Posts Tagged ‘higher education marketing’

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.

Your First Look at Emotional Motivators Study Findings – Alleviate Stress and Increase Yield

November 7th, 2017

Preliminary findings from our latest national co-sponsored higher education study are definitive on this subject:  Your prospective students want/need you to understand the feelings and emotions they are experiencing as they navigate the college selection process.

Over 10,000 recently enrolled college students have revealed to us the specific emotions they encountered while searching for the right college. More importantly, they are sharing their perceptions of what the colleges they considered did, and did not do, to support their feelings and how that influenced their ultimate college choice.

Of course, we are all well aware of the range of emotions that envelop prospective students during their college selection process. That is not news. What the “Emotional Motivators national co-sponsored study uncovers is how you can increase and control your enrollment by getting a deep and accurate understanding of how students really feel about your college and what you can do to channel those emotions.

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

So, what new insights does “Emotional Motivators” offer that you can use right now?

First of all, the study findings reveal that choosing a college is even more anxiety provoking than you may have thought. More than 80% of students say they experienced anxiety while searching for a college.anxiety chart

When asked if any college tried to find out about, address or alleviate their anxieties, 64% said “NO.”

What happens when a college reaches out to address and alleviate anxiety? An overwhelming 78% of students tell us that it makes the college more attractive to them.

In our prior higher education studies we have identified the 6 stress-inducing actions most often cited about the college admission’s industry:

  1. That we communicate poorly
  2. That we’re slow to offer or reject admission
  3. That we have burdensome processes
  4. That admissions people are not responsive
  5. We are poorly organized, and
  6. In some cases, they believe we’re being DISHONEST


Emotional Motivators” takes a deeper dive into this topic and asks students what advice, actions, experiences or information provided by colleges helped alleviate their stress.

Some of the most cited:

  • Personal contact with an admissions counselor who provides counsel throughout the process
  • Communications from current students via email, phone calls, text messages and personal visits
  • Responsive and consistent communications
  • Overnight visits to the college
  • Humor in communications
  • Treat each prospective student as you would expect and hope to be treated
  • Above all, show a sincere interest in the student

These may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many colleges fail to practice these proven behaviors that will serve a prospective student and parents well.  Every student has a unique combination of needs, preferences, perceptions and motivations. Identifying and dealing with all of them enables the college to have a deeper and stronger relationship with the prospective student. Uncovering them requires that the college focus on the student rather than the institution.

There are communication techniques your staff can learn that will help them feel confident about reaching out to prospective students to ask the right questions. This is one of the core techniques we teach in the Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we hold on college campuses throughout the country.

We’ll be sharing more insights from Emotional Motivatorsin upcoming blog posts but if you want to capture this powerful data about what students think and feel about your college, there is still time to join a prestigious list of co-sponsoring colleges and universities, large and small, and participate in this study. Co-sponsors find our studies valuable because of the wealth of new insight they gain about their individual pools of prospective students – insight they can use to drive action and change.

As a co-sponsor you receive a comprehensive set of tabulations relating to your pool of students, as well comparative data of others in your cohort and other market segments. You’ll also receive the national summary report before its widespread release.

In addition, Longmire and Company Enrollment Strategists will prepare and deliver a fully-customized webinar to review your individual findings and offer recommendations for specific actions you can take to improve your communications, conversations and interactions with prospective students. For these webinars co-sponsors often assemble staff from admissions, marketing, financial aid and faculty to benefit from the new perspectives, ideas and actions that these studies yield.

We have been told many times by colleges that the webinar alone is worth the small cost of getting on board!

You get a deeper level of insight on the pool of prospective students you were working for 2017 and get a clear understanding of how you were or weren’t tripping their trigger. You can click here for a video with all the details.

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

[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