Following Up with Families: 12 Tips to Drive Enrollment

Written by Kayla Smith

June 21, 2021

As a school leader, chances are you have felt the defeat of an unanswered email, unreturned phone call, or disregarded text when trying to connect with prospective families. Enrollments are vital because they play a significant factor in increasing the resources your school provides to students. Following up with families is a crucial step to turn prospects into enrollments. Here we’ve put together 12 tips to drive enrollment when following up with parents via phone, email, or text.

When Calling Parents

#1: Call at the Best Time 

Everyone has experienced getting a phone call at an inconvenient time. It’s likely you don’t answer these calls. For that reason, it is imperative to follow up with parents at the optimal time. The ideal time to call is at the beginning of the end of their workday on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Answering the phone on Mondays and Fridays is unlikely, and it’s best not to interrupt their lunch hour or personal time.

#2: Speak Their Primary Language

The United States is a wonderfully diverse country, meaning English may not be the primary language of many of your prospective families. For many schools, Spanish is the primary language spoken in households. When serving these markets, make sure you have someone on your staff who can connect with Spanish-speaking families. Even when parents also speak English, connecting in their first language builds trust and is proven to significantly increase engagement and enrollments.

#3: Use the Correct Tone 

Using the correct tone when following up with a parent is crucial to building trust and keeping them on the line. Speaking with authority, friendliness, and intrigue is key to making that connection. Keep in mind that the first 5 seconds of the phone call will likely determine if you get 5 minutes of their time. Ensure you start strong by using a friendly voice and establish your authority to build trust.

#4: Close with Urgency and a Call to Action

Finally, make sure you create a sense of urgency and have a clear call to action. The objective of a follow-up phone call is to initiate the next steps for the parents so you can accelerate the enrollment process. Keeping your tone in mind and without coming off as pushy, make sure the parents have an incentive to complete action items.

When Emailing Parents

#5: Ensure Your Objective is Clear

Just like when calling parents, ensure there is a clear objective to every email you send. Most people will not take action unless prompted, so make your intent clear to parents to increase the likelihood of a response or action to be taken.

#6: Remind Them of the Connection

When following up with a parent via email, always provide them with where you got their info or remind them of the last interaction you had. If you make the parent feel special, you offer reassurance that your school will treat their child with the same intentionality. Additionally, when parents are looking at multiple schools, it helps differentiate your school from the others and eliminates confusion.

#7: Have a Catchy Subject Line

Parents are constantly bombarded with emails, and many are likely left unopened. To ensure your email gets opened and action is taken, balance information with intrigue. Successful subject lines are instructional, to the point, leverage existing information, play to curiosity, or informative. You can always use an online subject line tester as a tool to craft your message.

#8: Demonstrate Professionalism

Always use an official school email when following up with parents. Along with that, make sure to set an automatic signature that includes additional contact information and your role at the school to help establish authority. Every step you take to demonstrate professionalism indicates a respectable reflection of your school.

When Texting Parents

#9: Keep it Short and Simple

Save the extended communication for emails and only employ texting for short and simple messages. If you are utilizing SMS software to send texts it is standard to limit messages to 160 characters. This limit requires you to be mindful of your space and get right to the point. Some effective ways to utilize this method of communication are appointment reminders, tour follow-ups, re-enrollments, or reaching out with urgency.

#10: Include Links

Due to the limited space, links are an effective way to include more information without extending your message. Parents can be redirected to an application right from their phone, making the enrollment process more seamless. Making the connection and enrollment process simple is key to satisfying parents.

#11: Remeber your Audience

Follow-up via text should be the third form of communication with parents, only after calling and emailing. Texting ensures parents will see your message, but it can become intrusive if done at the wrong time or with the wrong audience. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the parents you are reaching to determine if text communication is the most effective form of follow-up.

#12: Stop means Stop

When utilizing texting as a means of communication with parents, you must have expressed or implied consent before sending messages. Additionally, as a part of TCPA and CAN-SPAM regulations, parents must have an “opt-out” option. The message “Text STOP to opt-out” must be included in your initial message. Then, if a contact texts “STOP,” you must no longer have any communication with this parent via text message.

Turning Prospects Into Enrollments

In addition to utilizing all these best practices, your follow-up process needs to be clear and systematic. Roles should be delegated to avoid confusion and improve efficiency. Nurturing and following up with families is a full-time job, so schools must be prepared to dedicate the time required to boost results. However, Schola is here to help. Schola helps schools attract student leads, increase engagement, streamline and enhance your recruitment process, and ace those enrollment goals. Schola offers several tools to help simplify and enhance your follow-up. By claiming your free school profile, you can start connecting with prospective families today and gain access to several marketing tools to optimize your processes. Don’t let prospective students slip through the cracks! Utilize these best practices to strengthen your follow-up processes and drive enrollment to your school.

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