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Webinar Slides: Recruitment: Communication to Grow Enrollment

If you are thinking about developing a communication flow to augment your recruitment efforts or if you have a communication flow and would like to see how it looks in comparison to our suggestions, you will want to check out this webinar.

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Webinar Slides: Recruitment: Communication to Grow Enrollment

  1. 1. Communication to Grow Enrollment Brenda Harms Ph.D. – Senior Vice-President April - 2015
  2. 2. Converge Consulting is a higher education marketing firm. We use research, Google Analytics, inbound marketing, and strategic communications practices to positively impact student recruitment and alumni engagement for colleges and universities around the world.
  3. 3. April, 2015 Recruitment Today… • Competitive – we all need to grow • Decisions to return to college are made over time • Our ability to partner with a prospect and stay connected to them over time will impact our overall enrollment success • There are lots of false starts in the inquiry pool – engaging with them over time shows your genuine interest in partnering with them on their educational journey (if not right now – maybe later)
  4. 4. April, 2015 “Talk to me about what matters to me, not about what matters to you.”
  5. 5. April, 2015 Assuming No Engagement… • Most recruitment professionals are easily able to engage with the individual they actually get on the phone or have an email exchange with • Our process today focuses on engagement over time with those who are less engaged or not engaged past the point of initial inquiry • The suggestions around engagement being shared today focus on scripted interactions – nobody is as good, off the cuff, as they believe themselves to be • If you are relying on your people to just “come up with” the right things to say on voicemail or in email you are missing an opportunity
  6. 6. April, 2015 Preparing for the Conversation Framing Engaging Questions
  7. 7. April, 2015 The Guide… • Emphasis • Experience • Employment • Earnings • Education • Economics • Environment
  8. 8. April, 2015 What are Engaging Questions… • Questions that guide the conversation and allow for the gathering of key points of information • A reminder to intentionally highlight key points of differentiation • A means of preparing the prospect for your conversation with them • Method of encouraging prospective students to discuss with you some of the most important elements of their educational decision making process • A set of engaging questions serve as a guide that allows everyone to do their job better
  9. 9. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Emphasis: • What’s going on in your life that made you decide that now is the right time to go back to school? – New job – Success at work – Want my kids to be proud – Finish what I’ve started
  10. 10. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Experience • What (field, career, job) are you interested in? How long have you been interested in it? What makes you interested in it? Do you know anyone who has this degree? – Continues to build your knowledge base about them – Provides clues as to the type of program they may be a good fit for
  11. 11. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Employment • Where are you currently working? What do you do there? How long have you been working there? What type of hours are you working? What do you like most about your job? What do you like least? What other jobs have you held? What did you like or dislike about those jobs? – Provides information about the types of skills they may be good at – You can link what they know now + a degree = a great new job – Give you clues as to possible opportunities for credit for work experience
  12. 12. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Economics • How familiar are you with the various ways that adult students fund their education? Have you heard about our tuition discount program and our special scholarships for adult students? Are you aware of your employers tuition discount program? – The elephant in the room is money – lead into the conversation with information
  13. 13. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Earnings • Is your current income meeting your needs? Is income a motivator for you? – It might feel awkward but understanding how motivated someone is regarding the financial benefits of earning a degree is a crucial piece to overcoming the money barrier – This may not be the right thing to ask in an email or phone message but you can prep this question with information about paying for college
  14. 14. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Environment • Who knows you are looking at going back to school? Who do you talk to about your interest in going back to college? Do you know someone who is currently going to college? – Is this person doing this (considering school) without anyone’s knowledge? – Who is supporting this – a co-worker, boss, spouse, friend, parent? – Acknowledgement of the “support system” is critical to building relationship – no adult goes to school alone
  15. 15. April, 2015 Guiding Questions Education • Tell me about your past educational experience. When/where did you last attend school? What did you like? What did you dislike? – Presents the opportunity to discuss transfer policies (in ways that seem more meaningful)
