Mobile marketing… notes from conference workshops at ACT, eduWeb

My mobile marketing workshops at the ACT Enrollment Planners Conference last week and eduWeb2010 on Monday attracted some great people, ready to share questions and experiences with everyone attending. Before leaving for Carol Aslanian’s graduate marketing seminar in NYC tomorrow, time for some quick notes on mobile marketing and higher education.

First, a special thinks to Suzanne Petrusch and her team at St. Mary’s University and Dave Marshall at Mongoose Research for assembling recruitment cycle conversion data that was of special interest to people at the workshops. Here’s my summary of the St. Mary’s experience using text messaging as part of the communications mix with potential new students since last November:

  • Relatively few inquiries (about 4 percent) opted in for text messaging at or near the start of the recruitment cycle. That confirms findings in the 2010 E-Expectations research that college-bound high school students are wary of receiving text messages for student recruitment.
  • But, and this is a very major “but”: almost everyone (about 80 percent) who did opt-in early for text contacts continued along and applied for admission.
  • Almost 50 percent of the people sending enrollment deposits by the end of June were people who had signed to receive text contacts.

Texting Offer Identifies Best Prospects Early

The learning here: offering the texting option was a great way to identify early in the recruitment cycle the people who were already very interested in St. Mary’s and were willing to commit to a “text relationship” from the start. While this was destined to be a higher-than-normal yield group, identifying the most likely future students as easly as possible so they are not lost among (in this case) 35,000 total inquiries is an important role for mobile marketing to play.

Experience Your Site from a Smartphone

One item from the E-Expectations survey seemed a major surprise to many people: more than 20 percent of college-bound high school seniors have used a smartphone to access a higher education website. Why such a surprise? After all, somebody has been buying all those iPhones and Androids over the last 12 months.

  • The real question should be this: how many people will not return after the experience they had on that first visit? Be sure to check your web analytics to see (1) how many new visitors are arriving at your site from a mobile device and (2) how the bounce rate for those people compares to the bounce rate for people arriving from a regular computer.

More next week on mobile apps vs. mobile websites, but there is a bottom line here: you will need a mobile-friendly website in the not distant future.

Mobile Marketing Presentation on SlideShare

The eduWeb version of the workshop, “Mobile in the Marketing Mix: Crafting a New Communications Strategy,” is online now at SlideShare.

Look for more “notes on mobile” next week. More then about the frequency of the texting and other items that people brought up at the workshops.

That’s all for now 


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