- Shmuel Hoffman
The Sneak Peek
It's that time of year again - and I'm not referring to the holidays.
It's recruiting season!
*Scroll down for the films* vvv
Schools are putting their best feet forward to gather crowds at Open Houses and parlor meetings, show them what they're all about, and get students to apply, register, and enroll.
Most admissions officers will start planning for their Open House without a thought given to how to get as many people as possible to come. “We get enough people at the open house.” We hear this phrase over and over.
The main reason people think that way because they assume once people are interested, the majority will stay in your application funnel all the way through. There's also a tendency to rely on previous work, and assume that everyone has seen and loves what you have to offer, and knows about your school.
Truth & Assumption
Let's see how deep the numbers fall from attendance at the OH all the way to families actually registering their child. These are averages from our clients that we track meticulously:
We'll use 100 families for easy math:
100 show up at the OH
60-70 families apply
40-50 will be accepted by the school
Do you see what happens here? YOU NEED TO BRING IN MANY PEOPLE TO YOUR OH. Because you end up with about 15-35% registrants from the pool of attendance at the OH. Most schools don’t know that or don’t want to admit it.
These drops are industry-wide for funnel sales like schools.
Whether you sell in-person or online, an education, a course, a product or a service. These drops ranges are all very similar.
Your to-do lists does not only consist of email blasts and facebook posts, and then you'll call it a day.
Getting lists of 8th graders from feeder schools, delegating parent ambassadors…
There are so many balls to juggle and so many sources from which students can come.
It's a hefty amount to manage. The marketing arm of HOFFMAN PRODUCTIONS manages the client list and marketing for a few of our premier high school clients.
-creating email lists and WhatsApp broadcast lists
-getting the correct contact info
-creating the media content (videos)
-writing and sending the emails and WhatsApp posts
-making phone calls to each individual family (yes, we do that and write very specific copy for those calls)
-following up with texts
-follow-up phone calls post-Open House
It takes a meta-level of organization but also fine attention to the details of each family to keep it all on track.
We know that people need reminders and repeated nudging to show up at an event - and on multiple platforms too. How can you repeat the same message over and over - how can you mix up the media so that it stays interesting for the viewer?
Enter: The Open House invitation film.
Last month we showed you our invitation film for MDY.
This month we want to share with you a few new films we produced for Yeshiva Ohavei Torah in Riverdale. Here's the pre-Open House invitation film we produced to invite people from many communities to their Open House parlor meetings.
In this film, we address what 8th graders are looking for, and hint at the end to how Ohavei has all that and more. The goal is to intrigue viewers enough to come to the Open House.
The Niche Film
But we went even more niche-y and made an extra invitation film specifically for one key community that Ohavei wanted to target, in addition to the many other communities where their students come from:
In this film, we address specific questions that came up over and over again when we were recruiting last year, making phone calls and fielding replies. Our goal here was to squash any objections the viewer might have before it prevents them from coming to an Open House.
You need to know your audience. Not what YOU THINK you know anectodelly. What you think you know is based on your bias and assumptions. The real data is based on surveys and numbers (all done in advance, over the summer, ideally). And it’s not enough for you to ask just your parent body how they like your school. You need to know what they say when you leave the room and then they'll really get talking. (An anonymous survey will suffice.)
It's important to find out in advance what any objections might be, and to tackle them head on in your film, before they can say no to your Open House invitation. Because in a world of so many options, people always look for a reason to say “no, no, no."
The goal with a niche film is to cancel that objection, and highlight the many reasons to say “yesssss”. And to get the people into the door to the Open House.
Turn The Objection Into A Feature
We found out that parents' misperceptions about commuting was one of the main things they were saying no to, even without knowing the full story. So, we made this Passaic film and a Promo film where we address how easy and seamless Ohavei makes the commute for their boys: A Rebbie in the community picks up the boys from their house in the morning, and delivers them home in the evening. It's door-to-door service, and the commute is only 30-35 minutes. On top of that, it says something about the Yeshiva that they value a boy's time and make sure that not just anyone is their driver but that it's someone who has a good influence on the boys like one of their Rebbeim.
Also with this film, the Yeshiva arranged for us to interview key community members and rabbis to vouch for the school and give their testimonials. All this to reassure parents that they're getting quality, the commute is a breeze, and the education is in a league of its own.
The Open House attendance represents the total pool of people from which your applicant pool will come. So go big now, in advance. Don't wait till they're at your doorstep. You have to go out and reach people where they are, and get them to look at your school. Don't just assume they'll come to you. Invite them in a big way - with a film.
This is the long short way. Do more work in advance, so you'll be better off later down the recruitment pipeline.