ed Social Media | Exploring the Role of Social Media in Education
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What are the best marketing personas for enrollment marketing? Here’s a guide to creating your enrollment marketing personas.
Enrollment marketing personas are profiles of imaginary persons who represent your audience.
They are a composite character made up of all the general traits that you know about your target audience(s) based on the information that you have in your files and some strategic guesses on your part.What are the best marketing personas for enrollment marketing? Here’s a guide to creating your enrollment marketing personas.
Here’s an example of an enrollment marketing persona we created for a private university client. If you’re an independent school, your enrollment marketing personas should still include a lot of the same information.
Enrollment marketing personas help make your marketing messages resonate deeply with your audiences.
Enrollment marketing personas put a human face on the data to help marketers better understand buying triggers and move audiences towards those desired behaviors.
And for creative activities like copywriting or graphic design, having a person in mind, even if it’s a fictitious person, is extremely helpful when making creative decisions.
For example, if you were going to write a marketing piece for our persona, Robert, you wouldn’t want to use the expression “this is going to be lit” to express the idea that something is exciting. A man his age probably wouldn’t talk that way.
And when you’re designing the graphic layout for Robert, you wouldn’t set your font size below 12 pt, because Robert’s eyes will not appreciate having to squint to read your words.
Having an enrollment marketing persona for Robert means that you don’t have to have mountains of policies telling your creatives and executives how they should communicate to your audiences – all of these details are expressed in the persona.
With personas–distributed and visible to all your teams–everyone can quickly and easily craft content that is targeted specifically for your audience.
Use Data to Build Your Enrollment Marketing Personas
You might be tempted to throw your personas together quickly because you feel you know them intuitively. I mean, everybody knows that we’re mainly marketing to 16 – 20 year-old Generation Z students, right?
That may be true, but not all Generation Z students are the same.
Your “gut instinct” or assumption might be wrong. This can happen for several reasons.
Different regions have different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds to take into consideration.
A Generation Z prospective student in your region won’t respond to the same marketing messages that a Gen Z student in another region would.
This is especially true if your prospective students are mainly recruited from rural communities as opposed to urban school districts. Very different audience.
But there’s another growing reason to review your data periodically to ensure your personas accurately reflect your target audiences – changing demographics.
According to demographic studies, it’s likely your regional demographics are changing.
“Multicultural segments are growing: By 2060, Hispanics will represent almost 30% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With 72% recent growth, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing segment, according to Pew Research. At $1.8 trillion in purchasing power (according to a report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth), African Americans set the trends for young consumers.” – Kerux Group
If you rely on your best guess for crafting your enrollment marketing personas, chances are you’ll miss the cultural shifts that are happening all over the U.S. Your region might have more Hispanics than you thought, or it might have more first-generation college students than you realized.
These insights would certainly change how you’d write your website content, email campaigns, and other marketing pieces.
It’s important to consult your own data and other data sources before creating your personas.
Typical Admissions Data You Can Use
There are lots of data you could use to create your enrollment marketing personas, but here’s where I recommend you start:
Age (traditional, non-traditional)
Personas are the stories your data is trying to tell you.
Learn to see your data (like the ones I listed above) as stories waiting to be told, and you’ll be amazed by what you learn.
When you begin writing your personas, you’ll be imagining the life and feelings of the individuals you are trying to reach with your marketing message.
These are all insights into your audience that you simply can’t get from a data table. But you can glean these insights from the stories around your data.
Since we’ve talked enough about diving into your data to find the stories that will define your marketing personas, I think it’s safe to go to some examples.
Just don’t copy and paste these profile types into your enrollment marketing strategy assuming they will work for you. Start here, but refine them with the data that you have.
Here’s a list I previously put together of common enrollment marketing personas and the groups they fell under.
Examples of Enrollment Marketing Personas
The traditional student
The non-traditional student or adult student
The graduate student
Moms and Dads
And, of course, don’t forget to create personas for your advancement or development strategy like…
Young donors & alumni
Chances are you won’t need every single one of these personas. In fact, if you have more personas than your marketing team can handle, it can be counter-productive.
