Here at Mason Interactive, we have helped dozens of educational institutions meet their enrollment goals with edu-focused digital marketing strategies. We are committed to stay on top of the industry trends so our clients can benefit from the latest innovations. Over the past couple of years, instant messaging apps have been the hottest communication channel between schools and students.

On Tuesday, February 5th, we hosted a webinar in partnership with Facebook exploring how higher education marketing professionals can utilize Facebook Messenger. We discussed the latest industry trends and best ways to implement Messenger, as well as the opportunities the channel creates for generating, engaging, and nurturing leads.

Think beyond traditional tactics

Fast-paced, digitized world with instant access to information has made consumers more demanding. Intimate, highly personalized customer experience is now a norm across industries. Following the trend, chatbots and instant messaging apps are taking over emails and calls as a preferred communication channel. Did you know that 64% of consumers would choose messaging over picking up the phone?

Education is no exception, and, as you probably know already, getting in touch with students is harder than ever. According to recent research, 61% of students enroll in the school that responds to their enquiry first. The big question for schools is how to capture attention first and respond appropriately through a channel that is native for the student?

Reach prospective students where they are

Facebook Messenger has grown 10X in the last 3 years, and with 1.3B monthly active users, it is the second biggest messaging platform in the world, right after iMessage.

Consumers who already spend time in Messenger on a daily basis find it a natural way to communicate not only with their friends, but also with businesses. In fact, 65% of consumers feel more confident messaging than filling out a website form. Communicating with prospects through a channel that they are accustomed to means the conversation stays on top of their minds – and converts.

“70% of students thinking about returning to school said they would use Messenger to contact a school if they had questions while applying”

Lead generation made easy in Facebook Ads Manager

Despite its great results within the retail space, very few schools have yet utilized Messenger’s potential in higher education marketing. This provides a great opportunity for an innovative higher education marketeer to become an early adopter, and differentiate their institution from competition.

Facebook Messenger offers a 360° approach to lead generation throughout the entire customer journey, from building brand awareness and prospecting through to following up with prospects and retargeting.

Getting started with lead generation in Messenger is quick and easy. First, identify which portion of your funnel has additional friction or low contact rates. Then take your current lead flow to Messenger to utilize products that are currently available in the Ads Manager.

Start by creating Facebook ads to attract new, better quality leads and drive them to your institution’s Messenger. After initial chat with the bot, set up automated reminders and follow-ups in Ads Manager to create an ongoing conversation with the potential student and increase engagement. Continue nurturing the leads using Sponsored Messaging for important messages, such as reminders about enrollment deadlines.

University of the People successfully increased student enrollments with a Messenger campaign using Facebook video ads that clicked to Messenger. 51% of the people who had a conversation with their Messenger bot started an application, out of which 20% ended up completing an application.

If you’re looking to create a more personalized flow that Ads Manager offers, you can build an advanced bot for an interactive, immersive experience. This requires advanced engineering skills, and we highly recommend using a Facebook Partner Developer to help you build the bot that best serves your needs.

Are you ready to get started with chatbot marketing? Or are you already using Facebook Messenger as a part of your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience with using chatbots in higher education marketing. As a Facebook Marketing partner, we are knowledgeable in all areas of Facebook and always ready to help you!

Adrian Padron

Author Adrian Padron

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