Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Calculating return on investment is challenging for any marketing team and it's something we constantly grapple with at Think Alumni.
We ran a survey to ask re-enrolled (returning) students how alumni communications had influenced their decision to return to their College. We were encouraged by the results that show alumni emails are the second-most important factor for returning students (positive word of mouth was the most important).
Our survey went to over 10,000 alumni that had completed multiple courses at the same college with a long enough gap between courses to exclude those who may be returning to a second year of study. The results were fascinating and help demonstrate the benefits of alumni communications.
In terms of increasing interest in returning to college, former students ranked “College and Alumni emails” as the second-most important factor. In order, they were:
Positive word of mouth
College and alumni emails (53% saying these helped a little or a lot)
College print or outdoor advertising
Local press coverage
College social media
When asked what were the most important factors in their decision to return, the top two answers were quality of courses on offer and type of courses available, with overall cost, location, and ease of travel scoring lower.
73% of returning students said that 'reading about new courses on offer', or 'courses you weren’t previously aware of' helped encourage them to return to study - indicating that alumni communications make a significant impact on improving understanding and perception for both these areas.
Overall, of all the re-enrolled students surveyed, only 3% felt that college / alumni emails were Not at all useful, compared to over 66% who told us they were either Quite useful or Very useful to their decision.
94% of re-enrolled learners said they read alumni emails Often or Always (though we are aware this will be skewed by the alumni participants in this survey).
Whilst this presents evidence of the return on investment on alumni communications, we don't have all the answers (yet!) - perhaps all these students would have re-enrolled anyway...
The quest to unequivocally prove alumni ROI continues...