As many as one in three college freshman won’t return for their sophomore year, according to a recent study by U.S. News & World Report. This may be indicative of a lack of connection between the student and your university, so apply relationship marketing tactics to your retention strategy.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the primary reasons students leave a university or drop out altogether. The most common reasons include:
- Lack of affiliation, homesickness
- Lack of guidance, advice
Compare that list with some reasons why business customers leave:
- Turned off by an apparent air of indifference on the part of the business
- Dissatisfaction with the product or service
- Lured away by the competition
The reasons given in both lists above point to one common underlying driver: belongingness, or attachment. Your students are not all that different from a business’s customers or clients—they’re both humans who have an underlying need to feel as if they’re a part of something greater.
Relationship marketing is aimed at strengthening, developing and maintaining relationships—fostering a sense of belonging and essentially demonstrating to your students that you care about them, their needs and their ultimate well-being.
Relationship marketing can take many forms, from one-on-one communications and check-ins to sending out recommendations tailored to a particular demographic.
There’s no one-size fit with regard to relationship marketing. But, with summer scheduling and a lighter atmosphere on many campuses, now is a good time to revisit your own retention strategy and apply it against tested relationship marketing tactics.