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’s some exciting news: automated communication plans can do that for you.
What Exactly is a Communication Plan?
A communication plan 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. They also automatically provide 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.). Change of status (moved from inquiry to applicant or applicant to application complete, etc.).
- Actions: Send personalized communications to your families. Send instructions for the next steps to colleagues. 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 centered around 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 still receive your personal touch, get the 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.
1. Informational Messages
Informational messages are objective and often remove roadblocks.
They are most often 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 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 where you copy, paste, and edit information to make it personalized for each family? With communication plans, you can set up one plan. However, anyone who marks they are interested in learning more about financial aid will still receive a personalized email from your business office. Each email will include an overview of your school’s financial aid program, possible scholarship opportunities, and more.
2. Interest-Based Messages
Interest-based messages are often more subjective and help connect your prospective families to your school’s story.
It’s important to remember that 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. Schools use interest-based messages to connect with their families. Additionally, they can help families imagine themselves as a part of your school’s story.
Example: Let’s say your school has a renowned athletic program and a large portion of inquiries 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. The coach can give students a quick overview of the program, why he or she loves working for your school, and a schedule of this season’s soccer games!
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Using Communication Plans
Both informational and interest-based messages are customizable and you can personalize them 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 communication plan, you can create triggers that automate system actions. These actions generate in response to parent or admin actions. As a result, you can streamline your processes and create reminders or emails that go out automatically to both your families and internally for your team. Furthermore, you can save time by eliminating routine tasks. However, you’ll still be 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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