Let’s assume you’ve implemented a great, highly-targeted advertising plan and you have lots of high-quality leads keeping your admissions team busy. As you know, having a lot of leads does’t mean you’ll have a full class, so… now what?
Well, now you have to nurture those prospective students with a good admissions plan:
The admissions process is just as much part of your marketing system as advertising and PR. Marketing is message, targeting, and process. You probably have heard it called a sales funnel, but for school admissions, we try to stay away from the word “sales” as much as possible – we call it admissions. Your Admissions team is the second major step in your overall marketing system for the school.
Your admissions team closes the deal, which means they need to be good. Don’t be afraid of spending money on effective admissions representatives.
At the ver least, every school should have a contact follow-up plan for every inquiry:
What exactly gets done after someone submits an inquiry? What happens after that based on the result of rhte first attempt? Then what? … and then what?
A simple example of a trade school’s admissions process would be:
- Inquiry is submitted;
- Admissions mails a brochure and sends an introductory email the same day;
- Admissions calls to ask if they have questions, would like to your the school, etc.;
- Inquiry receives the brochure package;
- Follow-up call to discuss the brochure and additional push to schedule appointment;
- Newsletters on a regular schedule with interesting news and reminders of start dates, etc.
- Still no progress? Invite them to an exclusive free seminar at the school.
If at any of those steps they submit an application, then they move into the Application Process funnel; on to the Enrollment Process, and then finally, the Starts Process. (“Starts process” being all the activities that should happen to keep the student excited and well-informed so that they actually show up on orientation day.)
Design those steps to best fit your team and your student body. Each step should have branches like a pick-your-own-ending book depending on the result of an attempted contact.
You need a drawn-out plan – no kidding: write it down and chart it out. It should be followed, tested, and refined to improve the conversions as each prospect goes throw the process. If you’re spending money on leads, you want to make sure you’re giving your career school every possible chance to convert them to students. If all you do is sit and wait for them to apply: you’re losing money. You can’t just get the lead, send a brochure, then hope they’ll attend – you need to nurture the leads.
First you target with advertising and PR, then you convert with admissions; there are a lot of nuanced opportunities within each.