By now, most, if not all, students are on campus, getting settled for the new academic year.
As your new students begin their classes, are you communicating with them as often as you did when they were prospects? When they were in your recruitment funnel, you were tracking them closely, sending targeted communications, engaging them in social media, inviting them to open houses and special events. Now that they are enrolled and members of your campus community, are you keeping them engaged with your institution…like you did when you were recruiting them?
Remember how important it was to communicate with them when they were prospects. The rules shouldn’t change that much: communicate with them in ways they like to communicate; help them feel connected and informed; encourage two-way communication with your various offices and departments (including the President’s and Head of School’s Office). Use your institution’s communications channels strategically. Tailor your messages carefully for each channel, and be aware that your messages can and often will go viral.
The messages will change, naturally, but your level of communications should not.
It can contribute to your institution’s retention goals by helping students feel connected and informed.
It can advance your institution’s alumni relations and advancement goals by helping students have a sense of belonging (which builds over their years on campus, priming them for your requests to become volunteers, attend events, become donors).
It can help your work of recruiting next year’s class by feeding the communications pipeline with messages you can tweak for prospects.
As you develop your communications strategy for the academic year, remember how often you communicated with your students when they were prospects and how successful you were in helping them feel a part of your institution…informed, engaged, and connected.