After more than a year of the pandemic and lockdowns prompting changes in human behaviour, where does that leave student marketing strategies, including traditional printed assets and physical events in an accelerated digital landscape?
Head of Campaigns at Net Natives, Joe was eager to explore the possibilities during his session at Think Student Live, and look to how you can resolve these challenges with creativity and disruption.
So let’s start with a loaded question… what now?
As live events, printed media and in-person connections have taken a step back, universities have had to think of new ways to innovate within their target markets in order to capture the attention of prospective students.
But with Covid restrictions blocking the usual channels of communication and distribution, what can institutions do with their budget? And where does the traditional prospectus fit into this new approach?
Well, you could simply convert from print to PDF, but don’t make the mistake of just uploading your document with a CTA like ‘download our online prospectus’ without addressing why someone should do this - what value are you adding? Is your content engaging? Does it convey the same on-campus feeling prospective students are looking for? If not, could it?
As the landscape continues to shift and evolve, it’s the perfect time to consider that your budget could be better spent elsewhere. Perhaps now is the time to try something new.
With a mix of digital strategy, and outside-of-the-box thinking, we have some ideas…
Showcase snippets of your digital prospectus across Tik Tok, Twitch and Snapchat, with existing students covering the information from your prospectus pages with user-generated content that drives ‘swipe ups’. It’s quick, it’s snappy and it captures attention.
Or take it one step further...
Create that university experience that prospective students know, love and crave in creative and disruptive ways. Whether that’s through experiential gifting, campus gamification, drive-in events, meet-the-influencer online meetups or scannable QR codes.
And just because it’s digital, doesn’t mean it can’t be creative...
Recently, hundreds of drones took over Shanghai’s night sky with a light show that ended with a giant QR code. The illuminated QR code, effectively a billboard advertisement in the air, was part of a light show put on by Chinese video-streaming company Bilibili on the first anniversary of the China release of the Japanese role-playing game Princess Connect.
Unignorable, attention grabbing and effective, disruptive activities like these invite your audience to engage, connect and learn more. Bringing them on board with your brand messaging and prompting direct action in a space where you might not normally expect it. Include scannable QR codes in your offline and traditional advertising, bringing it in line with your digital activity, allowing you to hyper-target your audience for growth and boost your performance on organic and earned media.
And then turn this into content opportunities. Advertise your innovative activity to amplify its impact and success. Engage prospects to interact with your ad campaigns, unlocking new information every step of their journey. This will not only help improve engagement on your owned and paid channels but, depending on how creative you get, could even help generate some additional earned media and brand awareness.
So, where does that leave printed assets and physical events in this accelerated digital landscape?
Gone are the days when brochures were sent in bulk to a list of addresses. Or Open Houses were merely a sea of people passively listening to professors. Students want connection, action, disruption and creativity. Give them no excuse not to react and engage by considering how to best communicate with them in this new landscape:
- Your digital strategy should be always-on, and as full-funnel as possible.
- If you continue to print a prospectus, include QR codes and opportunities to drive readers to digital content that will inform them and provide you with data to improve advertising.
- Ensure that your marketing is fully integrated, but always ties back to digital engagement and traffic.
- Go beyond your comfort zone and what your competitors are doing - be bold, brave, and stand out with attention-grabbing, disruptive marketing activity.
Focus on your digital strategy, get creative, and take your student recruitment to the next level with disruptive, innovative 360-degree marketing. And we can help you with just that. Get in touch with Joe and his team today. And don't forget to catch up with the Think Student Live Online on demand sessions today.