A few decades ago, the concept of developing a brand identity for a college or university was largely a foreign notion, but now it’s essential the school’s specific strengths to help it stand out in an increasingly competitive market. The U.S. is home to more than 4,000 accredited institutions of higher learning, ranging from two-year vocational schools to small colleges to huge state and private universities. All who share the same marketing goals: attracting high-quality students, recruiting great faculty and staff, encouraging alumni to make donations to support school programs, and building up the school’s brand recognition and reputation.
Even a relatively small college handles a significant volume of calls each day, and a vast majority of those incoming callers will experience on-hold wait time. Since effective communication is one of the most important jobs admissions offices are tasked with, it should come as no surprise that even some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country have embraced on hold message marketing as a great audience connector with prospective students, prospective parents and alumni.
When callers are holding at your institute of higher education, what do they hear? Dead silence? Boring Music? Or, are you taking advantage of this time by providing tactical marketing and brand building messages to your waiting callers on hold? For any college or university, there’s an endless amount of information you can present in your message on hold programming.
For example, if you call University Relations at the University Of Florida, and are placed on hold, then you hear messages presenting interesting facts about UF, such as prominent rankings, famous alumni, history, community activities, events and a variety of other things Gators are proud of. And, another example; The University of Southern Mississippi’s telephone on-hold message serves as a communication tool directed to the campus community and to the general public within the framework of the university’s mission of education, research and public service.
On hold message marketing can communicate important information about your college or university such as:
1. Campus location(s)
2. Admissions department hours
3. Admission application information
4. Student body size
5. Special awards and recognitions
6. Information about visiting campus & campus open houses
7. New construction/renovation of campus buildings
8. Athletic program highlights
9. Your Website address and helpful website resources
10. Social media such Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, etc.
Although branding has traditionally been associated with the private sector, more and more higher education institutions are recognizing its value and adopting it. The challenge for higher education marketers much like their applicants is how to effectively showcase and prove their value to decision makers.
Those with the strongest brands will undoubtedly rise to the forefront and continue to own the decision. A message on hold solution can be implemented campus-wide or across campuses to turn on-hold time into an opportunity to strengthen their brands, set your school apart and deliver your brand seamlessly across a critical customer touch point.