Posts Tagged ‘customer service training’

Top 3 Social Media/Marketing Channels College-Bound Students Say Build the College Bond

December 6th, 2017

Relationships Aren’t Just Important, They are Crucial

Successful admission professionals understand that developing a connection with a student can greatly increase his or her commitment to the college and improve the likelihood of enrollment.  In fact, our studies have demonstrated that 8 in 10 students say the relationship they formed with their chosen college was influential in their decision to enroll.

If there is any doubt in your mind about the influence of relationship building in the enrollment process, consider this additional data: The separation between the chosen college and the second choice is wide with regard to the key factors that influence relationship building.

For example, 61% of students participating in the national study, The Relationship Dynamic,” indicated that the statement,“Admission reps were sincere and cared” applied to their chosen college but only 25% said it applied to their second choice college. With reference to the statement, “The college understood me,” 59% said it applied to their first choice school vs. 22% to their second choice.

Forming a connection to any brand, including a college, is a nuanced, and often confusing, process with many components. And, one of the most mystifying of those components today is the influence of social media and mass communications. With our most recent national co-sponsored study, Emotional Motivators, we set out to bring some clarity to one of the top questions facing admission offices and college marketing departments today: Which communication channels are most effective in winning the hearts and minds of prospective students?

10,000+ College-bound Students Evaluated 16 Channels of Social Media and Mass Communications

In “Emotional Motivators” we asked students directly, “Through which of the following communication channels did you form or strengthen your emotional connection to your chosen colleges prior to enrolling?”

We presented students with 16 channels to choose from (they could select any or all).

Included in the list were: Facebook, Texting, Twitter, Snapchat, Email, Phone calls, YouTube, Instagram, Brochures, Letters/Postcards, Pinterest, Linkedin, College website, Mobile app, Live chat, and Personalized website.

So, which are the top three? 

Topping the List at #1: The College Website

Your website is the strongest mass communications tool in your arsenal for creating a bond with prospective students. There are many experts in website development that can guide you in evaluating your website. We advise our clients to continually evaluate their college’s website from the point of view of the students they are recruiting.  You may not be surprised that it’s #1. But ask yourself these key questions:

  • Does it truly enable students to see and feel what their life will be like at your school? Does it do this for differing groups of people?
  • Does it connect them (emotionally) with current students on your campus?
  • Is our website engaging? Does it create excitement? Do the visuals tell stories that will resonate with the students you are recruiting?
  • Can prospective students and their parents find the answers to their questions easily? 
  • Is there a quick and easy way to make contact with an admission counselor?  (You would be surprised how many college websites don’t provide admission counselor information.) Is there a photo and bio info for each counselor to make them more approachable for students?

#2:  E-mail Communications

This is likely to astonish many who have questions about the continuing effectiveness of email as a communication tool. However, “Emotional Motivators,” confirms what we have seen in our other studies. You can create an emotional bond with a student and you can build on that bond over time with effective use of email. You’ll know if the bond was never created in the first place when students start unsubscribing and yell at you to “STOP SENDING ME EMAILS!”

However, well-crafted, personalized emails can be very meaningful and can contribute in a very big way to building a bond between the student and college.

#3:  Letters and Postcards

Good news for the USPS, letters and postcards continue to be a compelling means to connect with prospective students. Like email, students respond best to personalized letters and cards. Many students said that humorous postcards actually help relieve stress during the college selection process.

Today we are revealing the top three channels but we will share the complete list with you soon including some of the intriguing findings we have uncovered within each category. For instance, would you be surprised to learn that Instagram tested stronger than Facebook? With 800 million users engaging with the service on at least a monthly basis, and 500 million users daily, Instagram has quickly become a force in social media and prospective students tell us that it is more effective in building a bond with colleges than Facebook.

If you can’t wait to see the entire list, click here and we will email the complete list to you.

Our national studies explore many data points; variations between students in the deep funnel phase of recruitment, private/public college students, and males/females, just to name a few. Co-sponsoring institutions receive an even deeper view of their own pool of students. If you would like this information for your college, give me a call or shoot me an email.

