Student marketing programs fuel customer acquisition for leading software companies like Intuit and Tableau. They know it pays dividends to get these young prospects using their products at a time when they’re embracing new tools and brands, and they understand this exposure leads to students becoming full-priced customers when they graduate.
Student seeding programs create an incredible opportunity to grow initial adoption, but to really profit from them, your strategy has to include a mechanism to convert students to full paying subscribers and the ability to directly nurture them until they’re ready to.
In our previous blog post on this topic, we explored the obstacles to conversion that companies face when they go to market with a limited version of their product for students, and we explained how Digital Verification (and reverification) overcomes them.
But the question remains: how do you ensure that students have the kind of experience that will get them to convert?
This is the final part of the equation and the critical factor to getting it right is having a direct relationship with each student.
Universities Can’t Fully Broker Your Student Relationships
Some software companies try to seed the student market by delivering their product to students through university licenses. This can help cultivate brand awareness and provides an institutional stamp of approval, which is valuable. And university-wide licenses can encourage blanket adoption, which gives you broad exposure.
But this approach can leave you on the sidelines. University license coordinators and IT staff have significant demands on their time, and their priority is to manage software rollouts. They’re not as concerned about delivering your gleaming updates quickly, and even less invested in how students are actually using your product.
When you forgo the ability to communicate directly to students one on one, you:
- Don’t know who is using your software.
- Can’t announce new releases or share other product information.
- Forgo the opportunity to cultivate a full and satisfying adoption
And even if a university gives you one-on-one contact information, you might still be hamstrung because a student’s .edu email address – which is often associated with enrollment – comes with its own problems.
Sixty-eight percent of college students keep their .edu address for the year after they graduate, and some colleges encourage alumni to keep it for the rest of their lives, so it’s possible students could maintain their discounted access indefinitely. And if their .edu address does expire when they graduate, you lose the opportunity to nurture and convert them.
Establish and Leverage a Direct Relationship to Build Brand Advocates
Smart companies like Tableau and Intuit prioritize the kind of direct relationships with student users that lead to full-priced conversions. And they use Digital Verification to do it.
With Digital Verification, a student simply provides a few points of personal information to receive discounted or free access to your full version software. The process instantly verifies their eligibility, which protects your offer and prevents you from losing money to fraudulent redemptions.
It also gives you the information you need to directly nurture students into full-priced customers. Here’s how you do that:
- Provide training. Direct students to your online training resources, or create new ones designed specifically for their classroom use. The more fully they use your software, the more valuable it becomes to them when they graduate.
- Keep them in the loop. Communicate with them regularly about product updates and new releases. Make sure they have access to your latest and greatest version.
- Establish support networks and invite them to join. Create gated forums and discussion groups that give them a chance to exchange their knowledge with other students and build a community around your brand.
- Supply useful, ongoing content. Send them tips and tricks, best practices, even professional use cases and job postings to get them thinking about a life after school that includes your product.
You can even utilize the data you receive from the verification process, like major or year in school, to further personalize your marketing efforts.
Reverify Eligibility and Monetize Your Program
One of the beautiful things about Digital Verification is it gives you the ability to regularly re-verify students’ eligibility for the discount you’re giving them.
Not only does this continue to keep your offer secure, it let’s you know when it’s time to ask them to become a full-paying customer, or to pitch an interim offer for the transition period between college and the real world. A leading music subscription service uses SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform to convert 98% of their student discount customers to full price after graduation.
Digital Verification is what enables you to cash in on all your hard work.
Reap the Long-Term Benefits
Student seeding programs are a smart long-term strategy for software companies. You’ll entrench your product in businesses by creating a pipeline of young talent that enters the workforce fluent in your tools. And you’ll gain new customers when these alumni introduce your software to other workplaces that have yet to adopt it.
Create Instant Trust in a Digital World
Let’s talk about how SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform can help you earn loyal, long-term customers from your student marketing program.