Working with our TruePartners in Client Services, it seems like the number one question I am always asked is “How can we launch EverTrue and make the biggest impact in user growth?” This is a great question, and while our team works to help you increase user growth and engagement from a product angle, what can the institution do to assure that their alums are A.) informed about the application and B.) and continue to get new users after an initial launch campaign.
We have all been impressed with the efforts of Union College and their EverTrue launch in February. We reached out to Damond Heath, Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs at Union, to provide insights on what he and his team, lead by Marna Redding, Director of Alumni Affairs, have been doing to engage Union alums with EverTrue. Damond offers his best practices for launching EverTrue below:
“Alumni outreach is something I think every college prioritizes, and if done correctly, can be mutually beneficial to the college and it’s graduates. Here at Union, we wanted to engage our alumni in the various mediums that they are actively using, and when we heard about EverTrue and the alumni app they had developed, we immediately knew this was something we had to look into.
Early on we understood that the success of the launch would be dependent on a variety of factors. First and foremost was buy-in from the entire alumni staff. We knew that this launch would require everyone working together, which has proven very true so far. Additionally, we wanted to give ourselves ample time to disseminate information about the app, and showcase the many features it would provide. Lastly, we wanted to create some buzz around the launch of this new app, and get our alumni excited about this new innovative way to stay connected to Union.
Our rollout was set up in three stages: First, we focused on effective email marketing, which varied on content but always served the purpose of promoting our alumni community. Secondly, it was very important to reach all our alumni, so we sent out postcards to those we didn’t have emails for (Hoping our launch would aid that #). The third and last stage was bringing the app on the road with us to various events, and showing some demos of what it was and the many functions it had. In support of these three steps, our office also created an EverTrue email account that would handle all incoming questions during and after the launch of the app.
The buildup to the launch was a great learning experience that demanded attention to detail, and the ability to understand your alumni’s needs. We had spent months developing our plan of action, answered countless emails, worked within our office to develop fresh designs, and finally felt we were ready for the launch on February 21st. That date has since come and gone, but we are still actively promoting our growing community on our alumni app. To date we have had over 1,800 downloads, and marveled over the more than 600 downloads we had during the first 48 hours of the app being online.
What worked well in the rollout was communicating effectively with our alumni base, and that mantra hasn’t changed since our launch. We continue to update our alumni on the amount of people who have signed up, and even started fun contests on the app to get people engaged. We are also working on ways to promote stories we are hearing from our alumni about ways they’ve used the app, and how it has benefited them. So far we are very pleased with the reaction to the alumni app, and we feel fortunate that we took the opportunity to engage our alumni on formats such as smartphones & tablets, which is the place that information is being consumed these days. We look forward to continued success working with EverTrue, and will keep looking for innovative ways to engage our alumni base! “
To see more about Union’s launch, check out their webpage here: http://www.union.edu/alumni/evertrue/index.php