 [Full disclosure: The study is underway and I am sharing a few preliminary findings. However, at the current sample size, the margin of error at the 95% level is +/- 1%.]

If I can help you with your recruiting efforts in any way, please feel free to call or email me. I would love to talk to you about our powerful and effective Yield Enhancement System (YES). Admission offices use this system to improve their mass communications efforts,  have more effective one-on-one interactions, and ultimately, boost their yield. My contact information is at the bottom of this post.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company’s Interactive Counselor Training Program, click here.  Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at

Yes! You Can Accurately Predict What Prospective Students Will Think and Feel

November 30th, 2017

Consider the facts:

  • A student’s excitement about attending a college is more strongly correlated to enrollment – by a factor of two – than either cost or perceived quality of the college.
  • Almost all college-bound students (over 90%) believe it is important for colleges to attempt to understand their feelings and emotions. Yet, only 24% of them say that colleges are making the effort.
  • More than 80% of college-bound students say that the relationship they built with a college significantly impacted their decision to enroll.

Today’s college-bound students want to be excited about the college they choose; they want the college show a real interest in them; and they want a personal relationship with the college. 

You may ask, “Is it possible to develop the type of personal relationships the students we are recruiting crave when each of our counselors iks working with a have a pool of hundreds?” Or perhaps, “Our marketing efforts are focused on social media and mass marketing. How can that be personalized?”

Yes, it is possible.  And, it may well transform both your short and long term recruiting efforts. It involves segmenting your pool of prospective students psychographically. It’s about finding out what’s going on in the student’s head and how it will influence their college selection decision. And you can do that on a mass scale.

Psychographic segmentation is an effective strategy that can be indispensable in higher education and can impact every stage of your funnel. By definition, segmentation simply involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers (in our case prospective students) who have, or are perceived to have, common needs, interests, and priorities, and then designing and implementing strategies to make your personal and mass communications more effective to the various segments you have identified.

You may already group your prospective student pool into geographic and socioeconomic segments. And you might overlay additional data sets for the purposes of predicting outcomes (such as enrollment). Predictive analytics is fantastic. As a marketer, I love it. But my sales background makes me want more. I want to understand each person I’m talking to. I want to know what they want and why. I want to know how they make decisions. I want know how I can frame a value proposition that will most resonate with them. I want to know how they can be best served.

Capture the information:

You CAN get this information from prospective students and it will dramatically improve the quality and richness of your communication with them. You just have to ask them for it.

We have. Over 50,000 college-bound students have participated in three of our most recent national co-sponsored studies, “Emotional Motivators, Hidden Influences,” andThe Relationship Dynamic. In those studies, we uncovered what is going on in their heads and hearts as they search for the kind of college they want. We gained insight into how they make decisions. Multiple psychographic segments emerged.

By asking students to describe their personality traits from a set of variables, and after statistical analysis, we uncovered four distinct personality types which make up our Psychographic Dimensions. We labeled them this way (in bold) based how students described themselves (in italics):

  • Warm and trusting: Easygoing, warm, caring and trusting
  • Assertive extrovert: Spontaneous, risk-taker, assertive, social and extroverted
  • Skeptical introvert: Private, introverted and skeptical
  • Analytical perfectionist: Analytical, ordered and perfectionist

In a following set of variables, we asked them to describe what they most want in a college. We then explored the associations between their psychographic dimensions and the attributes they most want. Here are the connections between personality traits and desired attributes.

  • Warm and trusting: Career-oriented, friendly, values, safe, personal and affordable, social, career-oriented, fun, exciting, friendly, safe, personal and values.
  • Spontaneous extrovert: Party school and sports.
  • Skeptical introvert: Diverse and liberal.
  • Analytical perfectionist: Prestigious, challenging and well-known.

This isn’t all we uncovered. As part of the Emotional Motivators study we presented students with a third set of variables that described the feelings and emotions they experienced as part of the college selection process. It’s fascinating to see the connection between their personality type, what they want in a college and the feelings and emotions they experienced leading up to college selection. When you layer these three dimensions you see people you know. You’ll recall someone who fit a specific personality type, who wanted certain things in a college, who exhibited specific feelings and emotions.