So how many personas do you need?
Depends on your marketing strategy. Most of the time, you’ll only need to write out personas for the constituents that fit the objectives of your marketing plan.
Also, if you find your team writing messaging or creating content for a specific group of people over and over again, then you should have an official persona mapped out for that group.
Remember, too, that crafting marketing personas isn’t an exact science.
It takes practice to see all of the motivations, cultural factors, and opportunities by just looking at spreadsheets from a database.
Writing marketing personas is the art of analyzing data and then making good guesses — and then revising them as you get better information.
And if you aren’t seeing the results you need from your marketing, consider revisiting or refining your personas. They should be dynamic until the point you see consistent results from your messaging.
Next Step: Schedule a personas brainstorm meeting.
A great next step you can take is to pull your marketing and/or development team together into a brainstorming meeting.
Make sure your data team is represented as well to present the data sets that you have.
Then, it’s time to start crafting stories about the people your data refers to. Pull photos and post them in a character sketch of the personas you’re creating. Then, share the new personas with your marketing team.
Have fun with this, and don’t let the brainstorming get so complicated that you don’t pull the trigger.
Get the main enrollment marketing personas that your team needs posted quickly so you can get to work creating irresistible content for your audiences.
If you and your team need help facilitating a personas discovery meeting or assembling the personas for your institution, give us a call.
But most importantly, treat digital marketing as seriously (or perhaps more so) as you do print marketing.
Although digital marketing may not be as expensive or permanent as printed materials, you should treat it as if it were to meet the high standards of Generation Z.
They are the only generation not to know what the world was like before 9/11. They’ve never known a day without a 24-hour news cycle. They can’t imagine a world without social media. They’re also growing up in homes that were significantly affected by the Great Recession that started in 2008.
Mix terrorism, violence, and economic distress with 24/7 access to an Internet that will show you the gruesome details of it all, and it produces a harshly realistic view of the world. MTV president Sean Atkins told TIME magazine concerning Generation Z:
“They have this self-awareness that systems have been broken. But they can’t be the generation that says we’ll break it even more.”
MTV calls Generation Z “The Founders” because “the name acknowledges that while millennials have disrupted society, it’s this new generation’s job to rebuild it.”
What This Means for Education Marketers
Be careful not to paint too cheery of a picture of the world. While marketers should avoid pessimism, be sure to present the problems of the world frankly.
Show young people how your school can prepare them practically to “rebuild” the society that they see as broken.
Many institutions and industries—long since thought to be a permanent fixture of society—have been toppled by globalization and technology. Traditional publishing, television media, energy, news media, marketing, and education have all changed drastically in the last 20 years or so.
As a result, Generation Z members tend to be independent and entrepreneurial.
It seems this new generation is reluctant to trust their careers to corporations, wanting more of a stake in their future than any preceding generation. In fact, up to 72% of high schoolers say they want to start a business someday.
What This Means for Education Marketers
Demonstrate in your marketing content how your institution prepares students to take control of their career, their ministry, or their life.
Generation Z members are self-motivated to seek answers to their questions—and they know how to find those answers. Education marketers need to invest in robust content marketing strategies that will offer the answers young people are looking for.
More than ever, your content must be student-centric, not org-centric. Your messaging should stress how you’re here to empower the student to build their destiny, not preserve your institution.
Feature programs, classes, or degrees that will support Generation Z members in their entrepreneurial quest.
Past generations have been globally aware, but Generation Z is globally minded. Their digitally integrated world isn’t hindered by geographic or political barriers as they converse with friends and followers from around the world on social media.
Location-independent teams are collaborating and doing business from anywhere in the world with a high-speed Internet connection. And we see the offline world following this trend as international travel gets faster, cheaper, and more popular every year.
