Higher education enrollment management professionals and marketers often share a similar goal: How do we get more students to enroll? While it’s important to create a seamless and cohesive strategy to achieve enrollment goals through media advertising, frequent communication touch points, and more, not all universities have discovered how to maximize potential through one impactful resource: student ambassadors.
Your currently-enrolled students can do so much of the heavy lifting for your marketing and enrollment management team. We’re not just talking about word-of-mouth and generating more deposits, we’re talking about cultivating an avenue for showcasing your school with longevity that outlasts any campaign. The many advantages of a strong student ambassador program make deciding to build one a no-brainer!
Land Those Deposits!
Hitting your numbers: that’s why you’re reading, right? Everyone is looking for that perfect artillery of tips and tricks to reach those recruitment goals. But what if I told you that sometimes it helps to zoom out and look at the bigger picture? When you break it down, a university or college is just like any business that provides a product or service; consumers are all looking before they buy. That’s why reviews and testimonials are so important. But do you know what makes a review or a testimony even more influential? If it comes from a peer.
In-House Influencer Marketing
Did you know that, in general business, 92% of consumers will seek a trusted review before making a purchase? It’s pretty safe to say that prospective students are likely to behave similarly, especially when this particular purchase shapes the rest of their lives. While having testimonials is great, the weightiest ones are those that make a direct connection with a prospective student. If you found ten decent reviews from people you never met, but a friend or acquaintance of yours told you it stinks, which way would you lean?
Strategically placing your student ambassadors in a campus visit, or any kind of meet-and-greet, can significantly boost your chances of capturing a commitment from a prospective student. Our recruits are typically hungry for connections and relationships, even if it’s from a mentor or an advisor, and they’re quickest to cling to those who are like-minded and share common interests. This is where student ambassadors bring their strengths to the table, influencing someone a lot like them to make the same decision they did.
Authenticity: The Name of the Game
Some schools struggle with accurately conveying who they are, and some may not even know where to start. Well, you won’t find more genuine statements than from those who are enrolled at your school. Current students, particularly those who live on campus, are surrounded by the campus vibe and have the small-but-meaningful experiences that faculty and staff may never see. And before you begin soliciting, you need to ensure that when you get your foot in the door, it’s meaningful.
In It for the Long Run
If you build a strong student ambassador program, you may find that your college or university’s voice has been identified or confirmed. Give your ambassadors the opportunity to share their stories with your prospective students. This is what those high school kids visiting your campus really want to hear: the truth. And, when they enroll and see the reality that was previewed to them, they’ll issue their testimony, too. And before you know it, you have the best marketing tool at your fingertips, building itself.
What you may find is a truth about your institution that you, as an employee, never knew. And in turn, you could find the heart that all your flyers, phone calls, emails, and social media posts may have been missing. The best part? You didn’t have to look any further than outside your office door to find it—and it’s real. That’s what prospective students want, and that’s what your school should want for its future.
Don’t Forget Who You’re Doing This For
We’ve talked a lot about prospective students, recruiting, and advertising. But remember what this is really all about: the students! Hopefully, those prospective students enroll. When they do, you still want to take care of them, right? You can actually build your student ambassador program to not just benefit you, your team, and your recruitment goals, but your ambassadors as well!
“For A Good Cause”
Did you know that Gen Z is generally considered to be the age group most interested in being a part of something bigger than themselves? They’re the social justice warriors, and their big-picture priorities revolve around leaving the world better than how they found it. Your student ambassadors are probably chomping at the bit to have their hands in something that makes a difference. What better cause could they be involved in than guiding their peers toward decisions that help them be the best they can be?
You can always offer other incentives to support your ambassadors. If pay is not an option, consider speaking with faculty and enrollment management representatives about credit toward a class. Or you could consider available, notable awards they can display on their resume when they graduate. If nothing else, equip them with tons of school swag!
Need more specifics on how to make sure you experience all these benefits? REV’s “Fortifying Your Front Line Strategy: A Training Course to Help You Build a Strong Student Ambassador Program” has all the answers you could want and more. This online course takes place September 1-30, and offers two live sessions and three hours of additional lecture content that participants can complete at their own pace. Registration is open now!
Student ambassadors are the best way to shine a light on your school’s authentic and unique values. With the right tools, you can equip them to empower your institution with the voice you always hoped it would find!
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