  16. 16. April, 2015 Recruitment Developing a Process
  17. 17. April, 2015 The Process • What are we doing now when a lead comes in? • Are all leads responded to in the same manner? • How is a lead tracked in our system? • Is every lead tracked in our system?
  18. 18. April, 2015 Nothing Happens by Accident…. • Process • Process • Process
  19. 19. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Adult inquires – Day 1 • Personal connection (email, phone, personal note) Day 1/2 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 3 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 6 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 10 • Follow-up contact (email) Day 14 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 18 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 21 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 26 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 33 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 45 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 60 • Follow-up contact (maintenance) – holiday/newsletter/special announcements
  20. 20. April, 2015 Your Recruitment Approach… • Things I’m guessing you need to consider – Add intentional points of contact – Have a purpose (script) for each point of contact – Development – don’t make it harder than it needs to be – Follow the process
  21. 21. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Inquiry – Day 1 – Take a look at your message - add some personality “Thank you for your inquiry. Someone from our admissions office will be getting in touch with you” “Thank you for your interest in XYZ University, we are delighted you have considered us as you are looking for an affordable and flexible evening program for adults. Brenda or Nancy from our admissions office will be following up with you within the next day to further discuss your goals. We look forward to working with you as you make this important personal and professional decision.”
  22. 22. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Personal connection (email/phone) Day 1 or 2 – Get honest – can your recruitment staff write a good personal email? “Thank you for taking the time to inquire about XYZ University, my name is Brenda and I will be assisting you throughout your process with us. I’m anxious to hear what is happening in your life right now that has gotten you started thinking about returning to school. If possible I would like to speak with you to discuss what you are looking for in an educational experience. Please let me know if you are available by phone at any time this week, my schedule is flexible and I am able to call any time before 7:30pm.”
  23. 23. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 3 – Call with purpose (why are you dialing the phone, what are you hoping to accomplish) – Have a message prepared “Good afternoon, this is Brenda and I am with XYZ University. You may have received my email yesterday and I was hoping we might be able to set up a time for me to hear about your professional goals and what interests you most about returning to school. I am available at 111-222-3333 until 7:30 tonight – I look forward to hearing back from you.”
  24. 24. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 6 – Use email to plant the seeds of your institutions benefits “As you consider returning to school to earn your degree I wanted to mention to you that XYZ University places a premium on your current and past work experience. Many of our students have already gained valuable knowledge in their professional roles and we are anxious to explore with you if you may be eligible to earn college credit based on your experience. Where you work, what types of positions you have held, and what skills you have gained in those positions are all important to us.”
  25. 25. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 10 – Call at different times of day – Prepare the message – Have the engaging questions handy (just in case they answer) “This is Brenda calling from XYZ University, so sorry I have missed you, I’m guessing like most of our students you are very busy with work and other obligations. We know time is important which is why XYZ is so committed to accepting credit from the other colleges you may have attended. We value the educational and professional experience our students bring to the classroom and award credit to help move you toward your goal of graduation more quickly. I would value the chance to speak with you further about your previous educational and work experience.”
  26. 26. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (email) Day 14 – Paying for college – we have got to talk about it – Give some examples – use personas “Paying for school is top of mind for anyone considering returning to college. Please know we are sensitive to the cost of higher education and wanted to share with you some of the ways our students are making their education attainable” ***Use 3 student personas – include how much money they make, their financial aid award, employer tuition reimbursement, grants or scholarships, and samples of repayment based on a typical amount borrowed to complete your program.
  27. 27. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 18 – Set an appointment “I’m sorry our schedules don’t seem to be matching up easily. Perhaps it would be better if we set a time to speak by phone. I will send you an email with an appointment for a phone call and you can just let me know if that won’t work for you. In the meantime feel free to call me at…”
