“Few marketing communication strategies can match the yield rate for students who visit for a tour and admissions interview,” writes Larry Rondeau on his Rondeau’s Roundtable blog. Rondeau, a college marketing consultant with The Allied Group, adds that, “success depends on students who not only sign up for campus events, but who actually show up.”
Yet according to Rondeau, getting students to show up can be a real challenge. He cites a recent discussion on LinkedIn’s College Admissions Experts group, where members reported that they are struggling with no-show rates of 50 percent.
How can you make sure that students feel a commitment to show up after they have signed up? Here are some strategies that Rondeau recommended in a recent conversation with Today’s Campus:
- Coach your admissions representatives to hold back some information during phone conversations. This advice, which originates with an experienced admissions officer, displays discretion, not dishonesty. If your reps answer every question and cover every possible topic on the phone, students could be less likely to arrive.
- Call parents to ask, “Does the time your child made work for you?” That call shows consideration and helps assure that parents know about appointments and will get their children to attend. “This is another good suggestion that originated with the group discussion,” Rondeau states. “I definitely agree with it. Parents of Millennials often drive the admissions process.”
- Call a few days before appointments. A personal reminder call boosts attendance. “Calling two or three days beforehand avoids the risk of making contact just when the student or parent realizes that they’ve overbooked the day and has to cancel one appointment,” says Rondeau.
- Ask students, “Will you please call if you have to cancel?” A study conducted by renowned social psychologist Robert Cialdini found that when restaurants asked that question to people making dinner reservations and waited for them to answer, no-shows dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent. “Getting the person to actually state that they will call if they have to cancel is the key,” says Rondeau. “Most people feel a need to live up to commitments that they make in front of others.”
- Get students to confirm their commitment in writing – by hand or keyboard. “Dr. Cialdini stated in a television interview, `People live up to what they write down,’” Rondeau states. “Research demonstrates that many will keep their promise by showing up.”
who writes on college marketing for Today’s Campus
the blog at StraighterLine.com
and contributes daily marketing tips to StepByStepMarketing.com.
Barry has previously held positions at the National Institute of Business Management (Senior Editor), The Trump Organization (Executive Editor of The Donald Trump blog), and at Bottom Line/Personal (Senior Staff Editor). He has written and co-authored more than 10 books, including two on marketing. Barry earned degrees at McGill and Yale and is currently enrolled in the UCLA Extension Division’s certification program in college counseling.