Brian Ruhlmann

When Brian is working to help schools better engage with current and prospective students, he is evangelizing Boston sports teams or working on his Craft Hot Sauce website.
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Recent Posts

Five innovative college acceptance notifications

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on January 17, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the college admissions! Many colleges are sending their acceptances to students across the globe. The tried and true “fat admit packet” is still a mainstay among many colleges. Mail bins are packed, admissions teams are driving acceptance letters to their local post offices, and some are even hand-delivering letters to students at their schools or homes.

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Topics: messaging, texting, social media, video

Five steps to evaluate a text messaging platform in higher education

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on December 17, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, it's hard to argue against the emergence of text messaging in higher education. Students are welcoming messages, yet at the beginning of 2016 less than half of schools are using text messaging campaigns to assist in recruitment and enrollment. With this opportunity gap, many colleges are evaluating text messaging vendors.

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Topics: messaging, texting

How to 10X your university call center efficiency using knowledge base software

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on November 18, 2016

Amid higher education’s increasingly competitive environment, institutions are looking for ways to develop deeper relationships with prospective, current, and former students. One of the best ways to do this is to have an open conversation. You can learn about your students, answer their questions, and hopefully delight them -- all of which adds up to earning trust and establishing a connection to your institution.

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Topics: colleges, chatbots, texting, artificial intelligence, call center

16 statistics on why schools should be texting/messaging students

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on October 29, 2016
I attended NACAC's annual conference in Columbus, Ohio last month to learn about strategies to help schools and professionals serve students as they are making choices around pursuing a postsecondary education. One of the hottest topics at the conference was texting students. The new PPY FAFSA and social media strategies were also at the forefront of discussion.
Research shows that texting students has a higher engagement rate than email and phone calls, and can improve matricualtion and retention rates, but the majority of colleges have yet to engage with students over SMS. 
Numbers don't lie, as my basketball coach would reply when I asked why I was riding the bench, so here are some numbers and statistics around texting and mobile messaging that are hard to ignore when thinking about texting or  messaging students throughout the student lifecycle.
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Topics: College Admissions, messaging, texting, student success, facebook messenger, recruitment, enrollment

Click-to-message: How schools can start conversations from Google AdWords

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on October 28, 2016
Today, educational institutions are presented with endless solutions to solve the challenge of meeting students where they are. So how do you choose what's most effective? This blog post focuses on an opportunity to connect with students with online advertising via an interesting Google AdWords update.
In the  "2016 E-Recruiting Practices Report", Ruffalo Noel Levitz points out a recruitment opportunity gap in the online paid advertising space. The report shares that most colleges are only beginning to use online advertising. They also share that just over 50 percent of colleges are using social media paid advertising, and less than half of colleges are using online search advertising like Google AdWords. Ruffalo NL also points out that 47 percent of high school juniors and 39 percent of high school seniors have clicked on a paid ad when searching for colleges. 
That, in itself, is an area of opportunity, but first, what's the point of paid advertising? Generally, it is to select an ideal target group of prospects, encourage them to click on a link to your website, and then connect with the prospective students (or perhaps family members) to answer their questions and hopefully convince them to apply and eventually enroll at your institution. Interestingly, Google just released an AdWords update that eliminates the need for prospects to convert on a webform, and instead starts a messaging conversation immediately. This new feature is called " click-to-message."
Google, along with lots of other tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, are betting big on messaging. They want to provide a better customer service experience to users by giving them the option to message with companies and schools directly from their ads.  This shift is happening because people generally despise the long hold times they've endured waiting to talk to people on the phone. Studies show that most people prefer messaging and texting to every other method of communication
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Topics: messaging, facebook messenger, recruitment