You have about 9 seconds to capture a prospective student’s attention. The last time I checked, that’s not a lot of time. As a matter of fact, a goldfish has a longer attention span. Yes, scientific studies have shown this. (On a side note, I’d like to know who actually funds a study like that.) Another amazing fact about goldfish is that they have been shown to actually remember things 6 months later. Imagine if a junior or senior in high school could remember your phone call, email, letter, postcard or view-book in 6 months. I’m neither suggesting that goldfish are smarter than your prospective students nor am I suggesting that the memories of students are short. While at times it may seem like that’s the case, your prospective students (and parents) are simply just overwhelmed - and distracted. If you’ve ever been through a college search, you know what I mean.
How can you effectively communicate with an audience that is (a) rather preoccupied (homework, sports, band, jobs, dances, etc), (b) on information overload, and (c) evaluating everything you do against your competition? You have to stand out – differentiate your school. Think about what grabs your attention. What do you respond to? Put yourself in their fishbowl, er, shoes. What do your prospective students respond to? It’s really not that much different – if you’re like 99.9% of the people out there, you respond to information that speaks directly to YOU, more relevant information. Statistical research proves that relevant communication across multiple channels creates a greater propensity to be remembered, to “break through the clutter”.
Is a young man or young woman going to come to your school because they get a clever email or a custom mailpiece? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you can attract the attention of enough (of your desired) prospective students in those 9 seconds, you will find yourself in a better spot. Keeping in mind that you only need the ones who are a fit for your bowl; I mean, school, you will be able to exceed your enrollment numbers. And that’s a fish "tail" worth telling.