Choosing a college or university is a big decision – quite often the biggest one your prospective students have ever faced. They want to make sure yours is the best possible fit for their educational goals and ideal campus experience. They have questions that require detailed, personalized answers before they commit. Conversational marketing, a dialogue-driven marketing approach, can help you answer those questions and increase your prospects’ likelihood of choosing your institution.
With conversational marketing, prospective students can obtain fast and personalized responses to their questions about admissions, student services, research and internship opportunities, and campus life. Your conversational marketing strategy may employ messaging apps, live chat features, and/or chatbots to offer these answers.
What Are The Benefits Of Conversational Marketing For Higher Ed?
To ensure that you are effectively personalizing communication with your prospects and answering the right questions to guide them toward your college or university, you need to understand their needs, their interests, and their concerns. Conversational marketing through live chats, messaging apps, or chatbots can not only help address prospects’ immediate needs, but also illuminate challenges that similar prospects may be facing or questions you may need to more clearly answer through your other marketing channels. Each conversation is an opportunity to collect essential data about the individual student and others with similar profiles. This data can help you craft a more effective overall marketing strategy.
A conversational marketing approach supports your overall marketing strategy by enhancing trust among your prospects. Taking this approach allows you to meet and even anticipate their needs, which improves their experience. The messages and resources they receive from you will be relevant and meaningful instead of obviously produced for a wider audience. And conversational marketing encourages more frequent interactions and promotes the idea that you are there when they need you. This is a significant differentiator when someone is choosing where to spend the next several years of their life.
How To Integrate Conversational Marketing Into Your School’s Strategy
You are ready to connect with your prospects through conversational marketing, engaging more frequently and relevantly to learn more about them and allow them to learn more about your school. But how do you get started?
Consider the one-on-one communication channels you have already established. If you’re sending direct emails to prospects, ask if they are willing to provide a phone number where they can receive texts from a current student or potential advisor or coach, depending on their needs and interests. Give them the option of connecting with your school on Facebook, Instagram, and/or TikTok, where you may get a better idea of their interests and direct them toward tailored content.
Examine your website data to determine what sections your prospects are visiting, how long they’re spending there, and what happens next – if they explore additional links, enter their email address, or request more information. This can help you determine what your students are looking for, how often they find what they need, and where they’re hitting dead ends. Once you’ve identified these high-interest or potentially frustrating pages, consider embedding a chatbot that can offer site visitors immediate answers or link them with real people at your school who can continue the conversation.
Adding an automated virtual assistant to your website, which can interpret your prospects’ text or speech queries and use artificial intelligence to guide them toward the resources they need, may also be advantageous. That’s because while they are helping facilitate direct interaction with your site visitor, they are also gathering data for you about users’ behaviors and preferences, which can add value to your broader marketing campaigns.
Finally, spark a social strategy by encouraging conversation through the Facebook ads you’re already creating. Adding a call to action that encourages your prospect to ask questions or offer comments through Messenger opens a natural channel of communication.
However you decide to get started, you can continue to evolve your conversational marketing strategy over time based on the direct feedback and results you receive.
Get the conversation started with the right tools and strategy. LIGHTSTREAM can help you connect with your prospects in a whole new way. Contact us today.