What This Means for Education Marketers
Even if you’re a rustic campus nestled deep in the woods, you must strive to show prospective students how your school is connected to the world at large. This doesn’t mean you have to be political or into global activism, but prospective students want to see that you’re a part of the events on the world stage.
Feature programs and classes that offer study abroad, work abroad, or missions opportunities. Be creative and forge partnerships with academic organizations in other countries to give your students the global reach they’re looking for.
As part of the rebuilding concept, members of Generation Z feel like they are here to change things. Despite the realism that we talked about earlier, young people today feel hopeful about the future and their role in it.
Another interesting quality of this generation is that although they’re tightly connected to their world, young people desire to be unique, to make a distinct impression. They want to make a change that uniquely reflects their individuality.
What This Means for Education Marketers
Emphasize how your classes, faculty, and programs can foster the prospective student’s creativity and personhood. Feature hero stories of individual students and alumni making a difference.
Do your best to pick out stories to tell of students, alumni, and faculty who are advancing changes in the world in noteworthy or novel ways.
Reaching Generation Z
As you review your marketing messaging, you shouldn’t have to rewrite everything. But most education marketers will find themselves having to tweak their content to emphasize certain brand values that resonate deeper with Gen Z youth than other brand values.
We help school brands make their mark on prospective students—and we’d be happy to help you get more out of your marketing as our other clients have achieved. Get ahold of us today!
It could be a product website where we are researching something we need to buy. It could be a church’s website where we’re looking for information on the next volunteering opportunity. It could be our local news site.
Some websites make it extremely easy to find the answers we need. Others make it incredibly difficult.
Easy website navigation can increase visitor loyalty to your education brand.
Why? Because visitors remember the great experience they had on your site!
You’re more likely to revisit a site that made things simple for you than to go back to a site where you couldn’t find simple answers to your questions.
So why isn’t it easy to simplify the navigation on your independent school website?
Because complexity is an inherent component of education. Your school district has lots of departments, teams, grade-levels, programs, events, community stakeholders, and objectives.
No matter what you do, you can’t make a school district less complicated than that. So making things easy-to-find for visitors from all of your marketing audiences is a big challenge.
To meet this challenge, there are basically two schools of thought on how to organize your independent school website.
Let’s talk about them, and then I’ll share with you my tried-and-true navigation formula for independent school websites.
Navigation by Department
This school of thought says that the navigation bar should feature the various departments of your school district.
With this way of thinking, you might see elements like “About Us,” “School News,” “School Board,” or “Academics.”
This strategy has a lot going for it.
It just makes sense that the user would select the department most likely to have the answer to their question. Also, if an internal user—like a student or faculty member—needs access to an internal resource, they’d simply choose the department responsible.
But this strategy has drawbacks.
Not Knowing Where to Go
What if the user doesn’t know which department is responsible for having the answer to their question? This happens more often than we’d like to think.
When you’re an insider, you just know where to go for answers. But your audience doesn’t always know what you know.
How would a visitor know who’s responsible for what? Where does the user go then?
Too Many Departments
If your school district is as complex as some of our clients’ educational organizations, listing every department can be nearly impossible to do.
This is where you’ll likely run into mega-menus that look a lot like department directories.
Here I’m using a university example, but if your independent school website looks like this, it may be time to reevaluate how you’re organizing your website navigation.
Navigation by Audience
The other school of thought says navigation should be organized by your marketing audience. The navigation bar might contain words like “Student,” “Parent,” or “Alumni.”
The idea is that it should be natural for a user to self-identify their marketing audience and start there. A visitor’s internal dialogue would sound like: “I’m a parent, so I’ll click here.”
The strength of this strategy is that it’s more intuitive for me to know which social group I belong to than to guess which department of your school would have the answers I’m looking for.
But problems arise when the user is supposed to self-identify.
Group labels aren’t always clear. For example, the term “student” could mean prospective student, current student, returning student, or a transfer student.
There are too many audiences to fit into the navigation. More than likely, your school has too many marketing audiences to place easily into the navigation bar.
