What if you had a tool that increased your school’s yield by increasing each conversion in your funnel? What if you successfully utilized a tool to save time by automatically sending out each communication to your valuable families, while continuing to build relationships and grow your funnel? Picture the ability to simply communicate deadlines, share incomplete application checklist items, or even send out reminders of scheduled visits, here is some exciting news: Automated communication plans can do that for you.
What exactly is a communication plan?
It is a strategic plan for communicating with your families in a targeted and personalized way. Communication plans are automated actions that trigger in response to parent or admin actions. They can save time by eliminating routine tasks, as well as automatically providing useful information to applying or enrolling families as they progress through the process.
Communication plans are built around triggers and actions as defined below:
- Triggers: Completion of checklist items (application fee, teacher recommendation, uploaded transcript, etc.) or change of status (moved from inquiry to applicant or applicant to application complete, etc.).
- Actions: Send personalized communications to your families, send instructions for next steps to colleagues, or even set up internal reminders to help a family take the next steps.
Why are automated communication plans important?
As admissions and enrollment professionals, your job is focused on building relationships and establishing an emotional connection with your current and prospective families. Building trust plays a key role in how your parents ultimately make the decision to apply and enroll in your school. We know the term “automation” or “automated” can seem very impersonal; however, the data shows that when you build automated communication plans correctly, your families will still receive your personal touch, get accurate information they need, and establish an emotional connection with your school.
There are two general types of messages to use in communication plans that have a significant impact on moving families through the funnel: informational and interest-based. Informational messages are objective and often remove roadblocks. Interest-based messages are more subjective and are used to connect your prospective families to your school’s story.
Informational messages are used to answer questions and help your families get through the admissions or enrollment process. Typically, these types of messages help remove obstacles that might be holding your families back on completing their application. We see schools use informational messaging to send out checklist status updates, address any concerns (e.g. affordability), or remind families of deadlines.
Example: Think about a time when you had to sort through everyone who was interested in learning more about financial aid. How did you respond? Do you have templates saved in your Gmail and have to copy, paste and edit out some information to make it personalized to each family that is requesting the information? With communication plans, you can set up one plan where you can say anyone who marks they are interested in learning more about financial aid receives a personalized email from your business office with an overview of your school’s financial aid program, possible scholarship opportunities, and more.
Interest-based messages are going to be unique to your school. Why do people choose to enroll in your school? Perhaps it is because of your small classroom sizes, scholarship opportunities, an awesome theater arts program, an academic focus (e.g. STEM/STEAM), or a renowned athletic program. Interest-based messages are used by schools to connect with their families and get them to imagine themselves in your school’s story.
Example: Let’s say that your school does have a renowned athletic program and you happen to get a large portion of applications and inquiries that are specifically interested in soccer. With a communication plan, you can set up rules to automatically send out an email from your soccer coach to each inquiry or applicant giving a quick overview of the program, why they love working for your school and a schedule of this season’s soccer games!
Both informational and interest-based messages can be customized and personalized to cater to your families. With a communication tool and an unlimited number of plans, you can allow your imagination to go wild and ensure that no one falls through the cracks. You have the capability to build communication plans for all stages of your funnel: inquiry, admissions, and the enrollment process. For each plan, you can create triggers that automate system actions that generate in response to parent or admin actions. Therefore, you can streamline processes by creating reminders or emails automatically not only for your families but also internally with your team. Again, you can save time by eliminating routine tasks as well as automatically providing useful information to your inquiry, applicant, or enrolling families as they progress through the admissions process.
If you are a SchoolAdmin client and need help setting up your own internal and external communication plans: Please sign in to your SchoolAdmin site and connect with our Client Services team by clicking on ‘Contact Support’.
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This post was published on November 27, 2018.
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