Leverage the data:

Imagine the power of reducing these three dimensions into a single code or variable at the end of a record in a table in a CRM. That single code could trigger different appeals, through different channels, with different information and calls to action.

At a personal communications level, admission counselors could have a fuller understanding of each student they talk to so they can serve them best. They can predict what they want and why. They can know how an individual student makes decisions and how to frame a value proposition that will most resonate with that person. A college that gathers this information at one or more points in the recruiting cycle can tailor every communication with a prospective student in a highly-personalized way that will dramatically improve the quality and richness of their communication with them.

For years, we’ve been capturing psychographic and “what you most want in a college” data in our Yield Enhancement System (YES) projects for colleges to assist counselors in crafting a more personalized approach to individual prospective students. Admission offices use this information to have more effective one-on-one interactions and, ultimately, boost their yield.

But now, the capture of this data on a wide scale could offer dramatic efficiency and effectiveness in communications and service to prospective students.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company’s Interactive Counselor Training Program, click here.  Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

A Simple Fix for the Common Mistake Your Admission Counselors Are (Probably) Making

November 21st, 2017

During one of our recent on campus Interactive Counselor Training Workshops, I asked Andrew, a veteran admission counselor, to describe a typical interaction with a prospective student. “I like to start out with the big picture. I tell them about our great academic programs and name drop a couple of well-known graduates of our business school.  Then, I focus on the fun stuff like our winning sports teams and Greek system. Everyone comments on our attractive campus so I always mention that.”

There is no doubt that Andrew did a great job of enthusiastically describing several key features of the renowned university he represents, but did he move the student closer to enrollment? Probably not and here’s why:  A feature is not a benefit.

Features Tell/Benefits Sell.

You know that list of special attributes of your college that you point out to every prospective student?  It may be entirely meaningless to them. Worse, they may be totally tuning you out while you are droning on about things they don’t care about.

Simple Fix:  Probe to uncover what is of value to the prospective student.

In any conversation you have with a prospective student, whether it’s your first or your fifth, and regardless of where you are in the recruiting cycle, you need to probe. You HAVE to ask many questions.

Most counselors think they already do this. But in our training workshops with admissions counselors across the country, we see two common mistakes.

First, the questions being asked don’t penetrate deeply enough to uncover all of the student’s motivations, assumptions, concerns, preferences and influences in their college selection decision.

Secondly, we see questions asked that do little more than give the counselor an opportunity to talk about the college.

The key is to turn the focus of the conversation toward the individual student. Information you provide about the college must relate to only those things the student has told you are important in their college selection decision or, frankly, it is meaningless.

We have a theory that we share with counselors: To have a relevant conversation we must discover what a student is thinking. To be more meaningful we must know what a student is feeling. A conversation without relevance and meaning is just talk.

When you have asked enough questions to have a full understanding of the student’s unique preferences, you are ready to talk about your college and demonstrate how your institution can best meet their individual needs.

In our Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we teach counselors to probe and uncover key factors that will motivate a student to select your college over all others.

For instance, if you ask about the importance of distance-from-home in selecting a college, and they say they are willing to go anywhere, you’ve just determined that distance-from-home is neither going to be a deal-breaker nor a strong perceived value of your institution. In that case, you can close that issue and move on.

There is an art to probing. But it’s also an acquired skill that can be learned and perfected. We have helped counselors master the art of probing in a manner that is so effortless that at the end of the exchange the student describes the encounter as a “great conversation.” In the process, the student has handed the recruiter every tool he or she needs to present the value of the college in perfect alignment to what the student will perceive as being valuable. More importantly, the student feels understood and valued.

College admission directors and enrollment managers often tell us that they wish they had the budget to hire professionals to train their admission teams. They tell us they know they need training; that their counselors would greatly benefit from learning new skills; and the right program would energize the entire staff. “But,” they say regretfully, “we just don’t have the budget to support the expenditure this kind of professional development often costs.”

