Creating effective CRM communications for college
The client: Gloucestershire College, Cheltenham/Gloucester
Based in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire College is a leading local provider of further and higher education. The college provides a wide range of courses, from GCSEs and A Levels to foundation degrees and diplomas.
Gloucestershire College was implementing a major new CRM system to unify and bring structure to the way it communicates with students. They wanted a suite of clear, hardworking CRM communications that would form part of the new system.
The college had been using a range of letters and emails written by different people within the organisation. Some of the letters were wordy and confusing, and there was no consistent tone of voice to enhance and build on the Gloucestershire College brand.
Using a handful of existing letters and emails – and with a good understanding of the client’s need for clear, compelling and consistent communication suitable for a student audience – I wrote a total of over 60 letters, emails and SMS messages.
I also suggested simplifying the materials required where there was duplication, and creating new ones when I identified gaps in the communication process.
The new materials benefit from an approachable yet professional tone of voice, a coherent message, and a clear call to action.
In the client’s words…
“We worked with Sarah to fully review our complex application and enrolment communications. Sarah took the time to research and understand the process, enabling her to write clear communications with multiple audiences firmly in mind. We are delighted with the results – thank you.”
Michelle Cant, Head Of Communications, Gloucestershire College
Why failing to proofread is losing you business
Whether you like it or not, mistakes in your marketing cost you customers and sales. Online errors can affect your search rankings, and sloppy spelling drives potential customers to question your credibility, and buy from your competitors, instead.
We’ve all seen examples of pitiful proofreading that make us cringe. How do you make sure your business isn’t next in line for the hall of shame?
We’re all under pressure – our inboxes are full of unanswered messages, our ‘to do’ lists get longer when they should be getting shorter, and there are never enough hours in the day… it’s no surprise we end up cutting corners.
You’re too close to your own work to proofread it yourself, and your colleagues are just as busy so there’s no point asking them for help.
Avoid the pitfalls of pitiful proofreading
Your marketing literature, website and social media accounts are often the first contact potential clients have with your business. You budget for design and print – even copywriting – yet how often have you risked your investment by skimping on proofreading… then found embarrassing typos in the finished product?
A 2013 study revealed that 59 per cent of UK consumers wouldn’t use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material because they wouldn’t trust the company to provide good quality service. Others were put off due to an obvious lack of care, and considered the business to be unprofessional as a result of the mistakes.
So you don’t have time to proofread but you’ve run a spellcheck so it’s okay, right? Wrong. Spellcheck doesn’t know if you’ve repeated a word, or left one out, neither does it know if you’ve used the right word – it only knows whether the words you’ve used are spelled incorrectly (that’s one C, two Rs).
Computers can’t check context: they don’t know if you meant there, their or they’re, affect or effect, loose or lose. And – oops! – you just spelt manager as manger. Sorry, it won’t spot that either. P45 anyone?
Each time you rely on spellcheck you risk mistakes and errors in your writing. Homophones – words that sound the same, but have different spellings and different meanings, like the examples below – are partly to blame:
- your, you’re
- to, too, two
- there, they’re, their
- sight, site
- board, bored
So, don’t sack your spellchecker, but don’t rely on it to do your job for you – it’s never a substitute for proofreading. Consider professional proofreading as security on your investment. It may be another expense, but it’ll pay for itself many times over.
As the saying goes, ‘There’s never time to do it right, but always time to do it again.’ Don’t learn the hard way.