by Sarah K Perlman | Nov 19, 2022 | Branding, Campaigns, Email Marketing, Social Media
This guest post was written by Sadie Aram for Silverbrook Marketing.
The United States is home to over 4,000 higher education institutions, and each one is competing for the attention of prospective students. If that doesn’t produce enough stress already, college enrollment numbers have been on a decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s important for higher education marketing teams to implement engaging and effective campaigns to reach future attendees. If you’re struggling to spread the word about what your school has to offer, make sure you have these four strategies in your marketing plan.
1. Personalize the experience.
Use emotional marketing to connect with potential students. They will be better able to see themselves at a school that recognizes and addresses their unique needs. Tailor your message to specific groups based on marketing personas developed from existing demographic data. A persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal candidate that can help you envision the audience you’re appealing to. It can look something like this:
“Alexis is a 19-year-old high school senior. She is a section leader for the marching band and excels in her honors classes. She hopes to pursue a career in engineering when she is older. Alexis values a strong community and hopes to have security in her adult life.”
Each student has a different motive for pursuing higher education, so your institution should develop multiple personas appealing to small groups with like interests. For example, you wouldn’t market to a high school student the same way you would market to a mother looking to further her education.
2. Spotlight success.
College is no small commitment to make, so students want to get a glimpse of what’s waiting for them. Showcase student, faculty, and alumni achievement to demonstrate to prospective students the influence that their education could have on their future.
Showcasing success doesn’t require someone to be the next Albert Einstein or Brad Pitt. Are professors conducting innovative research? Are alumni holding impressive positions at high-profile companies? Are student organizations making an impact on the world? These are all feats to celebrate, and they could be strong factors in someone’s decision to choose your school.
And don’t stop at academic success! Any achievement—whether in athletics, art, entertainment, etc.—is a great way to spotlight your institution in a positive way.
3. Highlight the numbers.
When making critical decisions, we tend to rely on data evidence to inform our choices. Numbers help prove the effectiveness of your institution in a tangible way. Data reinforces your school’s success, and numbers are easier to consume than a chunk of text that portrays the same information.
Does your college have an impressive selection of majors and minors? A high freshman retention rate? A small student-to-professor ratio? Don’t be afraid to brag and show them off! Have general facts and figures easily accessible as well, such as total number of students, price of tuition, and average test scores of admitted students.
4. Adopt a digital-focused approach.
Most of today’s students belong to Generation Z, a group characterized by more digital media usage than ever before. Establishing a space for your institution in the digital world is a foolproof strategy for grabbing your audience’s attention. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Build a responsive website: Your website is often the first place students will look for more information about your school. Additionally, over half of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Because of this, be sure that your website is well-organized and mobile-friendly. Make requesting more information easy and use your website as a gateway for your other digital platforms.
- Improve SEO: Most people rely on search engines like Google to find the information they need. However, 75% of Google users don’t click past the first page of results, so search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to your digital success. You can bolster your SEO rankings by producing a variety of content and researching the best keywords to incorporate, but this is a highly technical field. The best results often come from the help of an expert.
- Email with intention: Students prefer email over direct mail, but you don’t want to end up in their spam folder. Remember to personalize your messages to peak your reader’s interest. You can streamline this process by using email automation software like Constant Contact or Mailchimp.
- Stay active on social media: A recent study showed that 94% of Gen Z use social media, so it’s a no-brainer that you should, too. Be sure you’re frequently posting consistent content to entice your audience. Consider posting various formats and subjects, including photos of campus, infographics, videos, and live streams.
- Leverage user-generated content: Amplifying images, videos, reviews, and other assets created by your followers is a great way to influence potential students. Having many different viewpoints from your connections gives your brand an authentic presence and gives students an exclusive look into the university lifestyle.
What do you think? Have you tried these strategies? Are there any that I missed? We’d love to hear from you!
by Sarah K Perlman | Oct 25, 2022 | Campaigns, Email Marketing, Nonprofits, Social Media
This guest post was written by Sadie Aram for Silverbrook Marketing.
Autumn has arrived, which means the giving season is fast approaching. Nearly a third of annual giving occurs in the last month of the year, and the best way to kickstart charitable contributions to your organization is with a Giving Tuesday campaign.
Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a generosity movement that amplifies charity across the globe. Last year, supporters donated almost 3 billion dollars across 80 countries. With Giving Tuesday coming up on its 10th anniversary, contributions will likely increase in 2022. Now is the perfect time to start engaging your donors by planning a Giving Tuesday marketing campaign. Use these 8 tips to develop your strategy.
