Best Practices for Marketing in Higher Education

The U.S. has some 20 million+ college students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. To marketers, this tech-savvy group of twentysomethings is probably more commonly thought of in terms of keg stands, spring break and slim wallets, than as consciously selective consumers.

This is a mistake.

Understanding how to approach this young market as a college or university involves so much more than your typical marketing approach. As a higher education institution, your marketing must track trends, incorporate digital media and speak to the audience in a “voice” that excites and motivates.

Making sure your school gets noticed is what we do best, so we’ve put together a few tips on how to really get your college or university noticed by the right students.

Don’t Assume Direct Mail is Dead: According to research by mStoner, in partnership with Chegg, 64% of teens say they prefer to consume college website content through text and articles. But what does this mean for your marketing team? The answer: Direct mail pieces shouldn’t be left out of the equation.

Not only can direct mail be cost-effective, but it can also be highly targeted and customized to fit the individual. As many as 55 % of people are eager to read their mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Addressing prospective or returning students by name can only enhance the experience and, ultimately, prompt excitement about your school or program.

Example: UC Riverside chose to send out a dimensional folder aimed at showing how different college is to accepted students. The piece starts off as a seemingly flat printed folder, but when you open it up, an intricate pop-up immediately rises from the center. Each corner of the piece featured individual mini folders, each containing step-by-step instructions on how to get started with enrollment.

Invest in Video Marketing: The stats are already there: 78% of people watch videos online every week and 55% watch videos online every day, according to research by HighQ. So, while your college or university need not invest in a production company or a cinematographer, it should invest in video marketing to its students.

Here’s how we see it: You have thousands of loyal brand advocates just waiting to share their experiences at your school. So, when it comes to reaching the right audience for your school, it’s smart to empower these people to tell YOUR story in an authentic way. Not only can this humanize your “brand”, but it creates an emotional connection for a generation that relies so heavily on the word of influencers, Yelp and product reviews.

Our video-in-print brochures offer an effective option when it comes to telling your story. One of the biggest advantages of combining these two mediums is the ability to enhance your brand messaging through engaging and supporting content. Video is highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for people to remember than text-based content. When consumers remember your video content, they, in turn, remember your brand. This can translate into better brand loyalty as well as more sales and leads.

Track Your Analytics: Today there are so many messages competing with yours on the web. How do you get people to visit your school’s website and click-through your communications? We use various web drivers to help take your prospective student from print to digital. Plus, we’ll provide you with campaign analytics to help you learn who is visiting, for how long, and what they are interested in.

Not only can analytics tell you how successful you’ve been with reaching your target demographic, but it can also help you maximize (and when it comes time, also justify) your paid media budget.

Give Your School Dimension: Your college or university isn’t like any other, so why would you want your student population or, better yet, your marketing to be any different? When reaching out to prospective or returning students, it’s important to stand out from the crowd and deliver your story in a trendy, engaging way.

Our dimensional direct mail formats deliver your message wrapped in an engaging interactive experience. When students are considering their options, the message that was inventive, engaging and memorable will be top-of-their-minds. We can make sure that message will be yours.

Example: Seton Hall University chose our Rolling Cube to deliver information on their university to prospective students. This is one of our most interactive pieces. When you pull the cube from the mailer it keeps unfolding to reveal multiple cubes of information. See it in action below.

For more ideas for how to market in higher education, click here.

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