Colleges are realizing it takes much more than a pamphlet and campus tour to enroll their ideal student. In fact some non-profits are allocating an unprecedented amounts, sometimes more than 20% of their annual revenues, to their marketing efforts. Gone are the days when an institution’s name alone could fill a freshman class.
However, it’s a bleak world when it comes to higher ed marketing creativity. Many schools have similar messaging, such as, “Let’s Do This” or “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” You may have even see a dozen or so “Life’s Calling,” messages across college campuses.
That’s because most schools are only scratching the surface when it comes to their marketing message. They are doing themselves a huge disservice by not researching and analyzing their messaging and audience. If you want to stand out in the higher ed marketing world, you need to craft a unique marketing message.
Inflexion Interactive has compiled 3 easy steps that will allow for your school to break through the higher education marketing noise and reach your ideal candidate.
Identify Your Target
Data and technology are a marketer’s greatest tool in higher education. Through different digital marketing tactics, colleges and universities are able to recognize what types of people would be a good fit and they are able to target them as potential applicants. By analyzing available data from admissions, statistics collected from the school’s website, digital campaigns, and social channels, marketers are able to begin to build intelligent personas of who their prospective students really are.
Narrowing down personas can be a daunting task, but one that will pay off with a little bit of effort. According to a report by higher education consultancy, Noel-Levitz, after cost and academic reputation, personalized attention prior to enrollment (i.e. how candidates were treated throughout the admissions process) is an important factor when deciding where to enroll. The only way your marketing can be personalized is by truly getting to know who your prospects are.
Focus On Solutions
Once personas have been perfected, a targeted message can be developed. Marketers are able to understand who their ideal prospective students are and what makes them tick by collecting and analyzing data.
What are applicants’ interests? What strifes have applicants experienced that have gotten them to where they are today? How is your institution going to help applicants reach their unique goals?
Since you’ve done your homework and know who you’re targeting, your messaging can specifically answer their direct concerns and pain points. This type of targeting allows candidates to feel recognized and special, as if the institution is speaking to them. This will leave a lasting impression when they’re choosing colleges and universities.
Be Clear, Concise and Consistent
Keep your marketing message simple. You want your college’s message to be clear to all, while making an impact on your target. If your message is too busy or you’re trying to tell too much about your institution, you’re going to miss the mark.
In addition to keeping the message clear, consistency is key. Everything from colors, to wording, to imagery are all vital. This is especially important when it comes to different departments within a college or university. While you may want to distinguish different programs, keeping the overall marketing message of the larger university is more important for brand recognition.
Higher education marketing is a noisy place but by following these 3 steps your university’s brand will naturally develop a unique voice. Looking for some inspiration? Check out one school we think has perfected their marketing message.