Best Practices for Marketing Your Wisr Network
While marketing your new online network might seem challenging or intimidating, a lot of the marketing strategies and techniques we recommend using are similar to ones you've probably used in the past to market other programming, events or initiatives. You can check out our other articles for the specifics on how you can optimize your email, on-campus and social media marketing, but first, here are our high-level best practices for marketing your network:
The What: Value Prop-Focused Messaging
One of the most important marketing strategies for successfully converting your members to sign up or take an action in the network is to center all of your marketing efforts around value prop-focused messaging. Value prop-focused messaging should be at the core of your marketing plan and inform how you segment your audience, how you reach them and how you benchmark your success. When describing the network, it is more compelling to explain why networking is important, why they should invest time into signing up and using the network and how you are addressing their needs, rather than say what the network is or describe its features.
For example, a value prop would be "In Wisr, you can source mentors who have volunteered to review your resume and conduct mock interviews and reach out to them to help you practice the skills and gain the confidence you need in a low-stakes, supportive environment before you apply and interview for your goal summer internship." This value prop allows you to then determine your segmented audience - students looking for a summer internship - and what channels you are going to use to reach that audience - email, one-on-one career advising sessions, and career and internship fairs/events. This demonstrates how the network can help a student accomplish their goal or overcome a specific challenge they are facing.
The Who: Segment Your Audience
Segmenting your audience allows you to become more focused/targeted in your messaging and approach. It is more difficult to come up with an effective value prop for everyone than it is to target specific groups or types of people and build value props for them. While we likely invited all of your alumni and students by the end of your launch, it is important to continue to message your audience to keep driving signups, as well as messaging your members to boost activity. This is where segmenting can become very important. Schools have been more successful when they build value props and campaigns around specific industry segments, cities/regions they are trying to grow, or around members who have attended an event or participated in other related programming. When you start thinking of your audience based on their behavior or their needs/identities, compelling value propositions become easier to define.
The How: Using Multiple Channels
You will hear us say this over and over but you cannot over-market the network. You should use multiple channels to reach your audience and give them several reminders. The channels used most often are email, social media, your school's website, in-person or on-campus events, and the classroom/faculty networks. Depending on your audience and the value prop you are trying to communicate, one channel may make more sense, but overall it is best to reach members from as many channels as possible. This makes your network feel more real because your audience is seeing it promoted through several different school sponsored channels rather than just getting an email to sign up or seeing it on a flyer on campus.
Test It with Data
Wisr can help you pull all of these parts together and draw on our years of working with schools to grow their networks, but every school is different and your community members have unique needs so it is always important to test and adapt what you're doing based on the data and outcomes you see. Ahead of launching your network, we often recommend starting with alumni volunteers/alumni board members and specific students from a certain class, group or affinity to get feedback on the network. Starting with a smaller population and taking in their feedback, thoughts, and questions helps you tailor your marketing approach going forward. Additionally, after each big marketing push, take time to look at what worked and what didn't. Use the data available for you and ask yourself questions like, "Was this the right value proposition for this audience?", "Would they like to receive more or less messaging from us?", "What channel performed the best?", and "Did we correctly communicate how this audience could/should use the network?".