It's hard to look past benefits gained from parent engagement, whether you have a dedicated parent engagement department or not. Here at CampusESP, we like to call it 'nudging the nudgers': keeping parents informed and up to date can only help students stay on track to graduation. And, with an increasing reliance on net-tuition revenue but increasing costs of college, taking even simple steps to engage with parents and families can help.
Blackboard's recent focus on parent engagement translates well to higher education. Take a look at their steps (in partner with Peachjar's webinar) towards a simple parent and family outreach strategy, which can easily inform - or refresh - your outreach efforts. We've reposted them below, edited for brevity and to better relate the points to your college populations.
CampusESP's quick takeaways for successful parent engagement: make it digital, visual, reliable, and relatable. Be authentic, real, and simple. Keep content easy to find - and, especially, correct and relevant.
1: Visuals are important.
Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and they also receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs when used in a Facebook post. Use of color in a newsletter has shown to increase a parent’s willingness to read by 80%, and use of video in a social media post or an email has shown to increase click-through rates by 200-300%.
2: Make it brief.
The average human attention span is just 8 seconds – 8 SECONDS! That’s less than that of a goldfish. Which means that content for parents must be quick and to the point.
3: Go mobile.
Parents rely on mobile to access the Internet. Website should utilize responsive design to ensure parents can easily view its content on their mobile devices. Since millennial parents spend a great deal of time on their phone, this is a great place to connect with parents through email, blogs and social media.
4. Share the school's cause.
Another characteristic of millennials is their affinity towards brands that support a cause. If a school wanted to build loyal supporters, they need only share their “why” with parents.
5: Master your Google search results
The overwhelming majority of parents use Google to conduct any kind of research. That’s why it’s important that what they find during their search is positive and valuable. Since few ever go past the first page of Google, producing new and relevant content will push old, washed-up news to the back.