The perennial headache for education marketers: how do I attract, engage and convert the next batch of 11, 16 and 18 year olds to my institution? Reimagining your key selling points and keeping campaigns fresh year after year starts to take its toll. So, how can re-engaging your former students save you time and help get your enrolment numbers in check for this year?
Don’t lose touch with your satisfied customers
There are still too many institutions that will gladly wave their former students goodbye and make no attempt to stay in contact. If this is you – fear not. It means you’re likely to have a large audience to contact and better propensity for a return on engagement.
Think about when you’ve bought anything online and the company has sent you similar products or services that you might be interested in. The same rule applies for education. If you were to think of all the education, training and skills you need to acquire in life, going back to a place that knows you and values you is much more appealing than being the new kid at the new school.
Make use of positive experiences
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the longer ago you studied at your school, college or university, the more likely you are to claim you had a great experience, as nostalgia and rose tinted glasses come into play. Those who didn’t, well, they just won’t bother getting involved.
Use your alumni as advocates and champions for your institution by bringing them in to talk to potential new students and parents, or give careers advice to current students. Frame inspirational campaigns around your alumni destinations to attract new students. It creates a sense of community and belonging, and you are more likely to get students to succeed.
Attract and engage alumni
Devise some clear benefits you can offer your alumni to reintroduce them to your institution. Try to go beyond discounts in the salon, restaurant or gym and offer something unique. Take the time to find out what your alumni are up to, what type of career and interests they have and tailor your communications around that, offer alumni courses, programmes and benefits linked to their interests or job.
If you want to take pressure off your student recruitment, spend some time focusing on your former students. You’re likely to find you have an audience that is already open to studying with you, that is easier to convert and is happy to give back.