Users are often members of multiple audiences. They could be an alumnus, a donor, and a parent. Which link should they click on in your navigation bar?
“At the end of the day, audience-based navigation just doesn’t represent how people think. Users typically come to [your] websites to complete a specific task or learn about a… topic, and that’s what’s on their minds — not which audience they belong to.”
For these reasons, audience-based navigation should usually be avoided if possible.
So what is the answer? How should you organize your independent school website navigation?
My Website Navigation Formula for independent school Websites
Your website has to contain the basics. For most traditional schools, that includes the five “A’s”:
These will make up the core of your content. Each area should show your distinctives and benefits and provide clear call-to-action on every page.
After the five “A’s” you’ll add the two “C’s”:
The Community section will allow a student to understand what life on campus will be like. The Contact Us navigation will provide direct access to immediate contact information such as phone numbers, email addresses, address, map links, directions, and other relevant information such as hours.
The next part of the formula is the variable. Based upon your brand, distinctives, and other features, you may consider picking one of the following:
While you might not use these exact words, just know that the variable will form the alliteration for you to remember what is important. For example, if your variable is “Blog,” than the formula will look like this: 5a + 2c + B = Primary Navigation.
You’ll also note that the formula is based upon eight primary navigation buttons. You should target somewhere between seven and nine for the primary navigation.
Making the Complex Simple
At its core, I think education is about making complex ideas easier for your audiences to understand. You can’t make everything simple, but you can make it easier for a user to grasp the concept.
This is what your education website should seek to achieve…
Making something as complex as navigating a independent school website simple and intuitive.
As a marketer, I’m sure you are aware that we live in a visual age. If you’re not using visual content as part of your marketing strategy, you’re losing your audience.
Graphics make everything online better. And that’s a good thing, considering how social media has shifted to placing a bigger emphasis on images and graphics. Adding visuals to your content helps more than you might think.
Adobe Spark is one of my favorite visual marketing tools. You can use it to easily create high-quality social graphics and animated videos. There are three modules that allow you to easily create different types of content for social posts, web stories, and animated videos. It’s easy to use and comes with lots of different templates and backgrounds. And, best of all, the basic plan is FREE! The premium plan is only $9.99 per month and allows you to brand your graphics with your logo, colors, and fonts.
I’ve sung the praises of Canva before, and honestly, it’s one visual marketing tool I can’t live without. The free version is impressive, offering unparalleled value that compares with other paid tools.
Canva lets you create social media posts for all the major platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Snapchat filters.
Canva offers thousands of free images, backgrounds and fonts to choose from, so most of the time you can find whatever you need. And if you can’t, you can use any of their high-quality, paid images for only $1.
Ripl is a super-simple app that allows you to create custom post designs, animated collages, and slideshows using customizable templates. You can also share to your social accounts with one click form within the app. Incredibly, the basic plan is FREE!
Word Swag is another easy-to-use app that you can find on Google Play or the App Store. It’s a great tool for quickly creating stunning text layouts. You can easily caption your photos, create stylish quotes or design graphics with text overlay. It comes with hundreds of captions you can use and hundreds of thousands of free background images. There is a one-time fee of $4.99 from Google and $6.99 from the App Store.
If you’re more confident with graphic design, Snappa may be the right choice for you.
Snappa is a more robust web-based graphic design program than Canva. You can build designs from scratch with Snappa or use templates. However, you have more control over your designs with Snappa than you do with Canva.
Snappa offers a library of thousands of royalty-free photos, icons, and fonts to choose from. You can also easily upload your own images, resize your images and upload new fonts.
Snappa is a great tool to use with your team because it supports collaboration. You can easily share brand assets and designs. And it integrates directly with several social media platforms, allowing you to publish your creations directly from Snappa to your social networks.
The impressive Pro service starts at $10 per user/month, but you can test Snappa out with their free version.
Infographics are always a big hit with most audiences. They allow you to display data in an eye-catching, easily sharable way. Piktochart is an easy-to-use web-based application that you can use to create infographics by simply plugging in your data, customizing your layout (social media dimensions are already set up) and sharing directly to social media.
