Generation Y and Z are seen as multi-tasking, Internet-savvy individuals, but it's hard to grab their attention. Growing up with advertisement bombardment and given an unfathomable amount of information at the edge of their fingertips, it is sometimes difficult to get past their filters. The Higher Education recruitment process is not much different than the advertising space, as a large number of schools compete to get the attention and future enrollment of high schoolers. As competition between elite schools increases, these colleges and universities are grasping at ways to differentiate themselves from the field. Here are some of the ways that they can stick out from the crowd and ultimately grab the attention of coveted prospective students.
Of the prospective students that complete applications online, only 15% of them do it on their first visit to a college’s site. If those students end up coming back to your site, you want to make sure their experience is enhanced in order to increase the chances that they actually go through with the application. This is where personalization comes into play.
Personalization is the practice of replacing generic content with personalized content based upon user segments and real-time analytical data. One simple way of integrating personalization into your recruiting process is by using the data received by prospective students when they interact with your site’s forms. If a user shares information about themselves through Contact Us forms, applications, or campus visit signups, their website activity can be tracked through a CRM system. From there, your communications team can send out personalized email messages and materials based upon what they are viewing on the site.
Whether it’s your website or social media platforms, imagery is an important aspect of creating a pleasurable experience for your users. The success stories of platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram are built off the foundation of high-quality images generated by users. Approximately 83% of human learning is visual, so it’s not surprising that these applications resonate well with people. When reaching out to prospects through social media platforms, it is best to incorporate some type of rich media in order to stick out from the crowd. This can come in many different forms, but some of the most common are video testimonials, infographics, and animation.
Another aspect of visuals that is commonly overlooked has to do with photography on a website. The most effective images are typically crisp, high-quality photos that accurately portray a brand. For a college website, these should include visuals of the campus and students that actually go to the college. Even though it only provides prospects a scoped view of the school, images can give them a general feel of what it’s like there.
As colleges try to find any way to differentiate their websites from their competitors, the use of interactivity has become more and more prevalent. Creating immersive experiences on a website not only adds a little bit of flair to a website, it can also generate excitement from potential students.
One of the ways of introducing an interactive component to the website is creating virtual campus tours. It’s no secret to colleges and universities that campus tours have a huge influence on student matriculation. While many funds get pushed into creating the perfect on-campus tour, higher education institutions need to think about students that physically can’t visit the campus right away. By creating a full digital tour experience, prospects have easy access to information and can get a sense of whether or not the school is a fit for them.