to school” is not daunting. This is where a little PDA will pay off!