When time is short, automating admissions and enrollment communications with prospective families is a valuable tool for schools. Automated workflows streamline the process, save time, and allow your admissions office to manage many correspondence, inquiries, and applications efficiently.
When your marketing strategies and your admissions software operate like a well-oiled machine, automated student outreach can:
- Free up valuable time for the admissions staff
- Provide your team time to focus on other essential tasks, like reviewing applications and conducting interviews and tours
- Handle routine tasks like sending initial information packets, deposit reminders, status updates, and more
But while marketing automation streamlines the process, it’s crucial to balance your email drip campaigns with authenticity and personalization, especially when engaging with prospective families.
Including personalization tokens in greetings and subject lines will help with open rates and click-through rates, but remember, families aren’t just contacts in your admissions and enrollment software — each family has unique aspirations, concerns, and questions that require personalized attention.
The goal is to create an efficient enrollment journey while offering a personal touch to address each family.
Each communication throughout the admissions and enrollment process is a chance to establish a genuine connection with families. With a little practice, you can still provide families with authentic messaging.
Tips for Creating Personalized Automated Admission Emails
1. Use Personalized Greetings
Personalized greetings are essential because they immediately establish a sense of familiarity. Addressing families by their names (and preferred pronouns) shows that you recognize them as unique individuals, not just any other applicant. It conveys a message of personal attention and care, making families feel valued and appreciated from the very first interaction.
Check out some of these stats:
- 99% of marketers feel personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” influence
- 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands provide personalized experiences
- 92% of marketers say customers and prospects expect a personalized experience — that’s up from 85% in 2019
Leverage the information families provide during the inquiry process to personalize the content of your automated emails. Like Moreau Catholic High School, you can use Finalsite's enrollment software to use their names, reference their child's interests or achievements, and tailor the information you share to match their specific needs and interests. Even within an automated system, this approach ensures that families feel seen and understood.
2. Provide Relevant Information
Tailoring the content of your emails to the specific interests and needs of families demonstrates that you understand their unique requirements. Consider this: 42% of consumers will be “annoyed" that content isn’t personalized, and 67% of consumers feel it’s important for brands to adjust content based on context automatically. (Source)
By segmenting your email lists and sending targeted information, you show families that you've taken the time to consider their specific circumstances. This level of personalization fosters a sense of trust and respect, assuring families that you will provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the admissions process.
3. Create Custom Templates
Develop a range of email templates that capture essential information while allowing room for custom designs. This enables your admissions staff to launch automated email workflows for your school but still insert personalized touches, addressing specific concerns or providing additional resources based on each family's circumstances.
Important deadline reminders, holiday messages, and event invitations — bringing your logos, imagery, and design directly into your templates supports your school’s branding, and the customization ensures a personal touch.
In addition to your school’s branded emails, Finalsite Messages gets the ball rolling with templates for just about every occasion — back to school, birthdays, or webinar invites — add your own touch and use your branding to get creative!
4. Share Authentic Stories
Authentic stories create an emotional connection between families and your school. Sharing real-life experiences of current students, parents, or alumni allows families to envision themselves as part of your school community.
Once you’ve aligned the themes of particular stories with the priorities of specific families, you can show families that their child's education and well-being are also genuinely important to you.
5. Offer One-on-One Conversations
Inviting families to schedule one-on-one conversations with an admissions representative conveys a genuine interest in their concerns and questions. It creates a personal connection, allows for open dialogue, and makes families feel heard, valued, and supported.
Fortunately, the calendar feature of Finalsite Enrollment allows your admissions office to pre-determine available meeting times and then offer families the convenience of selecting the dates and times that work best for them. And with automated confirmations and friendly reminders, it takes care of so many of the tedious administrative tasks.
Just like Presbyterian School of Houston does with its calendar, this personalized but automated approach also fosters a sense of confidence (and convenience) in your school's commitment to meeting the needs of each student.
6. Showcase Faculty and Staff
Introducing the teachers, administrators, and staff members who will be part of a student's educational journey humanizes your school. Even though it’s part of an automated workflow, by introducing your faculty and staff, families gain insight into the caring and dedicated individuals who will shape their child's learning experience.
Putting a name to a face creates a sense of reassurance, and when families feel their child will be in capable hands, surrounded by a supportive community, they’ll feel comforted and assured their values are matched.
Baylor School introduces its dorm parents and explains their roles in making its boarding program successful. As mentors, mediators, counselors, and advisors, these leaders help the res halls feel like home.
7. Use a Warm and Friendly Tone
Just because an email is automated doesn’t mean you can't use a warm and friendly tone throughout your communications. The natural-sounding language will put your families at ease and encourage them to engage with your school openly.
Avoid overly formal or robotic language and strive for a friendly and approachable style. Write as if you were speaking directly to them, and they’ll have no idea it was an email you drafted months ago.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to keep assessing the effectiveness of your messages. Monitor engagement rates, collect feedback from families, and make adjustments as needed. This approach ensures that you stay responsive to families' evolving needs and preferences throughout the school year.
Set the stage for a personalized relationship from the very first interaction. Find the right mix between time-saving, automated communications that assist families throughout their enrollment journey and still offer trust, appreciation, support, and belonging. That balance will help families feel valued and confident that your school is the right choice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.