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3 Tips for Effective Text Messaging in Higher Ed Enrollment

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December 7, 2020 — Recent Noel Levitz research found a growing number of students are beginning their school search via their mobile device and express a desire to be reached about enrollment and admissions via text messaging. The willingness to engage via text message only increases once the student has applied and deposited, according to a 2011 Bob Johnson Consulting study which found the following among high interest students (1) inquiries opting for text updates grew 35.8% between 2010 and 2011 and (2) deposits opting for text updates grew 43.1% between 2010 and 2011

These findings point to the importance of effective text messaging in the recruitment and enrollment process. To learn more about how early adaptors are using text messaging, we posted this question to a few higher education message boards: “Do you use text messaging in the enrollment process, if so how, and are prospective students receptive?” The post generated a lively discussion, below are a few of the key takeaways.

  • Establish relationship first: A student said “A less intrusive way to make this campaign effective is to only send warm texts and not cold texts. What do I mean? Establishing a relationship with a student first and let them choose the method of communication they are comfortable with.” Another LinkedIn group member noted “students are very receptive [to text messages], however, I only use this option when I have already talked to a student on the phone”
  • Let prospects opt in: One LinkedIn group member commented: “If you do like to text your prospects, ensure they like communicating that way and are using mobile devices. I have used text messaging in the enrollment process, retention efforts, to provide encouragement, and even job leads. The students are delighted…plus is saves their minutes.” Another commenter mirrored this sentiment: “I use text messaging and Facebook to communicate with our students. It seems the Y generation is more receptive to communicating via text and/or social media… My goal is to tear down barriers, raise their comfort level, and have them physically meet with me.”
  • Thoughtfully integrate: One student stressed “My android phone already receives ads that come straight to my phone … As a student, my preference would be to NOT get a barrage of text messages to my phone, but every once in a while a good reminder ‘in my opinion’ wouldn’t hurt.” Leads360’s SMS feature does just that – sending reminders at key points in the enrollment process. Example text messages might include: “looking forward to seeing you at 3 PM for the campus tour”, “I see it’s been a week since you got the application, reply if you have any questions.” We know prospects only want to get texts at the right times.
  • It is clear SMS has potential to change the way post-secondary schools approach prospects. Leads360 automated text messaging is designed to send automated texts during the enrollment phase, nurturing prospects without any specific effort from the admission counselor or enrollment manager. To learn more click here.

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