Picture the scene… Lauren is 17. She’s studying for her A-Levels, learning to drive, and spends every spare moment on her phone chatting to her friends from college, liking their Insta posts, creating and sharing her own content. When her phone pings she pounces to see what’s new.
Lauren’s parents keep nagging her to register for university open days, stressing how important it is to experience different places and types of courses. They keep sending her emails and websites encouraging her to register for open events. She knows she needs to do it but Lauren finds the whole process really tedious. She doesn’t want to sit at a desk and spend her valuable time filling in an online form. She wants to register her way, when it suits her, and to do it quickly and easily.
Lauren is used to using Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the three most downloaded and used social platforms in the world. She loves the bite-sized conversations and instant gratification they provide. She loves to be in charge!
This is why instant messaging is the ideal platform to engage with Lauren’s age group, and the perfect marketing choice for the education sector.
Instant chat versus email, which is more effective?
The average person receives more than 120 emails every single day. That’s a lot of messages! How many of these do you actually read and respond to? How many automatically drop into your spam or junk folders?
Email overload is why instant chat marketing has such high success rates amongst schools, colleges, universities and other educational organisations. As specialists in digital marketing for education , we’ve had some brilliant results using instant messaging with WhatsApp. In our experience it’s a powerful yet underused tool for student recruitment and attraction, and in particular managing open day events.
What is instant chat marketing?
Instant chat or chatbot marketing is a series of automated messages created to engage with your target audience. It’s widely used for marketing on WhatsApp and the technology can be seamlessly integrated with Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
Using instant chat can help you stay ahead of the competition, especially if your competition is only using email marketing. Instant chat is 80 times more effective than email, in fact it has an open rate of 70-80%* in the first hour alone compared with up to 15% on email. Why wouldn’t you choose it for your school or college marketing?
How does instant chat help schools and colleges engage with students?
Amongst the 15-35 age group instant chat is by far the most popular way to communicate. It engages both students and parents, getting the message across directly and succinctly. Time is precious, attention spans are shorter and there are more distractions, which is why most people take much more notice of push notifications than emails!
By creating intelligent message flows, instant messaging with WhatsApp can maximise reach, increase open day attendance and boost student application numbers. Messaging can be branded and flexed to achieve a variety of objectives. Best of all, the functionality is endless. Automated message chats can be created to:
- Register and confirm attendance for events
- Send event reminders as well as prompts for application deadlines, helpful tips, event information
- Encourage newsletter sign ups
- Share special offers, feedback surveys, quiz questions and competitions
- Generate leads and enquiries
- Easily signpost and link to web pages and helpful information
- Share real-life stories about college/school/university life
- Embed videos, gifs and animations
- Release QR codes
- Provide automated responses to frequently asked questions
- Include personalisation
Why is chatbot marketing so successful at engaging young people?
If you’ve ever used instant messaging you’ll know what a fantastic, efficient user experience it can be. Automated messaging with WhatsApp is a brilliant way to drip feed information to prospective students because the individual controls when and how they interact and engage.
The conversation starts with a simple link or QR code, which can appear anywhere you choose – your website, social feeds, email and print materials. Once the individual has engaged and opted to receive information, the whole process is slick and smooth. Lauren can register for an open day at the touch of a button, then choose to receive further help and information if, and when, she wants it.
What’s more, she already trusts the technology. Lauren doesn’t need any convincing to use WhatsApp like she does with email. It’s already there, actively pinging in the palm of her hand. Your organisation’s marketing messages are literally landing in the hands of a prospective learner.
Discover the potential of instant messaging
If you’d like to learn more about how automated chatbot marketing can help maximise open day attendance and applications, please contact us to arrange a conversation or book a free discovery call . We know what works and all the platforms we’ve mentioned in this post are secure and fully GDPR compliant. Now is a great time to explore the possibilities of instant messaging with WhatsApp for your school, college or university.
*Source: Search Engine Journal