Piktochart comes with over 600 templates, and you can easily customize them by simply dragging and dropping. There are also ready-to-use graphics, icons, images, and charts.
The free version lets you create unlimited graphics with over 4,000 icons and images. If you want access to their full selection of images and templates, a pro membership starts at only $15 per month.
QuotesCover is a simple quote-making tool. It’s so easy – just enter your quote and make some customized changes, and you’re done! There is also a “curated quotes” option that has hundreds of quotes to choose from that are listed by category. You can choose different fonts, images and color schemes.
Don’t have a quote in mind? QuotesCover can help with that too. Click on the “Find a quote” button, select a topic and then choose from a variety of popular quotes. QuotesCover has several video tutorials you can use, but my guess is that this app is so user-friendly you won’t need them. There is no cost to use this app.
Pinched for time? QuotesCover works on mobile devices too!
Colorzilla is a Chrome or Firefox extension that you can use to capture a color and determine the hex or RGB code for any color you see. It includes an advanced color picker and webpage color analyzer that will generate a color palette. It also stores the color history of your most recent picked colors.
Paletton is a color palette generator that helps you know what colors to use together. This can make your graphics look very professional.
Paletton takes all of the guesswork out of the color selection process. Start by uploading the hex code of the primary color you want to use in your color scheme. Paletton will automatically generate an adjacent (3-color) scheme, triad (3-color scheme) or a tetrad (4-color) scheme. You can also try using the freestyle or randomize color scheme generators.
Magisto easily edits your videos or allows you to create videos using a template.
If you want Magisto to expertly edit a video, all you have to do is upload your video, and the tool will analyze, understand and edit your video and make it look professional. Magisto will also create a video “best of” collage that will look amazing! You can also use their templates and millions of high-quality video, image and background music options to create exciting, sharable videos that you can upload directly to social media.
Looking for more tips and tricks to help you create amazing social media visuals? These posts should help:
Your school’s marketing team will look a little different from other institutes, but there are key positions that every education marketing team must have to be successful.
Last week, we started our series on how to assemble a rock-star education marketing team. Jim Collins shares how successful leaders think about their teams this way:
“Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
So last week, we talked about getting the “right people on the bus” by discussing the personal and professional qualities each person on your team should have.
But today, I want to talk about the seats on the bus. Let’s clarify the key positions or roles every education marketing team (whether large or small) should have in order to be successful.
The reason I added the word “roles” in that last paragraph is because even if you don’t have the budget to hire seven individuals to perform these functions, you should delegate these roles to the members of your team, even if your team has only two to six people.
So when we talk about “seats on the bus,” we’re talking more about the functions that need to be performed rather than the number of people that need to be on the team.
SIDE NOTE: If you have less than two people, you really need to consider hiring more staff or outside freelancers to help. There are some responsibilities that you simply cannot give to the same person. For example, writers are notorious for not being able to catch their own mistakes. Therefore, you need a separate set of eyes to edit all the copy a writer writes.
What are these key roles? What do they do? How do they relate to the other positions on the team? Let’s dive in.
Without quality content, all campaigns grind to a halt. Whether it’s a blog post, an email, a landing page or social media post, you need a top-notch writer to write it all.
Writers are indispensable, but where do you find them? You can either hire a writer in-house, look for a freelancer, or recruit a volunteer.
While there are many highly-qualified writers out there, I recommend looking first for writers who have some connection with your college, university, or independent school.
Alumni, current students, faculty, or even parents are great pools from which to find good writers.
Here are some helpful suggestions if you can’t find a good writer immediately:
Ask friends for names of writers with a good track record.
Try posting writer jobs on reputable job boards like Problogger.
Reach out to prolific guest posters whose work resonates with you.
Search for ‘education marketing writer’ or ‘freelance marketing writer’ or something similar on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Check out certified writers who’ve been verified by highly esteemed sites like Copyblogger.
