Reaching Them, Personally and in Their Prime
When it comes to major turning points in a person's life, time often is of the essence. Marketers know this, and the creators of this package sent by Sandy, Utah-based Neumont University are no different (Archive code #596-705832-0602).
According to Julie Blake, senior vice president of enrollment at Neumont, timing means everything when luring potential college students to its destination campus, which is why one little feature of this package can have a huge impact on the school's enrollment level.
That little feature is a personalized URL.
"We've been using mailers with the URLs for about 18 months now," says Blake. "It is a way to give students a chance to easily and immediately request information while also getting an immediate response from a representative after clicking through our site."
Blake says that within minutes of a prospective student entering the site, a representative from Neumont will make contact. "If potential students receive our information and are compelled enough to go online, and they chose to log in ... we want to speak to them most at that moment."
The mailing includes a #10 window envelope with a teaser that reads, "We've designed a website just for you. Details inside." The University's return address also is on the envelope. Inside is a BRE and an 81/2" x 14" sheet, which includes a short letter containing the personalized Web address and password. Attached at the bottom is a reply slip through which the recipient can request more information; this piece also reiterates the URL of the personalized landing page. The letter also includes four-color photos of the school, a snowboarder and the Grand Canyon, as well as logos of major media outlets that have featured the school.
Blake says the photos and logos are additional elements of the package designed to impress students. However, she stresses that it is the URL that plays an interactive, vital role.
"One of the main goals of the mailing is to academically qualify potential students, but the goal of most online response mechanisms is timing. It [gives] students a way to immediately respond and request information," says Blake. "Historically, recipients would send back a reply card and have to wait up to ... 10 days for school information. They can forget about the excitement they initially felt in that waiting period. But using an online response mechanism allows us to speak to them within minutes of requesting information."
While it might seem very impressive to design a Web site for every recipientas if it involved a tremendous amount of workthe truth is, it's not that complicated.
To accomplish this task, Neumont employs basic software, allowing it simply to assign unique user names and passwords to each person mailed, according to Blake. "And when they log on to the response site it is already populated with address, phone and other information," says Blake. "So it is not a lofty task; it is just the trading of database information."
As for the success of the effort, which Neumont mails about every 10 days, Blake says that since recipients go to the personalized landing page and find that all of their information is pre-populated, a positive response is virtually guaranteed. "Most online response sites are too general and request for such information to be input, and that can turn someone away at just the moment when you need to reach them the most," asserts Blake. "Our tactic improves response and relationships with students."
It also should be mentioned that Neumont University is known for its Computer Sciences program, attracting computer-savvy students to its campus. What a perfect audience for this tech-nology-driven direct mail tactic.