  28. 28. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 21 “If part of what is motivating you to consider returning to school is a promotion or increase in your salary I wanted to share the following resource with you. As you can see, those that take the plunge and finish their degree are making significantly more than those who don’t. While I know the idea of squeezing school into your already busy schedule is daunting I’d really like to discuss some of the ways we move students quickly to graduation. I’m planning to call you on Monday, the 13th at 6pm. Please let me know if you would like to change our appointment.”
  29. 29. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Adult inquires – Day 1 • Personal connection (email, phone, personal note) Day 1/2 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 3 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 6 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 10 • Follow-up contact (email) Day 14 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 18 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 21 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 26 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 33 • Follow-up contact (email) – Day 45 • Follow-up contact (call) – Day 60 • Follow-up contact (maintenance) – holiday/newsletter/special announcements
  30. 30. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • You must create what makes sense for your school • One school that was recently secret shopped has a process that has a phone call/electronic message/text message/or pre-recorded reminders being sent out EVERY DAY for 38 days in a row……
  31. 31. April, 2015 Suggested Recruitment Approach… • Other Ideas – Offer to let students speak with other students – YOU make the connection – Create a special “sit in class nights” and use this as an excuse to send out a “special bulletin” email to students announcing this option – Create tools that students can click on and monitor – those who click are more engaged than those who don’t – make follow-up calls – Do a call blitz – set up an evening every month where recruitment staff work until 8:30pm and have them make calls and try to connect with folks – the goal, setting up appointments
  32. 32. April, 2015 Next Steps • Have an honest conversation – What is your current process or is it “as I get to it” – Can you afford to continue to allow recruiters to “follow-up” as they personally see fit (knowing full well everyone is doing something different and with different levels of frequency) – Are your recruitment staff charged with building a relationship or sharing information about your program? (there is a way to do both)
  33. 33. April, 2015 Next Steps • Agree on a process – Let me be clear – most recruiters will not welcome this (regardless if it is just a new process – yikes change! OR if it is something that has not been done before – yikes stop telling me how to do my job!) – Start small – just start – even 5 scheduled “must do” touch points in your process is better than “as I get to it” – Follow the new process for 6 months minimally – there will be bumps, it might be frustrating
  34. 34. April, 2015 Next Steps • Review your current communications – How are you using your CRM – How customized are the various options • Those who engaged but dropped off • Those who never engaged beyond point of inquiry • Customized to academic program • Customized to delivery mode
  35. 35. April, 2015 Next Steps • Review your written communication – CUT! – If your electronic communications are all about you – please stop – “small class sizes and faculty who really care” are about as exciting as buying a car that comes with tires….. We’ve all got it folks…… – Identify some points of pride and discuss them in ways that matter to prospective students (you may need to tell me why I should care)
  36. 36. April, 2015 Next Steps • Fight the urge to form a committee –  caught you – you were already thinking about it – Make it good and get it out the door – how long it takes you to re-write your written communications is a direct reflection of how serious you are about growing enrollment – The “review process” should take an hour (for all written communications) not a semester – Do Not let these be driven by academic language
  37. 37. April, 2015 Monitor • People and Data – People • Track actions in your CRM and as a supervisor monitor the activity of your recruitment staff (accountability) • Listen in – whenever possible listen in on phone messages and phone conversations being had by staff. Modifications to scripted messages are good – keeps it authentic. Going way off script is dangerous and creates an opportunity for poor quality messages. – Data • Know the % of Day 6 emails that have been opened over the last 3 months – try some A/B testing of subject lines • Provide lists on Day 15 of those who have opened both Day 6 and Day 14 emails – these can become a hot list for phone calls
  38. 38. April, 2015 Thank you! Please Join Us Thursday April 23, 2015 At 2pm Eastern Retention: Communication to Assist Students to Completion

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If you are thinking about developing a communication flow to augment your recruitment efforts or if you have a communication flow and would like to see how it looks in comparison to our suggestions, you will want to check out this webinar.

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