Copyeditors polish writers’ work until it sparkles.
Editors check the content for good structure, flow, language and grammar so your college is seen in good light. Misspelled words and poor grammar may cause people to not take your institution seriously.
#3. Managing Editor
Sometimes a managing editor is called a Content Editor, Editor-in-Chief, or even Chief Content Officer. Whatever their title, these incredible people guide the overall content strategy of the team and ensure the quality of your content over time.
Managing editors are strict (but kind) characters. They determine and enforce deadlines for writers, photographers, and designers. This ensures that work is turned in on time and campaigns stay on track.
In addition to this supervisory role, the managing editor collaborates with writers to generate content topics. Finally, they see to it that the content produced advances the institution’s aims.
In summary, the managing editor coordinates two crucial elements to meet your marketing goals: people and operations.
Some of the jobs a graphic designer will do on the team:
Capture the essence and uniqueness of your education brand using graphic symbols like logos.
Develop website graphics and illustrations.
Create visual elements of a college’s marketing materials e.g. infographics, brochures, custom post featured images, social media images etc.
Collaborate with writers on new content projects.
It’s an incredible feeling to have a graphic designer on your team with experience, creativity, and real desire to grow in their creative skills.
They not only make your content aesthetically attractive, they also design it in a strategic way to help drive conversions.
#5. Social Media Manager(s)
To reach your goals on social media, you’ve got to be where your audience is hanging out. The social media manager is the one on your team in charge of keeping your brand messages front and center on your audience’s favorite social media platforms.
The social media manager’s job includes:
Making sure the college is present on the right channels.
Monitoring brand mentions and responding accordingly.
Facilitating the posting of regular content as required by that particular channel.
Another visual creative that you’ll want on your team is the videographer/photographer.
These may be two different members or roles on your team, but the reason I put them together is that unlike a graphic designer who creates visual designs, these creatives create compelling visuals by capturing scenes and people who exist in real life.
It’s a new year, a new semester, and a new chance to improve your education marketing! But you can’t do that without the right people on your marketing team.
Education marketing is not an individual sport.
It’s easy to think that if you only had the right strategy, budget, or creative freedom, you’d meet your marketing goals. But there’s a danger in thinking that way because you can miss the main ingredient of education marketing success — your marketing team.
Renowned business author, Jim Collins, noted that highly successful organizations have one thing in common: they build a team of gifted individuals first.
He says that before worrying about anything else, get the right people on your bus.
If you have the right people on your team and put them in the right place, they’ll achieve the right results.
Unfortunately, many education marketers do things in reverse. They start by coming up with their marketing messaging or strategy and then they form a team to help achieve it.
The result too often leads to the same results year after year.
If you want to see a major change in the results you’re getting, think carefully about the people you’ve got on your team… and whether or not the work is distributed in a way that maximizes each individual’s contribution to the team.
As you evaluate the strength of your team, here are some valuable qualities I recommend you look for.
1. Look for people’s strengths.
People are naturally gifted in certain areas. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort to get to know each member of your team.
Do they come alive when they’re around people? They might do great at interviews and investigations on campus for new content.
Do they shine when they’ve got a complex pivot table open in front of them? You might have a rock-star data analyst in front of you.
Be perceptive and give team members roles that match their strong points whenever possible.
2. Look for prior experience.
It’s a given that you’d look for someone with some kind of professional experience in marketing when you place them on your team.
But what if that person has experience in another field that could give you a clue on how to place them on your team?
Maybe they managed projects for the construction industry. Those management skills can be a real asset on your team even though those skills were not learned in a marketing environment.
Your audience needs to know that you’ll continue publishing new, fresh content to keep them coming back to your website for more. This reliability is a key to making content marketing work for your private college or university.
This same reliability has to apply to everyone on the marketing team.
Talent is overrated sometimes. Recruit reliable people who can be counted upon, and reward consistency in work and quality.
Get the right people on the bus and… enjoy the ride.
