By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
You’ve probably heard this but it bears repeating. The human attention span is at its lowest ever…lower than a goldfish according to some studies.
Depending on which study you read, our attention span is between six and nine seconds long. Because of that it’s become extremely challenging to get a prospective student (or their parents) to read anything you send them or give them from start to finish.
So, if you want to increase your odds, shorter recruiting messages are better. With this generation, being direct and to the point gets it remembered.
In the ongoing focus group surveys that Dan (Tudor) and I conduct, the majority of students continue to tell us that most recruiting messages are too long, lack any personalization, are confusing to read, and have lots of information that doesn’t interest them.
Here are six quick pieces of advice to help you make your messaging shorter, and more effective:
- Try and limit the time you spend writing your recruiting emails, letters, postcards, and text messages. The longer it takes and the more times you re-read and edit it, the more likely you are to make it too wordy, too polished, and include a bunch of extra information that’s going to get in the way of what you’re trying to get across to them.
- Don’t include a lot of fluff at the beginning or the end. Use a sentence or two as an intro and then dive into the core of your message. Explaining the why behind your message is also helpful. At the end, have one clear call to action (ex. reply back with an answer to the question you asked) and then end it.
- In your next message, pick up (and reference) where you left off in the previous communication with that student or parent.
- Make your content more engaging. Students want more authenticity and you give them that when you use a conversational tone. If it sounds like a real person actually wrote what you’re sending them, they’re more likely to respond.
- Stick with one main point or topic. You don’t need to tell them everything at once.
- Visually, include lots of white space with short paragraphs. We like to read things that are easy on our eyes. Structure and the look of your message matter to this generation.
Remember, less is more and all the extra details in most cases aren’t that critical.
Your goal at the beginning should be to get their attention. Once you have it, the goal in every subsequent communication should be to keep the conversation going.