1. Don’t forget the basics.
If you are accepting monetary donations, make sure to set up your collection system before you start your marketing campaign. If you opt for a third-party collection platform like Donorbox, GoFundMe, or Paypal, make a test donation to ensure that your donation page is working. Once you’ve confirmed that your page is working, include the donation link in easy-to-find places, like the organization’s website and social media bios.
2. Define your goal.
Having measurable and attainable goals will allow you to track the progress of your campaign and evaluate your strategy for optimization in the future. Once set, you can share your donation goals with your stakeholders so they can see how impactful their contribution will be.
3. Stay on brand.
Maintaining brand consistency during your Giving Tuesday campaign is crucial, as your goal should align with your existing tone and voice. The visual identity of your brand should stay true to your organization’s previous posts and emails. Don’t confuse your audience; make them identify with you even more than before.
4. Start early.
A successful Giving Tuesday requires careful planning, and the earlier you begin, the better your campaign will be. Most importantly, determine the best way to reach your audience and engage your target donors more effectively. This could be through social media, email marketing, direct mail, a live event, or a mix of channels.
Even though Giving Tuesday falls on November 29 this year, it’s a good idea to introduce Giving Tuesday to your audience soon to build up the hype of the upcoming movement. And always promote your cause in your communications! Tell your audience what their donations will support and make them feel like part of an important cause.
5. Use social media to amplify your cause.
Giving Tuesday revolves around the idea of online giving, so use your social media platforms to spread the word. Don’t wait to post until Giving Tuesday, though. Build awareness before the occasion and educate your followers on the best ways to support your nonprofit. Some best practices for your social media campaign include but are not limited to:
- Providing a clear call to action (donate, volunteer, repost, etc.)
- Using the Giving Tuesday logo in your graphics.
- Leveraging timely and fundraising-centered hashtags such as #GivingTuesday, #CommunityOutreach, #DonateNow, #Nonprofits, and more.
- Creating captivating graphics that include information about your causes and goals for Giving Tuesday.
- Update your supporters on the progress your organization has made because of its fundraising efforts.
- Posting videos and live streaming events as they are happening (they capture the user’s attention longer than a graphic).
6. Polish your email marketing strategy.
Social media isn’t the only digital marketing channel that you should utilize this Giving Tuesday. 99% of email users check their inbox daily, and over half of users check their email before checking their social media accounts. Like your social media strategy, identify the occasion to your contacts before Giving Tuesday. Your email campaign should include a clear call to action and updates on fundraising progress. Email is the perfect opportunity to tell an engaging story and explain the benefits of donating to your cause. Here is a loose timeline for your Giving Tuesday emails. Each message should build upon the last:
- One month before Giving Tuesday: Introduce your participation in Giving Tuesday and your donation goal. Start telling your story and the reasons why your cause is important.
- One week before Giving Tuesday: Acknowledge your contact’s previous support for your organization. Continue your storytelling and describe how a certain dollar amount will impact your organization ($25 can do X, $50 can give x).
- One day before Giving Tuesday: Remind supporters that the occasion is soon. Build upon your previous email. Make sure you have confirmation emails thanking your donors.
- Morning of Giving Tuesday: “Today is the day!” Ensure that your request is clear and has a defined call to action.
- During Giving Tuesday: Update contacts on fundraising progress. Whether you have met your goal or not, encourage more support!
- After Giving Tuesday: Report your final numbers and thank supporters for their final contribution. Encourage them to contribute even if they weren’t able to on Giving Tuesday.
7. Say thank you.
After your Giving Tuesday success, it’s important to send a thank you note to your donors. Handwritten notes are the most personalized approach, but they may be a logistically difficult. An email can send the same message with ease, and some supporters may also appreciate a social media shoutout. Regardless of the way you show your gratitude, this step is crucial and should occur immediately after the event. It reinforces the organization’s relationship with the supporter and can increase donor retention.
8. Measure your success.
Like any campaign, you should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your Giving Tuesday strategy. What worked? What didn’t? What should you change for the next donation campaign? After all, Giving Tuesday is only the start of the most popular season for charitable gifts and some content can be reused throughout December.
Need more help to boost your Giving Tuesday Campaign? Book a call with Sarah to build a custom strategy for your organization.