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Recruiting adult students... email vs. social media

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Recruiting Adults: Email is More Important than Social Media

Sitting at Carol Aslanian's conference on adult student recruitment listing to Jennifer Copeland at Demand Engine report on initial results of a survey of 50,000 adults (drawn from files of 10 universities that volunteered to participate with about 10% response so far) on their preferences for finding or receiving information at three points in the recruitment cycle:

    • Researching schools before making an inquiry ("stealth" mode is increasing)
    • After making an inquiry
    • After sending an application

90% Start with Search, 90% Prefer Iniitial Email and Mail Follow-up

Key findings so far:

    • Before making an inquiry, 90 percent report using a search engine (Google, for the most part) to start their search. At this stage, phone use ranks quite low.
    • After making an inquiry, 90 percent prefer email and direct mail for ongoing contact. Social media (including FaceBook and Twitter) rank low. Phone is now acceptable is just under 50 percent.
    • Preferences don't change much after a person sends an application:  Email and regular mail remain clear preferences, while phone rises to just over 50 percent and social media remain relatively low.

The research is winding down soon. Detailed results will be available in one or two months.

The preliminary results are strong: email is alive and well as a tool for enrollment conversion, the telephone is important (as immediate follow-up for people after an inquiry and later throughout the cycle on a selective basis).

Social Media Impact Grows Near End of Recruitment Cycle

When does social media become important? Pretty deep into the recruitment cycle when people are close to a final decision and want to connect with other people who are also close to enrollment.

The clear lesson: if you don't have recruitment time for everything online, invest resources in your website (critical for first visits) and email follow-up. When you're sure that's well covered, branch out into what Jennifer is calling "bleeding edge" social media like FaceBook and Twitter.

That's all for now.

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