As the student recruitment season begins (again), think about how your communications to prospects can ignite the start of your long-term strategy to keep them engaged and informed.
Think about it this way: When these students are in your recruitment funnel, you're tracking them closely, sending them targeted communications, engaging them in social media, inviting them to open houses and special events. Keep that level of personal and helpful communication going when they enroll and become members of your campus community. The secret is to keep them engaged with your institution…like you did when you were recruiting them.
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 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).
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.