Engaging alumni is a key strategy for high schools, colleges, universities, and other higher education establishments. Alumni often have fond feelings for their alma mater well into their adult lives, but engaging them can still prove to be complicated. While you might produce feelings of nostalgia, getting alumni to engage with you and get involved with events truly can be an issue. Thanks to a range of digital technology, it's easier now than in the past, but it still presents a challenge to institutions everywhere.
By engaging alumni, you can get the support you need for recruitment and retention. If you use the right tactics for engagement, you can get alumni to pay attention and feel a desire to play their part. With some alumni engagement best practices, you can engage with them long-term.
Know Your Audience
It's essential to know your audience whenever you're doing any kind of marketing. Alumni can be a tricky group to engage with because they're not just one type of person. They could be working in all sorts of careers and fall into numerous demographics. Therefore, segmenting your audience into different groups can help you to contact them more effectively. When you use a mass texting service like Text-Em-All, you can create different groups to receive different messages. You can then personalize your messages to suit the groups that you have made.
By creating marketing personas for different groups, you can ensure each one is defined but also humanized. Define their demographics, interests, contact preferences, and more so that you can segment them and plan your engagement around them.
Use the Right Communication Methods
Ask your alumni about their preferred contact methods. You might be surprised by the results that you discover. Digital technology and mobile devices are becoming more popular. Around 37% of alumni prefer to receive information from their alma mater via text message, while 28% like to get it from a mobile app. Text messaging is a convenient method of getting in touch with alumni and engaging them with content and important information. Using a service like Text-Em-All, you can communicate with alumni via text by sending out mass text messages. Alumni can also reply to their messages to ask questions, provide feedback, and more.
Text-Em-All gives you the tools that you need to contact alumni via text message quickly. You can schedule messages in advance, personalize your texts, and continue conversations with alumni who have questions or feedback. You might have huge numbers of alumni you want to contact, and you can do it extremely quickly using a mass texting service.
Create Engaging Content
To engage alumni, high schools and universities need to provide them with content they are interested in. The content should be relevant to their interests while relating to the school at the same time. When you have created personas for alumni, develop a content strategy that includes content based on each of these personas. Make content that appeals to sports enthusiasts and talks about your sports program. Or, if you want to draw attention to the scientific achievements of your school, you should reach out to those alumni with an interest or career in STEM subjects.
Be sure to provide content that your alumni will find genuinely engaging and exciting. Make your content valuable to them. You can also feature your alumni in your content and publications. This ensures your content is relevant to them. Use different media to engage with your alumni too. Some content might be published and sent using snail mail, but many alumni will appreciate content linked to them through email, social media, and text messages.
Personalizing communications with alumni ensures they are not just generic messages. A small amount of personalization can go a long way. Just adding someone's name to an email, letter, or text message can make it much more personal and make it feel like the recipient is being addressed personally instead of being part of a mass mailout. When sending out digital communications such as emails and text messages, personalizing communications is easy. You can automate messages and use templates that add names and other important information about individual recipients. Addressing someone by their name might seem like a small thing, but it does matter.
Carry Out Surveys
Allowing your alumni to have their say is an excellent way to engage them. People like to provide their own opinion and feel like they have some influence. However, at the same time, they don't always want to give a lot of their time to have their say. A survey can be the perfect way to allow your alumni to have some input without taking up too much of their time. They can spend just a few seconds responding to some simple questions so that you can collect some valuable feedback.
Text messaging can be an excellent tool for carrying out a quick survey. Whether you want to ask a single question or several of them, you can quickly send your survey to whoever you want. They can respond to questions by texting you back, or you could link to a more comprehensive survey in the message so that they can fill in more in-depth answers.
Use Different Media and Engagement Methods
Don't rely on just one engagement method to engage alumni. Try using different channels and media to get people to pay attention. You can use print materials, emails, text messaging, social media, and your website to engage with everyone.
Use these best practices to engage alumni and get them involved with their school long after leaving. Text-Em-All can help you to engage alumni through text messaging and phone calls. With fast messaging that you can personalize and automate, you can stay in touch with alumni and bring them the information they need.
Ron Kinkade is the Head of Marketing at Text-Em-All, an automated calling and mass texting company that provides solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 20 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron enjoys bass fishing, beach vacations, and spending time with family.