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Halda Insights: Texting Vs. Direct Mail Vs. Email for Higher Ed Marketing, and the Graduate Student Journey in 2024

Halda Insights: Texting Vs. Direct Mail Vs. Email for Higher Ed Marketing, and the Graduate Student Journey in 2024
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What is Halda Insights?

Halda Insights is first and foremost a vehicle for our own findings about student behavior and communication (Halda’s own proprietary data insights are in bold).

Our tools interact with students from over 150 schools that span the educational spectrum, from Pre-K to PhD, public to private, small liberal arts to flagship state universities. Now we’re turning our connections into trailblazing research to engage students more effectively.

Our findings will make you better at your job, and help create the best experience for students–which is why we do what we do in the first place. And if you like what you learn, we invite you to share it!

Use Texting Strategically…and Direct Mail for Higher Ed is Not Dead!

75.6% of prospective grad students say email is either very effective or extremely effective

56.8% of prospective grad students say direct mail is either very effective or extremely effective.

35.1% of prospective grad students say text messaging is either very effective or extremely effective.

What this means: First, email remains the comms King and looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future (only 2% of respondents said it was not effective at all.) 

When you’re not in people’s inboxes, though, mailboxes are the next best option. There’s plenty of research to suggest a good ol’ fashioned letter still makes a positive impression–and we’ve found the same. What’s more surprising, though, is how low the text message fared in the arena of public opinion.

Students appreciate personal touch and effort more than the cold efficiency of a text–especially a pre-built mass text. That being said, texts are still a must because they’re the fastest way to end up in a space where you know you’ll be seen.

Just use them thoughtfully as personal outreach, while limiting those SMS blasts. Texts sprinkled here and there within a strategic cadence of direct mail and email feels a lot less desperate and lazy than an 11th-hour SMS about an emergency info session. After all, texting is a chat tool, so make sure it always feels like two-way communication.

Grad Students Are Researching Schools, But that Doesn’t Mean They’re Reaching Out

18 Months: Time before their intended semester start that the average student begins researching graduate schools.

6 Months: Time before their intended semester start that the average student applies to graduate schools.

42% of graduate students never contact admissions before applying.

What this means: Students are starting the research process earlier than ever–but they’re doing their own research. That means more interactions with your content and fewer interactions with your teams–33.8% of prospects actually see phone calls as ineffective. The question is, how do you create a responsive, personal connection with someone who isn’t looking for a conversation? 

First, this makes your website even more crucial to recruitment. Reach stubborn stealth visitors with a prospect-focused web experience. Easy-to-navigate paths to specific information, interactive elements, and fresh video content are necessary ways to keep unknown visitors engaged during that 12-month pre-application research period.

Second, when you do ask for their personal information, leave off the phone number. Prospects are more likely to give you their information, and you can nurture the relationship on their terms.

You May Not be Using Generative AI…But Your Future Students Are

-65% of generative AI users are either Gen Z or Millennials

-88% of Gen X and Baby Boomers are unclear of how generative AI will affect their lives

-People want generative AI to be (1) Safe and secure and (2) Incorporated into technology they already use.

The SuperUsers of AI are Millennials and Gen Z. These groups believe in the power of AI, look for opportunities to use it, and–most importantly–the majority of them trust the answers that AI helps them find. 

As generative AI becomes a part of young people’s day-to-day life, smart schools are making it part of their own student experience. Based on this Salesforce report, incorporating AI at key moments could help pique a student’s curiosity, drive engagement, and build brand affinity.

So Many AI Tools, So Little Time

-Learn how to tell the useful AI from the fluff

-Fundamentals to fall back on when you’re feeling overwhelmed by AI options

AI is everywhere… the news, your inboxes, almost every segment of technology. The problem is, with 7,000+ AI tools released in 2023, we’re all starting to feel oversaturated.

Fortunately, Halda brings a very human approach to the latest AI breakthroughs. We’ve researched, evaluated, and incorporated AI tech in our own tools. Dallin and Jon talk about our successes, our failures, and strategies for finding the useful AI in all the fluff.

We'll teach you how to choose the right AI

Running Late? Zoom’s New AI has You Covered

Zoom’s new AI helper is pretty awesome. Here are just a few key ways it’s revolutionizing the on-line meeting experience:

-Serves late arrivals with a summary of the action so far

-Helps attendees craft meaningful communication with the group

-Gives highlights and translations for those who may be lost or confused

-Auto-generates personalized next steps for people to take after the meeting

In a labyrinth of info sessions, advising sessions, and team meetings, enrollment pros can use these tools to keep everyone–especially their prospects–on the same page.

Thanks for checking in, and stay tuned for more data and AI insights! Next issue we’ll cover the power that personalized information has on enrollment decisions.

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