Maintaining good alumni relationships provides many benefits to both the school and the alumni. Many alumni show their dedication and gratitude to their alumni by participating in fundraising efforts, helping the school advance with modern technology and improved facilities.
Alumni also serve as brand ambassadors to their alma mater. They wear alumni apparel and use alumni merchandise, publicly supporting their school without realizing they’re marketing and promoting the institution to their personal and professional networks. They will attend events and reunions and post photos on social media while tagging the alumni and using relevant hashtags.
In the same way customers can become repeat buyers, alumni can re-enroll to further their education. And through word-of-mouth marketing, alumni can influence others to enroll at their former school, using their personal and positive experiences to promote the institution. Therefore, a supportive and engaged alumni network is crucial to an institution’s brand success.
Here are strategies for strengthening your institution’s alumni network.
Nurture the network
Prove value to former students through engaging content and communications. Keep them properly informed on their alma mater’s progress and achievements. Talk about the alumni who donate their valuable time to offer career support to current students. Share the inspiring news on the school website, social media, and newsletters. Promote information on professional networking events, higher education opportunities, alumni success stories, new campus facilities, and reunion events. Also, keep alumni connected and feeling nostalgic through user-generated content from both current students and alumni.
Develop an alumni loyalty rewards program
Former students don’t only participate in alumni membership programs for nostalgia and to remain connected to the community. Alumni membership should come with benefits and rewards, including discounts from businesses, premier access to services, networking opportunities, cheap tickets to sports events, access to the campus’s library systems and facilities, and discounts on continuing education. In that sense, alumni membership programs model consumer loyalty programs.
Invest in mobile-optimized content
According to a loyalty program study, almost 75% of consumers say they would actively engage with loyalty programs if they could access information from their smartphones. 42% preferred email to receive communications, while 32% chose to receive a text message. According to a study on email open rates, 81% of all emails are now opened and read on mobile devices. And when the recipient finds that the email has not been optimized for mobile, 80% delete the email immediately.
Maintain a clean contact database
Alumnus data will change constantly. People will move; they may change their numbers. Some will create new social media profiles or change jobs. You lose opportunities to reach alumni through their preferred channels when you don’t keep updated mobile numbers, email addresses, and social media handles. You also increase the risk of not reaching them when your contact database contains typographical errors, missing data, bad formatting, and inaccuracies.
A clean, updated alumni database also helps you segment your email list, which allows you to reach specific people with the most relevant content. For example, alumni that live near the institution are more likely to attend face-to-face events.
At RunnerEDQ, we recognize the gaps in your alumni and foundation contact data. Let us help you stay connected and engaged with your graduates by providing you with up-to-date addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, geocoded locations, and social media handles.