Higher education is steeped in tradition, but old-fashioned workflows that consume more than half of the work week should be left in the past. Instead, colleges and universities should look toward technologies to improve processes school-wide and enhance the student experience.
A good place to kick off these improvements is with student engagement. Developing efficient student engagement strategies across the spectrum—from admissions to alumni relations—can boost student enrollment numbers and build a strong community around your school. That's why we recently teamed up with our friends at Formstack on a webinar all about using online forms and email to streamline engagement through the student journey.
Here's a quick recap of what we covered:
• Start with social media. One great way to engage prospective students is with residential life surveys. Social is a great place to collect this sort of data, from surveys on Facebook Tab Embed to polls on Instagram Stories. After you get the responses you need, send the survey-takers relevant information based on their responses.
• Make signing up for campus tours easy. Formstack makes it easy to created branded signup forms. For instance, The University of Nevada-Reno used Formstack to create an upgraded signup form for their campus tours and got it up and running in less than 10 minutes. Campus visits increased by 45%, and they lifted enrollment from the tour event from 700 to 1180 students in two years.
• Get a prospect's data when you need it. Collect information via forms, like information requests, event registrations, and applications. Then, pull the data into your CRM. Notify admissions, financial aid staff, and faculty to ensure each prospect gets the proper follow up.
• Solicit feedback through course evaluations. Everyone at your college has a stake in student retention. Make sure your courses are hitting the right mark by providing surveys with neutral, easy-to-answer questions. Rating scales are a great tool to help you compare results over time.
• Make resources and opportunities accessible. Embed forms on your university website or share form links via email to give students an easy way to sign up for additional learning opportunities and programs.
• Optimize emails for engagement. Design for easy scanning, optimize for mobile, and keep your content fresh. Incorporate a variety of mediums—from blog posts to event invitations to videos–to keep recipients interested and engaged with what you're sending.
• Engage alumni using social. Create a community for alumni to regularly connect with one another and your university on Facebook and LinkedIn. Place online forms directly on these pages to collect contact information updates, event registrations, and general feedback.
• Run a contest to collect alumni contact info. For example, you should create a school pride photo contest. Include name, address, phone number, and email fields, and promote the contest form on your website and social pages. Use the info you collect to create new alumni records and update existing profiles.
• Create strong mentorship programs. Connecting alumni with students will help them see how they are still needed at your university.
• Target your invitations to alumni interests. The average person receives as many as 94 emails a day. Your outreach efforts need to break through the clutter. One of the best ways to do that is to segment your lists by things like geography, interests, or demographics in order to send targeted emails.
Interested in checking out our full webinar with Formstack? You can watch the recording here!