Legacy mothers are the heart and soul of their family. They’re also one of the most powerful allies you can get in enrollment marketing.
A while back, I talked about a recent study that put new light on something enrollment marketers already knew… kind of.
We all know that mothers are important to traditional undergrad students who’re making college choices.
But honestly, we haven’t paid that much attention to them.
For decades, moms and dads have been content to go along for the ride with their young, budding scholars.
They have always cared about their children’s happiness and success, which means they always cared about their child’s college choice.
But for at least two or maybe three generations, parents took a “Well, this is their life” kind of approach to the situation.
This dynamic has changed.
It seems there are several reasons for this change in college decision behavior.
First, the rising cost of college means that making the right college choice is even more critical.
Families living with tight budgets cannot afford to have their children studying at colleges or universities that do not serve their best interests.
Secondly, the parenting philosophy of the past generation has become much more proactive.
“Helicopter parents” is what they’re being called in many circles, although I don’t really care for that term. It makes it seem like new parents are too controlling when I think they’re actually just trying to do their best for their kids.
For good or bad, new parents are certainly more “hands on” than previous generations.
Lastly, technology has really changed how often parents communicate with their children, making parents more involved in decision making.
In this post, I want to talk about a powerful enrollment marketing ally: legacy mothers.
Legacy mothers are moms who’ve graduated from your school.
As an alumna, she’s an important constituent who should be receiving ongoing marketing communications from your school.
But as a mom with high-school children, she should rise on the priority list.
SIDENOTE: A lot of what I’m going to say can be used to market to legacy fathers. But in my experience, generally the mother is more involved in the discovery process.
Why focus on legacy mothers?
1. She doesn’t need you to explain who you are.
Legacy mothers know your brand. They don’t need nearly as much explanation, making storytelling, announcements, and landing pages much easier to create.
While you should always spend some time crafting and then tweaking your messaging to improve marketing results, with legacy mothers, you have much more flexibility. She can fill in the gaps of your messaging with her own experience at your school.
2. She went to college and therefore, her kids are more likely to do so.
According to the study above, first-generation students are less likely to have involved parents.
Not having graduated from college, some parents don’t see it as entirely necessary.
But in most cases, it’s because parents who didn’t go to college are more likely to be working long hours and have less time to spend helping their children look for higher education options.
And in all cases, parents who didn’t go to college may feel that they just don’t know how to help their child pick.
If you didn’t go yourself, how would you know what to look for?
On the other hand, college-educated parents tend to be much more involved in the college decision process for the opposite of all the above reasons.
3. You (should) already have her contact info.
…And have her permission to market to her.
Capturing leads is a large (and costly) part of the marketing process.
More importantly, as former students, you already have a natural permission to send them marketing content – also saving you time and money in the lead-generation process.
So how do you cultivate legacy mothers?
Alumni Facebook Groups
I wouldn’t create a Facebook group just for legacy mothers, but alumni Facebook groups are an excellent place to market to legacy mothers.
Moms in general tend to be more active on Facebook than their male counterparts. Of course, women tend to be more active on Pinterest too, but Facebook is a better medium for conversations.
Alumni Content Pieces
In your Facebook groups, post content links that are helpful and interesting to legacy mothers such as…
- Paying for college,
- Campus security,
- Codes of conduct,
- Graduation employment rates,
- Spiritual development, and
- Testimonies from other student parents.
Posting testimonies from other legacy mothers is a great way to get interest from other moms.
I also recommend posting quotes and articles from your school’s president or other esteemed staff and faculty.
There are hundreds of ways to host alumni gatherings, but if you’re targeting legacy mothers, design your events in a way that will appeal to them.
- Place events near the suburbs if possible.
- Schedule events at reasonable hours during the day as these moms have kids that need to go to school in the morning and be picked up in the afternoon.
- Use venues that are more community-oriented like a church or school hall instead of a corporate, business-like venue.
- Use Facebook events or evite.com to manage RSVP’s.
- Make it fun with door prizes and ice-breakers so the alumnae get to know one another.
Include Them in Your Comm Flow
I’ve mentioned before on this blog how my son’s school used to CC me and my wife on every communication piece they sent to him.
This way, we were always in the loop on where he was at in his application process.
Including us also prompted many discussions about his upcoming decision and the school.
Putting us in the comm flow was absolutely genius – which is why you should absolutely be including legacy mothers in your comm flow!
Legacy Mothers are your greatest ally.
If you’re like most schools and have let go of marketing to parents, now is the time to get back in the game.
Keep legacy mothers high on your list of priorities. They won’t let you down!
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