How to achieve higher yield rates, and other lessons learned through a full enrollment cycle
Why did a mid-sized four-year private institution have a 48% higher yield rate for students who texted them versus students who didn’t text? In this study, we’ll explore that question—and many others—as we share findings from a recent 12-month study of an institution that used texting as a significant part of their communication mix with students.
82% of confirmed students had texted with the school
When the partner school asked all of their admissions counselors to text with students using Cadence, the results were eye-opening. Of all the students who confirmed, more than 4 out of 5 (82%, to be exact) had texted with counselors. These “texters,” as we call them, yielded at nearly 30%, versus just over 20% for students who didn’t text—that is a nearly 50% higher yield. So clearly, there appears to be some sort of relationship between texting and yield.
61% of confirmed students had texted their counselor at least once
Here’s more evidence: more than 60% of the confirms had texted with the school at least once. In fact, nearly one-third of confirms had texted with the school at least three times. We want to remain somewhat cautious when looking at this data, because there isn’t as clear of a relationship between the number of texts and confirms. For example, the second-largest group of confirmed students were those who opted-in but did not send any texts. This is an area where we’ll be doing more studies, to learn more about how the number of texts students send relates to the yield rate.
Clients get a 50%-90% response rate from well-designed text campaigns
So, is it correlation or causation? If a student is going to opt-in and text with their admissions counselor, it’s fair to say that this student is more interested, in general, than a student who doesn’t text. So it’s not surprising to see a higher percentage of “texters” as confirmed students. But year after year—and with school after school—we’ve seen an abundance of evidence suggesting that texting also causes higher yield rates. Texting is a highly personal medium that builds trust and stronger relationships between counselors and students, giving counselors the opportunity to engage with students. These conversations can happen whenever students have questions about financial aid, academic programs or deadlines. Studies have shown that the vast majority of students want colleges to text them, which is just one reason why our clients get a 50%-90% response rate from well-designed text campaigns.
With texting, admissions counselors can find out who is interested and who isn't in a matter of minutes
With students submitting FAFSAs earlier, the need to better - and more immediate communication - is vital. Decisions about acceptance—and financial aid—being made in November and December instead of February and March, schools now have more time to build/maintain relationships with students and families. With texting, Admissions counselors can find out who is interested and who isn't in a matter of minutes. Determining who is (and who is not) interested is vital. It not only allows you to stop spending time on the wrong apps or accepts – it also allows you to reallocate aid on the fly. (Read our full post about the FAFSA rules regarding prior-prior year income data (PPY) to learn more.)
Students want to text with a person—not an institution or an auto-response generator
To students, texting is as personal as it gets. It is very important to ensure text communication reflects the full brand experience. Students want to text with a person—not an institution or an auto-response generator. In our study, we found that counselors who personalize their texts, end texts with a question (along with other best practices) typically have the highest yield rates (approaching 50% in some cases). Texts should reflect a school’s brand experience—with the realization, of course, that texting is a much more personal medium than a website or viewbook.
What comes next
This study is just the beginning. As we continue to gather and analyze data from the millions of texts our partner schools have sent and received, we will continue to share our findings and insights with you. To stay informed, follow us on Twitter (@MongooseHEd). If you’re interested in learning more about personalized texting for students, you can request a product demo.