Late Spring is a season that brings many events, including the time honored tradition of graduation. Graduating classes from kindergarten to doctoral candidates celebrating their accomplishments and looking forward to the next step in their lives. What schools aren’t recognizing is that this moment is a great time to focus on the delight stage of your marketing funnel focusing on these recent graduates, alum, and even upperclassman to help converting new prospects into and bolstering student recruitment. There are many ways to do this including recognizing this group, empowering them to be advocates, listening to their feedback, continued engaging, and attributing success that stems from this group to this group.
Often times at each level from elementary school through doctorate degrees the relationship between that person and the individual is pretty much severed once the individual graduates. They never hear from you again except some random generic appeal to donate or generic letter about happenings at the school and you never hear from them again except if they need a copy of a transcript or other proof of graduation or status to obtain employment. Institutions are missing a key opportunity to turn these folks into advocates on behalf of the school by just recognizing first their accomplishments in graduating from your institution, recognizing accomplishments post graduation in their careers and on a basic level recognizing their existence. Being known for this not only activates this cohort into advocates but also having a reputation for recognizing grads and alums serves as a great recruiting tool for prospects.
After recognizing this group you want to empower them with the ability to champion the school and spread the word about the school on your behalf, but you have to give them permission to do so and that’s where the empowerment comes in. Let this group feel comfortable and let them know it’s ok for then to spread the word in anyway possible actively passively direct or indirect. The word from the horse's mouth so to speak students who have gone to your institution and had a positive experience so positive that they now advocate on behalf of the school is a powerful attraction that prospects will gravitate to and can help with student recruitment. To a lot of prospects an admission or enrollment professional is a salesperson trying to make a sale. An appeal from recent/soo to be graduates and distinguished alum has a higher level of resonance.
Now that you’ve recognized and given permission the next step is to listen to this group. Get there feedback on not only their experience at the school but ways to improve the systems including recruitment. Going back to the point made earlier about the horse mouth, which better cohort of folks to help with this effort than those who have gone through it. Whether it be recently or many years ago schools have a built in in tapped resource in the former students that can help recognize and improve implementation systems and help boost enrollment. This feedback should be treated as the high value asset it is.
One of the larger themes of these efforts is engagement. As mentioned prior often times post graduation. The contact between institution and Alum is non existent. This is an untapped and underutilized resource with high ROI if just paid attention to. As the old trope goes “It’s easier to delight a current customer than to acquire a new one” Granted these are former “customers” but very integral to the delight stage of your marketing funnel. Don’t ignore this cohort, engage engage engage. Let them know that you care about them cause they sure care about you. After all you did provide these folks with one of their most valuable assets a quality education. I’ve been fortunate to attend a number of prestigious schools at every level and now being firmly in the alumni stage of life I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from fellow alum disappointed about the lack of engagement between them and the school. Don’t make this mistake leverage this tool to your advantage.
In continuation of focusing on these delight stage activities once you’ve begin to implement the previous four techniques and begin to reap the rewards in the form of enhanced attraction and a more robust pipeline of qualified prospects. Don’t neglect an important step and attribute success to those alum and maybe even upperclassmen who helped in these delight stage efforts which resulted in additional prospects and sales. Who doesn't like accolades and even an attaboy or girl. Especially coming from an institution they already hold dear, giving credit where it’s due in this instance will only encourage those folks to continue spread the word with renewed an increased vigor.
Lot’s of institutions and business across different sectors not only education subscribe to an inbound methodology to their digital marketing and rightfully so it’s a proven and efficient methodology. Often times especially in the education sector the delight phase of the marketing funnel is ignored but is a really powerful element to help with student recruitment. By attributing success,engaging, listening, empowering and recognizing schools can swell the delight phase of their pipeline which will help with recruitment tremendously. Have you witnessed or implemented delight stage techniques that helped with student recruitment feel free to share your experience with us in the comment section below.