In a recent post, I wrote about 3 ways admission software can save time. Now I’ll focus on some of the specific ways that school admissions teams are using some of their regained time to connect with prospects in a more personal, yet efficient way. One key way they’re doing this is through what I call, “mass-personalization”.
What is Mass-Personalization
The principle of “mass-personalization” is straightforward: by gathering data on individual customers, a company can target its advertising or product. For instance, if we look at Amazon.com, the reality is that it is a giant impersonal company. However, if you shop on Amazon, you’ll realize that Amazon can pretty accurately suggest books you would like to read or products you would like to buy. They use sophisticated engines that make recommendations based on your purchase patterns. They don’t know you, but it SEEMS like they do. This is MASS-personalization.
Why is Mass-Personalization Relevant for Admissions
“I deal with hundreds of families and each of them expect me to know them personally.”
Parents are getting younger and their expectations are changing. Every business they’re dealing with knows all about them, and they expect you to know them as well. Even if you are talking with hundreds of families just like them, they are probably only talking to a few schools. If they are going to invest the money, a personal connection will be important to them.
So, you need to make sure you are connecting more personally with more families. Now, I’m not asking you to create a complex engine like Amazon has done. That would be crazy. But I will share some strategies I’ve learned from other school admissions teams about how they are connecting personally in an efficient way.
Here are three ways schools are connecting:
1. When a parent or prospective student calls, you should be able to pull up their record, see the notes you logged from your conversation at the open house, know what football team they cheer for, and see where they are in the application process. This makes prospects feel like you remember them. That you care.
2. In order to make #1 possible, you need to share these notes and records among the team in a way that they can be accessed and updated immediately. If an inquiry calls you, you should know that your assistant had been trying to get a hold of them to set up an interview. Or if your admissions coordinator is out sick, you should be able to see their to-dos for the day and pick up where they left off. You’re a well-oiled machine.
3. There are ways to make even bulk emails feel personal. The trick is to choose the groups with whom you have something relevant to say. E.g. sending an email inviting 50 people who expressed an interest in theatre to the new play. Even though it’s a bulk email, it feels like it’s made for them because it’s based on their interests. The trick is finding which groups to target which brings me to #4.
4. Map out your admission communication plan – an organized plan to talk to High-Value Groups specifically about the things they care about.