The Contact Us Page:
You'll find it at the footer of every college and university website. The contact us page. The reasons for having a shared email folder (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) are clear: everyone contributes and it's "out of the office" proof. The email arrives and someone from the team checks it off. Done.
This article doesn't focus on shared email accounts or advocate for streamlined communication, this article is about turning website visitors into prospective student inquiries, increasing the communication database for alumni and identifying inquiries with a high likelihood of applying and enrolling to your university.
Admission counselors stand behind tables at college fairs across the country hoping to scan as many barcodes as possible.
Meanwhile, email@example.com is filling up with inquiries from genuinely interested students. If the goal is to find genuinely interested prospective students, those emailing detailed questions to firstname.lastname@example.org is a good place to look. Even when prospective students are first-time visitors to your page, think about how to personalize your website content based on location.
Action Step One:
This is not replacing your current inquiry form, it's simply adding a step higher in the awareness funnel to gather information. This represents a prospective student stepping into the shallow end. Start small. Using your admission's "contact us" page, replace the step where students have to email your office with a simple form. Include name, email, phone, and a dropdown. Below is an example of a clean contact us form for admissions. Note: it's not an inquiry form.
After checking twenty college websites, 10% had some sort of form builder like the one above allowing the colleges to continue the conversation and collect info at the "contact us" stage.
Some of the schools we took a look at included:
University of Idaho: Traditional Email
University of Texas at Dallas: Traditional
University of Illinois Springfield: Email plus video.
University of Alaska-Fairbanks: High barrier to entry contact form.
Babson University: Traditional Email
Syracuse University: traditional
Wheaton College: Traditional
Seamless CRM Integration:
Whether you’re using a CRM like Hobsons, SalesForce or Slate or any of the ones trying to set up a demo with you in the last two weeks, you likely have a bulk import feature. Note: see our article on building prospective student audiences from your CRM.
Send all inquiries from the form above (users selecting "prospective student") to a shared Excel file and upload once a week, or better yet, setup automation from the form to your CRM like a prospective student I.V. Send parent submissions to your parent communication plan. Segment email campaigns by geographic location for targeted messages.
Want to make this happen on your campus? Here's a quick template to send toward your web team:
Hi [replace with name of your favorite web manager … the one you bought coffee for last year after you broke Google Analytics], I’m working on an idea and was hoping you could help bring it to life.
We need help taking our current shared email address and converting it to a simple form submission. The goal would be to capture these leads and communicate with them through our drip campaign.
Our process now delivers emails to a shared folder, but we do not record the email or the student in our prospective student funnel and communication plan. The form submissions could still be delivered to our shared email inbox, our team is just looking for an easy way to have those leads delivered to us. I have a couple ideas on the type of questions we want to ask before submission. Thank you for taking the time. Talk soon.
The responses can still be hyper personalized by your admission’s team. One to one communication is very much alive. The difference now is the lead is collected and they'll be getting information about the open house next week. They'll get the YouTube tutorials presented by your financial aid office, and they can get a phone call from your office asking how the college search is going.