How To Engage Alumni – Case Study

Here is a case study example from a recent campaign aimed at bringing alumni back into the school community portal where they can update their details and connect with other alumni.

This campaign used EDUconnected for the school alumni portal as it includes functionality for email marketing, landing pages, lead tracking, profile updating, and internal user connections.

Through EDUconnected, we were able to easily import our email list, setup a quick landing page, craft an initial email message, and track the results of every step.

The Email

To create the initial email, we wrote something simple that explains why we are contacting them, what we are planning to do with the alumni portal, all the exciting things coming up, and finally a call-to-action which was to click the link to the landing page where they can fill in their details to create their account.

We split the email database into two segments purely to run an initial test to a smaller group of users. Here are the results of the email campaign:

Alumni email engagement stats The important things to note here are the “open” and “click” statistics on the right hand side. “Open” is the percentage of users that actually viewed the email message and “Clicks” is the percentage of users that clicked a link in the message.

It’s important to know your “open rate” as that will tell you how effective your subject line is. These emails received an average 30% open rate which is quite good. In general, that number will go down the bigger your email database. Take note that “open rate” is never going to be 100% accurate. It can only be tracked if the user is viewing your email with a html email reader. If they have a plain-text reader, then the “open” won’t be tracked.

“Clicks” are the more accurate metric to take note of and ultimately the goal of the email. These emails received an average 11% click-through rate which means we are getting good initial response from alumni.

The Landing Page

We used a very specific and simple landing page for alumni. This was very easy to setup. Just select a template in EDUconnected, add a logo, headline, and web form to capture the visitors name and email address. The other benefit of EDUconnected is that it allows for social sign-on so alumni can click one button, and login with their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. account making login so much easier.

Here’s the conversion results of the landing page:

Alumni landing page stats


87% conversion rate is amazing. That’s the benefit of having a specific landing page designed to do just one thing. One call-to-action and very simple input fields to not scare away the visitor. This page wasn’t cluttered with school news and events, menus, and hyperlinks to distract the user. It was very focused and the results were very positive.

Next Steps… Taking This Further

Here’s how to get even better results from this campaign and skyrocket alumni engagement. I’ve included the actual email and landing page screenshots below for you too.

[pwal id="75036737" description="Hidden Content... Help spread the word to view this content. We would really appreciate it. Click one of the buttons below and reveal how to take this campaign further for even better alumni engagement."] Screenshot 2014-07-12 13.10.38 [/pwal]

Looking at the email results in more detail, you can see at the bottom of the screenshot below, there are links to view different users based on clicked, opened, unopened etc.

Alumni campaign email statistics

I would firstly target users who didn’t open the initial email, and see if I could get them to open an email with a different subject line.

A good strategy here is to write back to users who haven’t yet created an account in the portal, and use “social proof”. Talk about how great your response from the last email was. Thank users for connecting, sharing their stories, and highlight some of the benefits other users received from connecting to the portal. This will make them feel like they are missing out, and make them want to connect even more.

Secondly, I would target users who clicked a link in the email but didn’t create an account. For these users you could write back asking if they had trouble loading the page or creating an account, and again highlight the benefits other users received from connecting to the portal.

Here’s a look at the initial email. We included an image in this email to give a visual representation of the school, how it has changed, and also technically, you can add an “alt” description to images that will show if a user has images disabled. This motivates them to enable images to see the picture and will help give us more accurate “open rate” stats.

Alumni email creation


Here’s a look at the landing page for this campaign. You’ll notice it’s very simple, but converted really well. We used an impressive school campus background image which was consistent with the image in the email message, and a simple headline.

Screenshot 2014-07-12 13.10.38


I hope you enjoyed this case study and viewing real world results from a real school campaign. If you would like to know more about EDUconnected or would like to speak to Mike about consulting, please email .



How to Upload Photos From Dropbox To Instagram

As you may have realised… Instagram is a predominantly mobile based platform. You can only upload photos to Instagram using your mobile device. This can be a roadblock for schools or any organisation that has multiple people taking photos and managing the one Instagram account. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can utilise Dropbox to collect photos from multiple staff members, and also moderate which photos go to Instagram. The moderating aspect here is a huge advantage, especially to schools who have one or two key people who decide which content is appropriate for public distribution.

For those that don’t know, Dropbox is a file sharing cloud application that lets you easily share folders on Windows or Mac between multiple users. It syncs in the background and is an extremely useful tool.

I’m going to demo both Android and IOS platforms below. There are a few more steps on IOS but the process is relatively the same.

Step 1. Install both the Dropbox and Instagram apps on your mobile device


Step 2. Create a shared folder on Dropbox


Share this folder to everyone that will be contributing photos. You can name the folder whatever you like. I have named it “Shared Photos” for this tutorial.

Android instructions

The following steps are for Android users. Scroll down to see the steps required for iPhone users.

To upload your photos to Dropbox – Open the Dropbox app, Navigate to the desired folder, and click the “Upload here” dropdown option


Click the top right icon with the three vertical dots to see this dropdown menu.

Select “Photos or videos”


Choose the photos you would like to upload to the Dropbox folder


All contributors can follow these previous steps to upload photos for the Publications Manager to see and choose which photos should be uploaded to Instagram.

Publications Manager – Choose a photo you would like to upload to Instagram and select the “More” option


Choose the “Export” menu item


Scroll down until you see “Instagram”


Add filters etc. just like normal and upload your chosen image to the schools Instagram account


IOS Instructions

The following steps are for iPhone users.

Uploading to Dropbox – Navigate to your desired Dropbox folder to upload a photo from your mobile device. Click the “Upload” dropdown option


Select an image from one of your Albums


Publications Manager – Select an image in Dropbox to upload to Instagram and Tap on the bottom left icon


Select “Save Image” to save the Dropbox image to your internal IOS Photos


This is an extra step required for IOS users. You can’t export directly to Dropbox on iPhone.

Open the Instagram App on your mobile device and Tap on the bottom left icon to select a photo from your IOS device


Add filters etc. just like normal and upload your chosen image to the schools Instagram account


Thats it!

Now you have the power to leverage multiple users taking photos on multiple devices, and are able to moderate which photos make it to the public Instagram account. Here’s how I can see this being really effective in a practical situation. At a school event such as a sports day, open day, fete, graduation etc. you can have multiple different staff members taking photos on their own phones, saving those photos to a shared Dropbox folder, and one primary person uploading specific or appropriate photos to the school Instagram account. This gives parents a real-time update on what’s happening at the school. Of course you need to be sensitive to student privacy etc. but how much more effective is this process as compared to the traditional way of having one person run around campus with a digital camera, then having to sort through hundreds of photos, and then uploading select photos hours or days after the event?

I think the main benefit of this process is the ability to moderate which photos go public. Schools are very particular about which content goes public on their social accounts. Rather than giving out access to all staff to upload directly to Instagram, now you can give them an option to save as many photos as they like to the Dropbox folder, and have one person in charge of which photos go public.

What is a Social Media Buyer Persona and do I need one?

A few hundred likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and subscribers on YouTube is terrific, however it will amount to very little if you do not know how to engage and build a relationship with those people. If you really want to engage with your fans effectively you need to create Buyer Personas.

A Buyer Persona refers to a fictional character that represents the different types of buyers, followers, or audience a company has. You define a persona not only through the basic categories that have been used to define a target market, for example, geographic, demographic, psychographic, behavioural and product related characteristics, but you also need to go a step further and put yourself in their shoes. Identifying Buyer Personas will allow you to better connect and engage with your followers.

So how do you go about writing Buyer Personas for your school?

As a school you already have a lot of information available to you about where your parents live and what their occupation is, for example, so it is the other information that you need, like what magazines they read, what shows they watch on TV etc., to create your Buyer Personas.

How do you get this information?

The best way to get this information is to survey your parents.
Here is a 10 question survey that you can use to get the additional information you might need to write your social media Buyer Persona. This questionnaire was designed to make the most of Survey Monkey’s free survey for surveys with 10 questions or less.

  1. Do you have a mobile phone? If “Yes” what type of phone do you have? If “No” please proceed to Question 2.
  2. If you use social media, which social media sites do you use? If you do not use social media, please proceed to Question 3.
  3. What are your three favourite television programmes and what is your favourite radio station?
  4. What newspapers/magazines do you like reading?
  5. What music do you like listening to?
  6. What are your three favourite restaurants in (insert your location)?
  7. What are your three favourite hobbies?
  8. What are your three favourite holiday destinations?
  9. How do you source purchasing information and become influenced about purchasing items? (Please select multiple answers if required.)
    1. Use the internet to research products
    2. Referrals
    3. Word of mouth (friends & family)
    4. Television
    5. Radio
    6. Newspaper
    7. Catalogue
    8. Other (please specify)
  10. 10.  What is your gender?
    1. Male
    2. Female

So what does a Buyer Persona look like? Here is an example of a Buyer Persona from a school. I suggest that you create at least two different Buyer Personas – one for entry into your Junior School and one for entry into your Senior School.

lcgs-7569-profile poster 2

I cannot emphasise the importance of defining your Buyer Personas in order to reach and engage with your followers on social media. The Buyer Personas can also be extremely valuable when writing website copy.