How Colleges and Universities can use Text Message Marketing to Increase Enrollment

Reaching teens and college students through traditional advertising is much more difficult today. While they still watch TV and listen to the radio, more teens are getting their daily entertainment and information through mobile devices. In fact, teens have more than tripled their mobile data consumption in the past year. This opens up a great opportunity for colleges, universities, and technical schools to use mobile text message marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.

Mobile text marketing is a relatively new method of reaching potential students, but it has the advantage of being cost efficient and targeted. Text messages are received immediately and opened 97% of the time.

To benefit from a text message marketing campaign, a college or university should use it to not only reach out, but also follow up with potential students.

How colleges can reach out with mobile text marketing

Text message marketing is another tool in the arsenal-one that should be integrated into existing advertising, PR and marketing programs. Here are a few ways to reach out with text messages:

  • Text alerts to pre-college events like financial aid workshops, orientation and college tours.
  • Text admissions information, including deadlines, events or a website link.
  • “Text FIUMBA to 65047 for information on…” Tell prospects to sign up for text messages in print ads, brochures, catalogs and on websites.
  • Send short messages on other events the college is sponsoring that might be in their area.
  • Sponsor a contest and offer a chance to win a prize to those subscribe to the text marketing campaign.

Solid mobile text marketing strategies target potential college students with messages that will keep their interest. These messages, while short and to the point, are just an introduction to the next step. That step could be a link to a new webpage or a follow up phone call or text from the university.

Follow up with prospective students

One advantage of text marketing is instantaneous follow up. In return for getting a student’s private cell phone number, your college can text more information, send a web link or even follow up with a live phone call. Prospects can also be segmented into different lists and contacted for specific programs.

It’s all about the list

Building a targeted list is crucial. As with direct mail and email, sending a text blast to those who are never going to consider your college or university in the first place will be a waste of money.

Although one can buy a mailing list in direct mail, this is not the case in mobile. To collect mobile numbers, one must get them from the potential students themselves. Student can send a text message to sign up or subscribe through a form on the college’s website.

Promoting the program and how to sign up is key to building a sizeable list. Also, make sure you clearly explain how the number will be used and how one can unsubscribe.

Mobile text marketing needs to be seen in the context of your overall marketing approach and as a good follow-up method to reach potential students. With an effective mobile text marketing program and the right follow up, your higher learning institution can draw in potential new students that it might otherwise miss completely.

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