Every school needs to keep up to date with enrolment enquiries and the enrolments team will have different ways of doing this. I’ve seen it all, from an excel spreadsheets tightly kept in a back office somewhere, to a fully fledged CRM working it’s magic. Whatever method your school uses, it’s important to have an enquiries database.
Why is an enquiry database important?
In today’s competitive school environment, enrolments teams need to function as proactive sales teams that connect with families regularly and assist the decision-making process. An enquiry database enables you to reconnect with parents to give them College updates and invitations to open events and forward plan for year level availability. It’s crucial that follow up is timely after that first enquiry and because of this I highly recommend systemising our process and having digital enrolment forms.
A case for going digital
As a school marketer, you’ll quickly discover that it’s a challenge to keep accurate records of enquiries made. If you are collecting paper copies of enquiry forms from various sources such as the front reception and enrolments team, it’s nearly impossible to accurately ensure everyone has completed the enquiry and then have that data input into a usable database.
The benefits for going online are numerous including:
- No missing forms.
- Immediate data on how enquiries are going.
- Tracking of email opens and correspondence from the first enquiry onwards.
- Saved staff time, not having to type forms up.
- Saved printing costs.
You’ll quickly discover that the system you put in to place needs to be quick and simple if parents are going to fill it out and your team is going to be able to complete it while on the go. I recommend only requesting essential data for the first enquiry.
What data should I be requesting?
Schools are often tempted to collect as much detail as possible from families so that they feel comfortable in answering their enquiry. I often see enquiry forms that are a page long asking about academic history and medical details. This actually puts people off and you’ll have a lot of drop off at this point if that’s the case. The standard for most industries to have no more than two fields but I understand that this is not always possible. I’ve found a happy medium for schools and recommend asking for their full name, email, mobile number and year level/year of interest. This will provide you with base information which can always be padded out as the enquiry progresses.
OK, so are you onboard with going digital? You may have the will to get it setup but you’re asking ‘how’? Don’t worry, it’s relatively pain free to get started.
How can I set it up?
All you will need is email marketing software (I highly recommend , ActiveCampaign, see my training video here) with an easily setup custom form that will automatically add people to your enquiries list and email them a series of nurturing emails.
The key to success is having this form available to your whole team – some training time will need to be done to get the team on board. Your enquiry form should be accessible wherever an enquiry might occur including having a form:
- On your website enquiries landing page for parents to submit their own enquiry
- At reception, on the desktop so that the team can easily input enquiries into the form while they are on the phone with families.
- On a portable tablet for easy access at events or while the enrolments team is out and about.
Once your enquiry form is setup and the team is onboard, you’ll be freed to throw away the bits of paper for good and enjoy the harvest of an automated enquiry process.