The Dos and Don’ts of University Marketing

University building

Looking for ways to make your university’s marketing stand out from its competitors? Start by learning the basics! Master the major advertising dos and don’ts to create a foolproof strategy. Then, evaluate how your current approach stacks up against these essential tips for effective marketing. 

DO: Create Approachable Content for a Younger Generation

Person typing blog post on computer

For many universities, the target market falls among young adults in Generation Z. Learn what excites, intrigues, and drives this audience’s behavior before planning your strategy. Then, turn these details into an integral part of your marketing plan by posting the most relevant creative on the platform with highest Gen Z traffic. Not sure what this approach may look like? Let’s take “gifs” for example. These moving images recently became the most popular way of describing moods or feelings, especially on Twitter. Use that knowledge to your advantage by incorporating common gifs into your tweeting strategy! Follow and implement all similar trends to receive the best response on each platform. 

DO: Send Your Message through Multiple Channels

Cell phone screen displaying multiple apps

It’s important to understand how young, connected consumers behave on the multiple channels they occupy. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, for example, all consume college students’ time on a regular basis — and that’s just within the digital sphere. Learn the behavioral patterns of each channel, then design creative that reflects the university, the individual platform, and its audience. Doing so creates the most authentic, effective marketing campaign. Plus, the more channels your brand appears on, the more brand awareness you’ll raise of your university and its unique programs.

DO: Host Contests and Giveaways

Sign reading "Giveaway"

As we all know, college students love free things. Because most live paycheck-to-paycheck, the possibility of winning an assortment of prizes thrills students, and creates positive buzz about the institution. Try putting together a giveaway basket filled with university merchandise to create a feeling of excitement in current and incoming students alike. Ask students to like, share, or comment on your post in order to enter the contest — this boosts your reach to an even wider audience.

DO: Be Original

Brainstorming target audience in a research document

Have your generic marketing efforts reached their full potential? Designing unique mailers, trying new social media content, and finding unique ways to reach your audience can help you stand out from the crowd. Research how other universities are marketing themselves, and then attack your own marketing with out-of-the-box tactics that put you far ahead of the rest. Don’t be afraid of a little trial and error, as long as you’re tracking your audience response to content and implementing your most successful techniques in the long run. 

DO: Get Students Involved in the Marketing Process

College student taking photos for university marketing

What better way to draw in potential students than by asking current students to help with marketing efforts? Utilize their creative minds to help you understand what Gen Z looks for in a university. Your enrolled students are your biggest advocates and the best resource for reaching and interacting with young adults on social media platforms. Build a team of content creators to attend events, post updates, and take photos to promote the best aspects of the institution through the eye of a real student.

DON’T: Focus Solely on Traditional Media

Industrial printer printing marketing material

Print marketing is still an effective way to advertise products and services. However, leveraging only traditional media can quickly alienate your desired demographic. Take advantage of highly targeted and inexpensive digital opportunities to create a larger audience. Social media has become an integral part of any savvy university’s marketing plan. Integrate old and new tactics to form a successful, holistic approach! Send postcards, flyers, and newsletters encouraging students to follow you online. Then, post more in depth and targeted information in these digital spaces to receive a higher viewership.

DON’T: Forget to Keep Your Audience Interest at Heart

College student holding text books

Avoid falling into the trap of assuming that today’s generation with have the same experiences you once had during your own college years. Keep in mind that every student embarks on a unique path, and your marketing should reflect the diverse number of opportunities within one institution. Yet, in effort to promote each program, club, and event on campus, you may run the risk of overwhelming your audience. Information overload can cause confusion and a sense that you don’t understand the student viewers. Work to find a happy medium that relays all the right info to those interested in learning more.

DON’T: Get Stuck in the Past

Charts and graphs reflecting survey results

Stay ahead of the game by working to anticipate the future. In today’s world, marketing and technology are moving forward at a rapid pace. Make sure keep on top of research to avoid wasting time on efforts that aren’t reaching your audience or utilizing the right technology. Ask questions as frequently as possible and record student feedback! Continuously checking in on their thoughts and feelings will only help better all present and future marketing.

Live by these basic dos and don’ts, and watch as your university marketing efforts grow beyond expectations. The additional effort it takes to bring your processes into the 21st century is well worth the ultimate payoff! For more quality tips and tricks, contact the experts in Print Tech’s marketing department.