If you are reading this post, it’s a pretty safe bet you have at least some degree of internet savvy. In our plugged-in, online, web-based, 21st century society, I’m willing to go out on a limb and bet the cyber world gains a bit more of your attention with each passing year. As the internet continues to dominate new areas of our lives, you may have wondered about the role social media and student recruitment can have on your business.
Whether you’re a Facebook ninja or you prefer to stick to the relatively archaic email staple, you’re doubtlessly aware of the explosive growth of social media in recent years. These days, it seems the whole world is using Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and every other program that lets the masses post messages for anyone and everyone. Besides connecting the globe in real time, these programs are priceless tools for finding and tracking viable flight training candidates. By combining social media with student recruitment, you can generate qualified leads much cheaper and more efficiently than through the recruiting methods of yesteryear.
If you’ve previously sent out mailers in hopes of churning up business, you know to expect minuscule returns for your efforts. Do a web search and you’ll see many figures claiming direct mail averages a lower return than social media techniques.
Besides these dismal expectations, you also have the expense of printing and mailing all those flyers and postcards. Additionally, once you send out direct mailings, it’s anyone’s guess as to how effective they are with any given recipient. Since direct mail is often referred to as junk mail, a huge percentage of your mass mailing efforts probably go straight to the circular file.
Calling potential students allows you to better gauge each person’s interest, though the process can be time consuming and still may not generate the results you’re after. In our era of the National Do Not Call Registry and with the word telemarketer as despised as any, placing unexpected calls could leave the opposite impression of what you intend. In addition, instructors or low-level employees are often the ones tasked with making such calls. Many receive little or no training on sales calls and hate placing them. As a result, it’s not surprising that they often fail to upsell most prospects.
Now consider the possibilities of social media and student recruitment. What happens whenever you post a Tweet, blog, e-newsletter, YouTube video, or any other form of online communication? You probably net a few likes, comments, followers, or requests for information. The advantage here is that it becomes much easier to track your viewers, allowing you to better gauge who might be worth pursuing. If you’re receiving a number of hits from any particular person, this individual is expressing at least some interest in the products and services you’re offering. Such followers cease to be mere cold calls, and instead become warm (possibly hot) prospects. With a verifiable level of interest, your likelihood of converting such followers to clients is much more favorable than through traditional recruitment methods.
For the budget-conscious, how much does it cost you to send out an e-newsletter, Tweet, mailing-list message, or any other form of electronic correspondence? That’s right; printing and mailing costs are non-existent for social media. Regardless of how many recipients actually read the content, your cost per person is nothing except your time. On top of that, you’re not restricted by geographical or supply limitations, but can instead reach an unlimited number of people regardless of where they may be.
One of my favorite aspects of blending social media and student recruitment is the non-invasive nature with which I’m able to reach out to prospects. I don’t have to worry about interrupting anyone’s dinner, getting the phone slammed on me, or putting someone in an uncomfortable position. Every recipient can choose when and if to read my message, and whether or not to act on my offer(s). It also saves me loads of time, knowing that with the click of a button I’ve reached the same number of people it would otherwise take me hours to contact by phone.
If you aren’t already doing so, consider the advantages that combining social media and student recruitment can bring to your business: non-existent marketing costs, easily track qualified leads, reach numerous people with a single click, and increase your customer conversion rate. Few other changes to your operating practices could potentially bring new customers to your door while also increasing the efficiency by which you reach them.