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Simple Steps to Improve Your College Marketing

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There are more than 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States. To call higher education "a buyer's market" is an understatement for most schools. In fact, many colleges find themselves competing for the same students.

How do schools stand out?

Today's students are wary of advertising; they don't want to be marketed to. They want to engage in a two-way conversation that's relevant to who they are — and who they're hoping to become. And they want to participate in that dialogue in their own time and via channels they feel most comfortable with.

Millennials live online, so that's a natural place to start with student recruitment. But, don't underestimate the power
of more traditional vehicles, like direct mail, view books and open houses. Each individual touchpoint plays a part in the marketing conversation. So, you can move a student from suspect to prospect to applicant, and eventually to enrolled student.

Of course, student search is only part of your marketing mission. Other audiences may include parents, high school guidance counselors, alumni, donors, the media, and your community. Each segment needs targeted, personalized communication that builds your brand and persuades them to take action.

Here are some simple steps you can take to make your college marketing more effective:

1. Hone in on what truly makes your school unique. (Pictures of happy students? Been there. Done that.)

2. Personalize the mail in an interesting way. Give them a reason to hold onto what you've sent.

3. Think ROI, not cost-per-piece. Send a more impactful package to fewer — but better qualified — candidates.

4. Make sure your view book accurately depicts the student body. (If your school is 75% women, don't show pictures that are 75% men.)

5. Think outside the campus. Where else do students go? Feel free to highlight nearby cities, nature, nightlife, and attractions.

6. Make sure your school's online brand complements your offline. This not only builds a stronger personality, but it can provide significant cost-efficiencies. 

7. Test, test, test! Digital media gives you an opportunity to test messages, offers, and images that would be cost-prohibitive in traditional print media.

If you'd like more tips, request a FREE copy of our new booklet The Collegian. Just call the Queen B at 781.639.1028.

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