How to Launch an Alumni App

Your school has made the awesome decision to work with EverTrue and create an alumni app to promote networking and keep alums up to date, all on their mobile devices.  Congrats! But now the question comes, how are you going to get this app in the palm of your alum’s hands? Working with new clients, I am asked this question daily and wanted to put together a sampling of some best practices to make your EverTrue launch most effective.

Remember, promoting your school’s app is not just a “one and done” experience, but rather a process.  Every time you promote the app whether in person or online, you are going to get someone new to notice and download.  EverTrue works with your school for the initial launch email, a mobile friendly announcement coming from your office, but there is much you can do after the dust settles to continue promotion.

1.) Prep your alums for the app, get them excited! Woodberry Forest School included a short line in their monthly e-newsletter and reunion announcement to remind alums to bring their mobile devices to reunion.  Even though the app is not available in the app store yet, they are already creating excitement for the launch at their upcoming reunion.

2.)  Make it social! Continue to promote the app through your social media channels.  Looking for an easy tweet?  Throw out a reminder about the app at least weekly on those channels.

3.)  Event Assists: St. Paul’s School created a banner that they bring to all their events to help promote the app.  Here are Jesse and Brent posing with this banner when they crashed an SPS alumni event last fall (yes we are reunion crashers!).  Also, have your development team take the app with them to all events on an iPad or iPhone.  Use the app on an iPad at registration to have all alumni verify their information as they make a name tag and check in!

4.)  FAQ pages: A few schools we work with have created FAQ pages to help answer alum’s questions about the app.  BB&N did a nice job with this on their website.

5.)  Video: Nothing says fun like a video promoting your app! Both SPS and Wheeler School used iconic faculty and staff in their humorous video launching the app. Check it out!

6.)  Make it news! When Roxbury Latin School launched their app, it was a top news story on their school’s homepage.  This type of news can be attractive to all those visiting your site- a perspective student seeing how cool their alumni group will be after graduation, a perspective teacher seeing the school’s use of technology stretching outside the classroom, parents intrigued with mobile technology-all can delight in this news.  Not to pit notorious prep school rivals against each other, but Belmont Hill School, included an ad for their app in their alumni magazine.  A great idea for app promotion in another source of school news.

7.)  Incorporate: Both Potomac School and University School development officers have added links to download their app within their email signatures.  When emailing with alumni and donors all day long, its smart to have the people in your school who interact with alumni most include this reminder.  While an alum might not have seen your launch email, they might notice the app for the first time when you email asking them to join at a local reception or to make a gift.

8.)  Postcard: It might be a bit ironic to send paper mail about a mobile app, but many schools have chosen this type of announcement.  Many alums opt out of emails so this is a good way to capture those who may not be digital diablos. Isidore Newman SchoolWinchendon School and Virginia Military Institute all went the postcard route.

Did your school have a great promotion of their EverTrue app?  Let us know!



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