Early in The Marketing of Higher Education, the first installment of a new Verticals educational series from the international paper company Sappi North America, the writers and editors offer a quick review of solid marketing practices for colleges and universities.
Acknowledging that most of these won’t be revelatory to admissions teams, the “Tips and Reminders” on pages 10 and 11 of the issue serves as a nice refresher on what to do and what to remember when trying to reach prospective students.
The first tip — plan first, then adapt — is something near and dear to Capture Higher Ed. We’re constantly preaching the importance of adaptability and agility when keeping up with the ever-evolving interests and needs of adolescents throughout a recruitment season.
“Consider engaging an outside partner to conduct a communication flow analysis and craft a plan that is right for your school,” Sappi suggests. (Good suggestion.)
The other “Tips and Reminders” from Sappi include:
Enlist alumni support. Not only are alumni outstanding university ambassadors to the larger world, “successful alumni help raise a school’s academic reputation and draw students who seek to follow in their footsteps.”
Point out what’s special about your school. “One size does not fit all when it comes to colleges,” Sappi points out. We should know. Capture partners represent all the sizes and all the shapes.
Make it fun and engaging. Be creative. “Help applicants explore what your school has to offer by creating games, puzzles, quizzes and the like.”
Go beyond academic offerings. “Applicants want to know what student life is like.”
Make it personal. “Use the student’s first name in direct mail and email communication. Organize faculty, alumni and current students to be available to answer their questions and concerns.”
Benchmark your recruitment campaign. Utilize software to “track who visits your website, what sections they visit, what pages they spend time on, etc.”
Take them on a tour of the neighborhood. “There is is more to student life than what occurs on campus.”
Remember that parents are paying attention. Parents are interested in “graduation rates, career opportunities, tuition, housing costs, financial aid, safety, academic ranking” and more.
You can go here to request a copy of the new Verticals.