Did you know, it's expected that the world's internet users will spend almost 12 trillion hours online this year?
That's more than 1.3 billion years.
It's official, we live online. Especially young people (16-24), who spend an average of three hours a day on social media alone. With this much exposure to online content, they know when they're being marketed to. That's why your institution needs to provide an authentic experience online when marketing. After all, it's where prospects will start when researching which university or college they want to attend.
But, just having a website and online marketing channels isn't enough. If you want to fully optimise your recruitment funnel, you need your student ambassadors to be online as well.
After all, with the right approach, a digital program is easy to implement and comes with lots of benefits that we'll outline in this article.
Here are the four reasons why you should have a digital student ambassador program.
1. You reach more prospects
During the last academic year, the United States lost $1.8 billion due to a reduction in international students due to the pandemic. Institutions have been working hard to make this revenue back. But, in doing so, many aren't making the most of their student ambassadors.
With travel restrictions in place and/or a hesitancy to travel, you need to provide the experience of a well-run open day digitally to convince prospects to attend your institution.
You can't do that without providing online access to your ambassadors.
They have the relevant experience and unique insight that can make the difference between a prospect enrolling at your institution or studying elsewhere. So connecting them digitally to ambassadors is extremely valuable in convincing them that enrolling is the right thing to do. And if you increase enrolments, the revenue will follow.
2. Prospects expect a seamless digital experience
According to the Harvard Business Review, Education is one of the least digitized economic sectors. But, that is changing, with $4.5 billion being invested in global EdTech in the first half of 2020.
Compared to the prior decade, this represents a three-fold increase in investment over the same six-month period.
This has largely been driven by the pandemic, as in-person events and travel have been difficult. But, if you want to compete it needs to become the new normal for engaging with prospects.
Young people are constantly engaging with digital services. So they will expect it when deciding if your institution is the best fit for them.
If you can provide a seamless digital experience, where prospects can access your student ambassadors, course information, pricing, and anything else they need on a single platform they'll be reassured you can deliver effective online learning. After all, you've just run them through a successful technical demo of your capabilities in sharing information.
3. You can provide a more personalized experience
With a digital student ambassador program, you can easily provide prospects with a more personal experience. This is done through the creation of tailored, relevant digital user-generated content.
In doing so, your student ambassadors can provide an authentic view showcasing their real university experience based on their interests. The prospect can then self-curate and engage what is relevant to them. With the right digital platform, you can enable connections based on things like the prospect's home country, interests, or age group - whatever helps provide a relevant, authentic conversation that helps them make their decision.
For example, if a prospect loves football, they can find content relating to your games, the team, or details of your sporting facilities. Then, if they want to dive a little deeper, they can get in touch with a student ambassador who is on the football team.
A digital platform allows you to easily create, collate and share this user-generated content. Not only that, but it also makes prospects five times more likely to convert.
4. You can manage your student ambassadors more easily
Research suggests that 75 percent of managers thought remote working would lead to reduced team cohesiveness last year.
But, if you use a unified digital platform there's no reason you can't collaborate effectively. No matter where your ambassadors are located, they can represent your institution at online events without needing to be in the same physical space.
They can communicate easily, ensuring they're all working towards the same end goal. You can make announcements, monitor activities, and hold team meetings.
With a reliable digital platform, you can ensure the culture of collaboration and teamwork while benefiting from the flexibility that ambassadors across the country - or the world - can bring. After all, what matters is an ambassador's ability to drive conversions, not where they live.
Join our free webinar
Join our free, 60 minute webinar to find out how to get the most out of your student ambassador program in 2021/22.
Tuesday August, 31 (16:00 BST/ 08:00/ PT 11.00 EST)
During the webinar you will:
- Hear from special guest speakers Texas Tech University, Manchester Met University, and Marty Bennett from SMIE Consulting.
- Get the latest industry best-practice on how to effectively set-up, manage, and incentivize your ambassadors
- Get advanced access to our brand new whitepaper: 'The ultimate guide to Student Ambassador programs in 2021'.