Picking the right college or university is a daunting decision. One that needs to be evaluated and well thought out. Is it the right location for me? Do they offer the right programs? Does it look like it could be a fun place to be? Is the price right? There are so many variables to consider, so how do you convince a prospective student that your school is the one for them? There are so many ways, but today we are highlighting 2 that we think are invaluable.

Engage them on Social Media

The first step is getting their attention, and with an average attention span of 8.25 seconds (down from 12.5 in 2000!), that is not easy! Gen Z was basically raised on mobile devices, with access to all of the information they are looking for literally at their fingertips, which is why it’s pivotal to instantly engage and hook this audience on social media before they swipe up.

Make sure you have all the social media media platforms Gen Z cares about set up, mainly YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat (in order according to this report). Then show off! Show off your campus, behind-the-scenes tours, any special events you may be hosting, sporting events, a new faculty member, students having fun, a student’s unique achievement, a student success story etc. You get the gist. The idea is to deliver a personalized experience to prospective students versus filling up their feed with generic ads.

Once they start engaging with you, make sure you interact with them! It humanizes their experience and lets them know you are actually paying attention.

Entertain them because Gen Z likes to be entertained. According to a report by Morning Consult, Gen Z will most likely follow an influencer if “they produce content and information in a very entertaining way.”

By now, we’ve all seen or heard of “a day in the life” posts by college students. These are extremely powerful student-centric user-generated videos that tell the story of what it’s actually like to be a student at that school. The key to their success is making them fun, light and engaging and colleges are recognizing their value by replacing generic photographs with dynamic social feeds on their website.

This is just one example:

But how do you encourage students to talk about you on your various social media platforms? Get creative. One way is to solicit student ambassadors to talk about your school. One report reveals that 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers relate to YouTube creators more than they do to conventional celebrities. Run a contest. Encourage your students to post about your school using campaign-specific hashtags and the one with the most likes wins.

Engage them with Dimensional Print

Unlike social media, you can’t swipe up with direct mail, but you can, of course, toss it. However, mail tends to be held onto longer than most advertising. In fact, a recent study found that people hold onto their mail for an average of 17 days. When you combine direct mail with great design and compelling copy we believe that number to be much higher. Unconventional direct mail, or the kind that is not a postcard or letter, is more likely to stand out, be retained for future reference and shared with others. After all, this audience likes to be entertained.

Colleges are leveraging the power of direct mail to get prospective students excited about their school. They know that 90% of direct mail gets opened and 42% of recipients read or scan the direct mail they receive. They are also using direct mail to bridge the gap between print and digital by using unconventional mail to encourage prospective students to talk about them on social media. Digital elements like NFC tags, Augmented Reality and QR codes are being used drive students online for exclusive virtual tours and behind-the-scenes experiences.

Here are some examples:

University of Windsor

The University of Windsor used this mailer to increase acceptance rates by getting accepted students excited about joining their school. The center of the mailer featured a QR code that launched a YouTube video highlighting testimonials from current students. The back of the mailer encouraged students to share their excitement on social media.

Asbury University Recruitment Mailer

Asbury University used this mailer to recruit prospective students to their school. The mailer shipped flat but nearly doubled in size when opened. The inside featured colorful imagery of the campus and students on multiple die-cuts as well as an admissions link prominently displayed on the front.

Asbury University Pop Up Cube

Asbury University used this Pop Up Cube to send information about its school to prospective students. This mailer shipped flat, but when you opened it up, a cube immediately popped out from the inside to deliver information to the recipient. The inside of the outer sleeve featured additional information about the university.

Portage College Delivers a Special Offer

Portage College used our patented slider to encourage prospective students to participate in a special offer. The cover of the mailer featured the offer and when you pull out the tab, a panel slides out and locks to reveal a unique URL and QR code that students could visit or scan to learn more.

In Conclusion

We believe when it comes to this audience, social media and direct mail go hand in hand. Delivering the information prospective students need is super important but being creative, distinctive and delivering an experience that stands out from the others is where the sweet spot is. Be unique and different in your approach. Deliver a distinct direct mail piece that sparks a conversation on your social media platforms like our US partners, Structural Graphics, did with this unique pop up owl mascot.

If you are looking to excite and recruit students, we are here to help. We have hundreds of designs on our website that can be used to get your future students talking about you now. Contact us to get started.

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