Every admission strategy for colleges needs to factor in follow-ups or any type of communication that occurs with prospects after they’ve expressed their interest in a school. A strong follow-up process is a great way to entice your prospects to explore your school, all while learning more about them. Through this type of interaction, you can begin fostering a deeper relationship that transforms prospects into enrolled students.
There are various ways to create a winning follow-up process, though the most effective would be to use customer relationship management (CRM) software. With a CRM that can handle student inquiry follow-up, your school can be ready to make the most out of its marketing channels—using email, SMS, and even phone calls to entice prospects who have already reached out.
Review Your Admissions Funnel and Create Student-Focused Experiences
Creating a strong admissions strategy for colleges requires a solid understanding of the school’s admissions funnel. By identifying the different stages involved in your school’s admissions funnel, you can begin cultivating experiences in each one—designed to push prospects further along their journey and closer toward enrollment. These experiences should naturally include follow-up messaging, set off after the inquiry stage, to keep prospects engaged with your school.
The goal is to nurture your prospects throughout the admissions funnel. To do so, you can create opportunities that motivate prospects to reach out and inquire about your school. Forms and lead magnets are a great way to capture your prospects’ contact information, which you can use to establish a strong connection with them. This is where your student personas can come in handy, giving you insight into your prospects’ motivations and concerns in a way that allows you to better support their journey onward with your school.
Depending on where your prospects are in the admissions funnel, you may approach the follow-up process differently. Prospects who have just filled out a form on a landing page are positioned to receive different types of messaging than those who have just submitted an application but have yet to enroll. In either case, follow-up communication in your college admissions process step-by-step can be the key to converting them.
Use a CRM to Capture Leads and Enhance an Admission Strategy for Colleges
A big part of your marketing efforts is generating leads, and you don’t want any of them to fall through the gaps. In order to successfully follow up with the leads you’ve generated, you need a system to organize your contacts. This is where your education CRM comes in, helping you manage your enrollment funnel and communication strategy.
Your CRM will serve as a centralized system for capturing leads from different channels, removing the need to hop into different platforms to connect with them. Even better, the CRM can record each interaction leads have with your school and help you better monitor their progress. From there, you can begin crafting personalized messaging that enhances your admissions strategy for colleges.
Create Follow-Up Processes Based on Your School’s CRM Lead Scoring
CRMs for schools can also segment leads into different groups by age, location, educational background, program of interest, interactions on site, etc. This can help schools determine how different prospects engage with the school and, ultimately, which leads to prioritize. You can assign these leads to different members of your admissions team using your school’s CRM and begin connecting more meaningfully with them to encourage enrollment. For instance, high-quality leads can receive a follow-up email for university admission.
Here, lead scoring is the process that goes on behind the scenes. CRMs can make it possible for you to easily rank your prospects on a scale of perceived value based on metrics your school deems most important. The score these prospects receive indicates where prospects are in their enrollment journey, helping your school identify those closest to converting.
It can also give your admissions team an idea of how best to follow up with different prospects in the admissions process. High-quality leads will be assigned to the right admissions team representative for seamless follow-up. For maximum impact, it’s worth determining which messaging and content best aligns with the stage that each lead is in.
Example: Schools using Mautic CRM can easily set up lead scoring, creating point actions and triggers that determine a lead’s ranking. The image below reveals the different parameters schools can explore when developing this system:
Interested in receiving personalized support with the follow-up process? Our team of education marketing experts can provide you with comprehensive follow-up for the leads you’ve generated, boosting the productivity and efficiency of your admissions team. Reach out to learn more!
Keep Students Engaged with Purposeful Messaging through an Admission Strategy for Colleges
Successful marketing is sending the right message at the right time to the right audience, and the same applies to a successful admission strategy for colleges. As such, creating content and messaging for each stage of the funnel is key.
Once you’ve identified your high-quality leads and have started a conversation with them, you’ll want to keep them engaged by sharing the content they need or want to see. This is especially important in order to fuel their interest and keep your school top of mind, even after leads have submitted their application.
Your school can use different admissions yield strategies and methods to engage with prospects. Emailing, texting, and calling are all great options. Each message should be carefully constructed to guide prospects further along their enrollment journey. For instance, your school’s follow-up messaging can be focused on exploring relevant pages on your website, attending a virtual tour or webinar, booking a personal info session, or even starting an application, depending on the prospect’s position in the admissions funnel.
Example: To establish a connection with its prospects, Oxford College immediately sends an email to those who have expressed interest. The email is friendly, creating an opportunity for prospects to engage even further with the school by taking on some of the suggestions that have been made, like scheduling a phone call or campus visit:
Explore Email Autoresponders and Automated Workflows
Email autoresponders are automatic email messages sent to prospects once they’ve taken action and shown interest in your school. This can be as simple as filling out a form on your school’s website or landing page. The automated response that your prospects receive allows you to immediately share helpful resources and information, giving them something to consider and explore as they wait for a more personal response from your school.
