High-value content … Videos and infographics … Selling the experience … From email to video to social media, identifying and understanding the best ways to communicate with prospective students — members of Generation Z — is a constant evolution.
During Capture Higher Ed’s webinar, Top Ways to Market to Generation Z, marketing experts Sean Hill and Jacqui Weishaar outlined some of the ways Capture approaches communicating with these students in a new way.
“The main message is that we’re evolving,” says Jacqui, Capture’s senior communications specialist. “We’re still going to evolve after this webinar. And my hope is that this inspires you to keep evolving.”
Here are eight ways Sean and Jacqui say colleges and universities can better market to Generation Z.
- Be authentic. Don’t be cookie cutter. Don’t create marketing content in which another school’s name could replace yours and it would still make sense. Be unique to your institution. Gen Z doesn’t want anything that isn’t real. They want to know the brand and the person behind the email and behind the camera. Consider employing a no photoshop, no stock image policy. What makes your school stand out? What’s important to you? What makes you distinct? What do you offer that no one else has?
- Use student voices to tell your story. If you use your students to tell your story, they become influencers. That’s the voice that prospective students want to hear. There’s no other school that can use your students’ voices, so it’s another way to be authentic and distinct — again, to not be cookie cutter.
- Communicate visually. One of the main ways you can do this is by communicating through videos. Your prospective students love YouTube! Studies have found that 95 percent of Gen Z watch YouTube regularly. Also, use engaging graphics, emojis, gifs and eye-catching photos of your students.
- Encourage the student to get connected through social media. Use your emails and ads as opportunities for your prospects to connect with your school through social media. Create social media packages for your prospects — send them cover photos and other elements they can use for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. This is another way to meet them where they are and giving them something they can share with their friends and peers.
- Focus on affordability. Put messages about finances and affordability upfront with students. More than ever, they are worried about student debt; this generation does not want it. They want to go to your school but not be trampled by tons of debt when they get out.
- Meet the student where they are. Use marketing automation like Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE), which allows you to give prospective students messages, in real time, based on their behavior on your website. How do you communicate with a student who said he was interested in engineering three years ago but has visited seven nursing pages on your website in the past week? You should probably tell him more about your nursing program.
- Get to the point quickly. Don’t bury your prospective students in content. That’s not what this generation wants. Their average attention span, according to some studies, is 8 seconds and falling. Make your content simple and direct. Get to the point quickly. Don’t write more. Write smarter.
- Try new things! “That’s my call to action for all of you,” Jacqui says in the webinar. “We’ve done a lot of research on who this Gen Z audience is and now our job is to try new things and experiment, evolve and change.”
To find out what Capture has learned about how to market to Generation Z — and see some examples and hear more tips about effectively communicating with this unprecedented generation of young people — watch the webinar, Top Ways to Market to Generation Z.
By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed