Are You Marketing To Your Prospective Students Effectively?
Published on 05/07/17
Have you ever really thought about who you're marketing to? Of course you have, but we mean really thought about stepping into their shoes in attempt to appeal to their interests. The prospective students of today live in a completely different world to those of 10 years ago.
Just as we were starting to get used to Millennials, we now have a new breed of kids to get our heads around, and let me tell you; they're not the easiest ones to crack. They are swifter, smarter, digital natives who haven't got time for content that's not worth their time. Formally known as "Generation Z".
Their fast-paced, finger-tapping, fidget-spinning lives delve into the next level realm of marketing and advertising. But lets begin by cutting back to the foundations of Generation Z and in order to truly know them, we have to understand their predecessors; the Millennials.
This demographic cohort (also known as "Generation Y") have birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s and 2000s.
Although their characteristics vary by region, this generation is notable for their increased use and familiarity with communication, media, and digital technologies alongside a more liberal approach to politics and economics.
The seven basic traits assigned to Millenials are: special, sheltered, confident, team-orientated, conventional, pressured, and achieving.
This demographic cohort follows from the Millennials, with birth years ranging from mid 90s to early 2000s. This generation are known as being comfortable with technology, with the majority of their socialising taking place on social media.
They have no recollection of a land-line phone, they don't remember a world without broadband (remember that good old dial-up tone) and they probably haven't had the pleasure of renting a DVD from Blockbuster. They are digital natives.
Digital natives: Children raised in a digital, media saturated world, require a media-rich learning environment to hold their attention. Their increased exposure to technology has changed the way they interact and respond to digital devices.
Generation Z are; less focused, better multi-taskers, tolerant, cautious, entrepreneurial, less patient, individual, and global.
So what should you be doing to grab this generation by the horns and really show them what you're made of? Let's start with fishing.
We've said it before. We'll say it again. Be SOCIAL!
Statistics show that today's teens spend more time on social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook than any other sites. They use these channels to not only communicate with one another, but to connect with their favourite brands, learn things, and stay in the know to avoid experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out).
So fish where the fish are - I bet you were wondering what we meant about the fishing reference earlier weren't you?
Make sure you have a strategy in place for engaging these social networks and figure out how this fits into your conversion process as a whole.
Yes - you guessed it. It's got to be visually engaging. If you're going to grab and maintain the attention of potential students you need to stand out on their social feeds and then ensure your website is easy to navigate and good-looking.
If you have an old fashioned, slow or uninspiring website, you will very quickly lose the interest of your website visitors. Use photography, infographics, video and gifs to keep those bounce rates at bay.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Generation Z - as previously mentioned - are rather impatient. If something doesn't provide them with what they wanted or expected, in an effective format, they will either think it's broken or outdated and they simply won't waste their time on it.
HOWEVER - they're not the only ones! Almost all readers of digital content begin with scanning the entire piece before deciding whether the content is truly worth the read.
You can make your content easier to consume by using subheadings bullet points, short paragraphs, and appropriate imagery.
All good brands engage and connect with their audiences through emotion. This is exactly why you need to start thinking of your school as a brand. Telling your school's story will help you stand out from the sea of sameness and bring your school to life.
An effective use of photography and videography will help to engage the already short attention span of prospective students.
We've talked about this before in the post about landing pages and why you need them but just in-case you missed it; in order to nurture any prospective students who visit your website, you need to get their contact information.
WARNING: Do not ask for too much information! Generation Z are extremely cautious and won't want to commit to sharing their personal details on their first engagement.
Creating engaging, helpful content followed by landing pages for gated content (such as your school prospectus), will help you obtain their details. When you have their permission to send them email updates, you should set up a work-flow to nurture your prospects to the next stage in the funnel.
You can't fake authenticity. Your message, ethos, photography, video, content; it all has to follow the same theme. Be honest, genuine and real. Give your website visitors a glimpse into daily life at your school by using real stories from students.
Testimonials, case studies, examples of work, a day in the life videos - they will all contribute to building a holistic, authentic brand experience. The more authentic you appear, the more likely prospective students will believe in your marketing - avoiding any eye-rolls from stereotypical school marketing jargon.