Another key benefit of using an admission follow-up email autoresponder is being able to build on the momentum that your prospects have already created. You’ll want to connect with them as soon as possible to show that your school is eager to provide the support they seek. It’s also an effective way to begin establishing a conversation. According to this research, email is the most preferred channel for receiving marketing messages by 46% of users, with a unique open rate being 22%.
A good email autoresponder typically:
- Adopts a positive and welcoming tone, including a warm greeting
- Includes follow-up contacts or links to help prospects—possibly department contacts, links to your admission page or FAQ page, scholarship and financial aid, etc.
- Avoids typos and grammar errors
- Is easy to read and can be branded or styled for visual impact
Example: Westervelt College, now Anderson College, immediately contacts prospects who have shared their contact details. The email autoresponder that they receive is warm and welcoming as well as informative and easy to read. Various helpful links have been provided in an email that is clearly branded:
Automated email workflows can be designed to suit a variety of purposes for your school. You can use them to nurture leads or follow up with them after they’ve submitted an inquiry form, interacted with a lead magnet, signed up for an event, or submitted an application. You can also build an automated workflow around your school’s application deadline to increase interest and boost numbers.
With so many subject ideas to explore, you can take your follow-up emails to a new level with automation. By using your CRM and its email automation capabilities, you can create an automated follow-up email for school admission that can help you generate the results you need. It’s worth exploring email marketing techniques that can make your school stand out for an even better impact.
Create SMS Campaigns to Follow Up with Prospects in an Admissions Strategy for Colleges
Interestingly, the same research shared above shows that SMS messages have a 10% higher read rate than email—making them a promising addition to any admission strategy for colleges. Not many schools use SMS to their full marketing advantage, so those that do have a unique advantage. Many prospects are likely already on their phones, and being able to reach them on these devices can make your school more top of mind.
Getting started with an SMS campaign is simple when using your school’s CRM. In Mautic, you can launch the Campaign Builder and begin customizing the details of your SMS message. This includes which completed actions trigger the message, such as submitting an inquiry form, as well as who receives the message. You can name your campaign and set the time frame, as shown below:
With so many options available, you can go a step further and create a more complex SMS campaign. For instance, you can create multiple text messages that spread out over a specific time frame to improve your follow-up process.
Your school can use an SMS campaign to send an announcement, an event invite, or simply a reminder of something coming up—like admission deadlines. You can also use SMS to follow up with prospects about the status of their college admission process.
Connect with Prospects and Guide Them Toward Enrollment Over the Phone
It’s important to connect with prospects at the right time to guide them toward enrollment effectively. This may involve making a phone call to build a more personal connection with them. You’ll want to make a great first impression, and this call can be your chance to do so. Your admissions team should be friendly and informative, building a pleasant rapport with prospects to further foster their trust and loyalty.
Make sure your admissions representatives are knowledgeable about the right programs as well as other common student concerns–including career prospects, student housing, and study visas or permits to name a few. If recruiting internationally, consider making this phone call in the prospect’s native language. Not only will this make your school more approachable, but it will also show that you care about your students and prioritize their needs.
General tips when using phone calls as part of your university admissions process include:
- Calling a few times in the first week to set up initial contact
- Addressing students directly using their name
- Being friendly and sincere
- Showing interest in the prospects’ motivations for reaching out to your school and learning about their needs
- Providing the name and contact details of the representative they’re speaking with during the call so that prospects can reach out directly in the future
These phone calls can easily be tracked in your school’s CRM. By navigating to the Report section in Mautic, you can view the Calls Outcome report and analyze the end result of each staff member’s phone calls, as shown below:
Evaluating these results can help you optimize your performance, equipping your team with the insight it needs to better connect with its prospects. This will undoubtedly result in a more effective follow-up process.
Optimize Your Admissions Process with Simplicity and Student Satisfaction in Mind
Your goal should always be to create positive experiences with your prospects, and this means prioritizing their satisfaction in your communication strategy. You can track your performance and use your data to uncover weaknesses and strengths in your digital marketing efforts, focusing on the success of your admissions funnel and follow-up efforts.
Once you’ve identified areas you can work on, you can begin filling the gaps and creating a stronger admission strategy for colleges, one that provides ample support to your prospects at every stage of their enrollment journey.
It’s important to remember that the needs of your prospects may change over time, so be sure to regularly review your efforts and seek opportunities to optimize. This way, you can begin improving admissions yield and position your school at the top—promoting experiences that delight your prospects and compel them to choose your school over its competition.