The mobile revolution is fully underway and your prospective students are not only consuming the bulk of their information via mobile devices, but they have come to expect mobile engagement. Today’s teens and young adults were practically raised on the smartphone and other mobile devices. While traditional enrollment efforts such as the campus tour and having current students participate in recruitment efforts will always be effective, new engagement strategies leveraging modern technology are becoming a necessity. If you’re currently engaging students using mobile technology and text messaging or want to start, there are many things you need to consider in your strategy. Higher Ed Hero brings you these important tips for enrollment mobile marketing.
Text Messaging: Who, What and When to Text
Text messaging has become one of the most commonly used forms of communication today. This is especially true for teens and young adults. Texting is the primary form of communication for prospective students, so it makes sense to communicate with them where they’re at. There are important things to remember when texting though, especially for recruitment purposes.
1. Keep it simple, short and infrequent: no one wants to be inundated with relentless text messages nor does anyone want to have to read really long messages. Keep your messaging short and aim for less than one text per day per student.
2. Have a reason: sending a text for the sake of sending a text will come off as not only annoying, but disingenuous. Best practices for texting potential students are: reminders for due dates, announcements about campus events and special offers, acknowledging receipts of applications, inquiries, tour requests and/or thank you correspondence. You can also provide a question-by-text service for students to send informal questions on the fly – when they think of them.
3. Increase engagement with content and calls-to-action: while the text itself is short, you can always include links to external content. For example, if your enrollment office recently produced a new recruitment video, or if a VIP recently gave a speech on campus, send a quick text summarizing the video with a clickable link for the student to view the video. If it’s a reminder on a due date, for say, Financial Aid, include the link to the financial aid page of your university site. Including this call-to-action will help keep students engaged and drive traffic to your site all while keeping the text itself short and sweet.
Apps, Interactivity & Responsive Web Design
Beyond the text message, smartphones and tables offer a full range of ways to engage with potential students. According to research, the number of people accessing websites from mobile devices is about equal to that of computers, and many predict mobile access will soon outpace computer access. Mobile web access is higher among younger demographics. In addition to mobile websites, many students use apps as ways to increase information. For example, Snapchat is seeing increased use by college professionals, according to a recent Time article. The picture-sharing app allows universities to share photos with students from a wide range of campus events and other activities.
In order for you to be prepared with mobile engagement, you also need to have responsive web design. Responsive web design allows your website to automatically fit to any screen on any device. It also allows all of your sites’ features (video, forms, downloadable content, etc.) to be accessed from a mobile device. This is key for students who are trying to learn more about your college using their smartphone or tablet. To learn how to make your site responsive, click here.
Legal Considerations: TCPA & CAM-SPAM
Over-texting and sending unwanted text messages will not only annoy students (creating the opposite effect of engagement), but could also create legal problems if not properly handled. Last year, the FCC started enforcing the then recently passed Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which together with the CAM-SPAM Act addresses text messaging and electronic communication. There are some simple rules to follow to avoid these potential consequences.
1. Do not use an auto-dialer: the TCPA bans text messages sent from an auto-dialer unless one of two conditions are met: the recipient opted-in or the message is for emergency purposes.
2. What you need to include in mobile messages: when sending a mobile email, you need to include (a) identification – who you are, (b) opt-out request link and (c) a return email address. For text messages, it would be recommended to include an Opt-Out response option (Ex. “To stop receiving texts, reply “OptOut”).
3. Gain opt-in: really the simplest way to avoid any of these issues is to get opt-in permission form the student in the first place. This can be done by including a checkbox on website inquiry forms, having operators ask the question during phone calls or sending an initial text with an Opt-In response request to receive further communications.
Mobile web access and the enrollment mobile marketing are necessary for reaching today’s prospective students. Done right, this can be a powerful tool for you and your enrollment team. The widespread use of mobile devices will allow you to grow your potential student database and keep top prospects engaged with your school throughout the process. The important things to remember are to have a strategy, set achievable goals, and respect the students’ time and data usage.
We hope you enjoyed these tips on Enrollment Mobile Marketing. Please check out our upcoming Higher Ed Hero live events to learn more on what we can do for you.
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