“The plumber’s pipes don’t always get fixed even by the plumber”
This post is my second installment in the continuing story about my 17 year old son. He is a very intelligent (top 10 in his class), rising senior in high school (rural area of upstate South Carolina), baseball player, social media lover, southern boy who loves to be outside in the woods, water and wild. I am a 40ish year old Dad of two boys, with a wife that still can hold her own even with 3 guys in the house! I have spent most of my working life in higher education enrollment, with a brief hiatus (5 years) into corporate sales. Now my life consists of visiting and consulting with colleges and universities across the south. And in between, I get to sit behind the computer screen and try to keep up with what is happening with this younger generation.
Getting Noticed – How to make it happen?
Today, with all the media out there it is easy to get a “glance”, but a true “notice” can be harder. Let me define this word “notice” first. With my dollar store “New Webster’s Dictionary” it is defined as – act of noting; regard; information; order; a brief critical review; to make observation on; to treat with attention. I think you get the picture now. With prospective students, we never know what will trigger them to take the next step. This is why we need multiple, strategically timed, well thought out, and yet simple messaging. We all want students to raise their hand and say “I am interested” – and then take an action. At my house, we have been receiving many types of communications recently. Every day we receive mail pieces, emails, inbound Internet ads, but no phone calls yet.
The mail piece that got the most attention from my son recently was from a Freed-Hardman University in Tennessee. The neat thing is my son did not know who it was from, but was intrigued enough that he opened it and read through it. Many schools are utilizing a strategy of having alums write letters to their prospects. If schools can coordinate this communication flow it can be very effective in getting a “notice” in the recruitment process. Andrew’s comment was “I wonder if I will get a letter from Phil Robertson?” Somehow Phil Robertson from the Duck Dynasty Show is connected to Freed-Hardman University. If schools have influential, distinctive alums I would recommend that you use this approach to supplement your communication to the prospect.
I mentioned earlier that we have been receiving a ton mail lately. And we have started to see duplicate mail pieces coming at the same time. This tells me that we are on the school’s mail list twice. This is costly. I would recommend your data person do weekly checks for duplicate contacts.
The emails have been flooding the inbox at all different times. I have seen neat subject lines recently, especially one from Wofford College today…
Making your emails personal, distinctive and trendy will help get you opens and “notices.” Wofford even incorporated some of their distinctive messaging into their hash tags.
When it comes to phone calls, we have not received any yet. I do expect the phone to start ringing once we submit our applications for admission. My observation is that phone calls work better once the prospect has developed and fully “raised their hand” that they are interested.
Another form of marketing that I have been pleasantly surprised to see, is inbound advertising via the Internet. Andrew and I have been on the web recently doing some college searches, and now ads from these schools have started to show up. We have seen schools like Samford University and Shorter University doing this sort of communication. I am of the opinion that you have to be where your prospects are to recruit and “get noticed.”
The pipes are beginning to clear – time to visit and apply
We now have spent some time working with the College Board’s college search tool and identified about 8 schools to visit this fall. We are also in the process of registering for the ACT and SAT this fall. Time is of the essence now; the roads will be hot with us touring, talking to admissions counselors, faculty, and students across NC, SC, and GA. It was a great day when he ranked his choices at this point in the journey and he even tweeted about the fun!
I think dad enjoys this college process more than I do @nateenrollwhiz
So I invite you to stick with me along this journey, as I share our fun and some nuggets I find along the way.