So, last year, we conducted a series of one-day intensive Yield Season Counselor Training workshops on host college campuses across the country. We held workshops on the campuses of Eastern Kentucky, Guilford, Westminster (PA), Rosemont, University of Mary Washington, and others. Colleges from the surrounding areas sent counselors (many driving three hours) to these events. They loved it and so did we!

We are kicking off our first yield season workshop this season at Drew University in New Jersey on December 12th.

We are talking to colleges around the country about being a host site (there are incentives that make being a host site very attractive so contact us if you have an interest hosting a workshop).

Whether you are a host college or not this is a very affordable workshop designed to benefit seasoned counselors just as much as counselors who are going through their first full recruiting cycle. Counselors you send will return home with skills and techniques that can be shared with the whole admission team.

Your admission counselors will learn new methods to:

  • Adopt a student-centric approach to recruiting.
  • Reveal the needs, preferences, motivations, and perceptions of prospective students.
  • More effectively present the value of their college based on what the student (and parent) perceives as being most valuable.
  • Manage the perceptions and opinions that prospective students form about their college.
  • Uncover hidden influences that will impact a student’s enrollment decision.
  • Learn how to differentiate your college.
  • Create and foster relationships with students that will lead to enrollment.
  • Discover the true influence of cost and isolate factors that will outweigh cost.
  • Enlist the support and influence of parents.
  • Share their new skills and techniques with the entire admission team.

The Bottom Line: You can up your game this yield season for a minimal investment in time and money and a maximum return in your enrollment. If you are interested in attending a workshop, suggesting a location, or even hosting a workshop, ask for details here.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call me or any member of our team, Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

[Video]: Resources You Can Use Now to Finalize ’17 and Ensure a Successful ’18

May 23rd, 2017

As summer approaches, enrollment managers and admission directors expand their focus to critical issues like professional development, marketing planning, research and pre-enrollment service initiatives. Meanwhile, many colleges are still in the throes of making their 2017 class.  According to the recently released NACAC College Openings Update, over 500 colleges and universities are still accepting applications from prospective freshman and/or transfer students for the upcoming fall term.

Wherever your institution falls on this wide spectrum of future planning, we have a number of free tools and resources available to you. On our website and YouTube channel you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. You can also download the complete reports from our each of our national co-sponsored studies that dive deeply into the hot-button issues that impact your enrollment.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get even more. There you’ll find tutorials, up-to-date market data, and a wealth of actionable information to help you with your recruiting efforts, today and in the future.

Our most recent video (below) introduces you to the national co-sponsored higher education study we are launching now:  Emotional Motivators. This study is based on an old adage: “Facts tell. Emotions sell.” Students want and need facts and information about the colleges they consider. But their college selection decision will hinge on how they FEEL about the school they’ll ultimately enroll in. This study will tell you how they feel about you relative to the other colleges they considered (or chose to attend).

You should get in as a co-sponsor! There is still time. You can get a deeper level of insight on the pool of prospective students you were/are working for 2017 and get a clear understanding of how you were or weren’t tripping their trigger.

Be sure to check out our Counselor Training Tutorials. At the heart of our highly-acclaimed Interactive Counselor Training Workshop is a proven model of communication that counselors tell us is transformative. The model is simple and highly effective. Adopt this straightforward method and you will see greater success in your recruitment efforts. Our ever-expanding tutorial menu includes sessions covering these high–impact topics from the popular workshops we conduct at college campuses across the country:

Counselor Training Series Overview: Longmire and Company believes that the conversations between prospective students and the colleges they are considering can be much richer and more fruitful for both. Having rich conversations with prospective students provides you with a greater understanding of each student’s unique needs, preferences, motivations, and how they will make their college selection decision.


The Counselor Training Series is just the beginning of the valuable free video tools available to you. Again, check out our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, PLEASE consider getting involved in this new co-sponsored study we’re launching. You’ll benefit from it! Previous co-sponsors get involved year after year because it’s inexpensive and they get insightful and actionable information.

Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at