One final thing: Recruit people to the team that you enjoy being around!
Working with people you respect and like will help you step up your own education marketing game because you’ll be happier each time you go to the office.
There are two ways to go about this.
One is to simply recruit people who add to the positive culture of your team and let go of those who don’t gel well.
But another way is to work on building team spirit on your marketing team through…
Shared experiences like retreats, seminars, and conferences
Fellowship activities throughout the week that encourage team members to get to know one another
Who knows? You might find more in common with your marketing teammates than you thought you had through these shared activities.
From all of us at Caylor Solutions, we want this year to be your most profitable yet.
Today’s technology makes quality video more available than ever to education marketers… without breaking the bank. Here are some affordable and creative ways to use video in your marketing.
VideoMarketing - YouTube
Video Blog Transcript
Welcome to another Caylor Solutions video blog. Welcome Bart Caylor, president and owner of Caylor Solutions. And we’re here today to talk a little bit about the importance of video in marketing, and I was reading a statistic – and I know there are many statistics to gather as far as how many hours of video are watched every day. The one I read earlier today was that more than 500 million hours is watched every day just on YouTube, which isn’t counting all the other platforms. Tell us a little bit about why you think Internet users are so prone to video watching.
Well I think that now we’ve become such a culture that’s used to having our smartphones. And I think that where we used to daydream or people watch when we were standing in line at a supermarket or other places, people are now consuming content on their phones during that time and so I think a lot of times when they’re consuming that content – whether it be on social media or on YouTube – we’re all using that time on our mobile devices to consume video. And so I think that that’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing so much more video consumption. It’s easier to consume video, and you can kind of zone out with video a little bit more than you can trying to read an article or focus in on reading. And so I think that’s one of the reasons why video is becoming so popular.
Absolutely and for those that don’t necessarily know a lot about Caylor Solutions, and even for those that do, our focus is on a lot of educational marketing such as private k12 but then also college and university level.
So if I’m an education marketer, what tips do you have for me as far as how to best utilize video marketing?
One of the things that I try to tell a lot of our clients – and a lot of our clients our smaller, private schools and so they might not have the budget or the team that a state university might have for instance – and a lot of state universities might have a entire department dedicated to video. Well, if you have a one or two person marketing department at a school, you’re not going to have the same types of resources available to you. So I think what’s really important: Two things:
One, figure out what you can do on the budget that you can do it on and so a lot of times that might be just utilizing your iPhone. I’ve been doing a lot of videos this week on LinkedIn – kind of using their native video platform. All I’m using is my iPhone, and I have this little lavalier mic that plugs into my iPhone – and all it does is just gives me a really good quality audio. And so trying to figure out how you can utilize maybe what you already have and then you can also use a lot of free tools. I use the iMovie app on the Mac or on the iPhone. Google and Android have similar apps that you can do – and just start experimenting and trying things.
And I think the second thing once you get past the the hurdle of ‘oh it’s too much – I can’t do these things because I don’t have the equipment’ – once you get past that then it’s a matter of figuring out where to put that video online and how to distribute that into the channels. And so it’s not just putting it on your website, which is one way to do it, but it’s putting it out where your audience and prospective audience can discover it.
And so with prospective students, let’s say at a higher ed institution, you’re going to want to put that out in YouTube. YouTube is the number one search engine, the number one social media network. People are watching, especially Generation Z, is watching a lot of YouTube videos. It doesn’t cost very much to get a pay-per-click ad – a bumper ad at the beginning of a Google video and you can do that with a Google ad account. And so that’s a really good way to get brand awareness and get some information out about your school in that channel.
You know, Instagram is doing small videos now – put your videos there. Keep them short – anywhere between 30 seconds to a minute or minute and a half is kind of ideal for those type of videos (brand awareness). Or maybe a little bit longer – like what we’re doing here – for something you might want to talk a little bit more about. And then I think beyond that, looking at your audiences. So if you’re a secondary school, mom is the main decision-maker. So look at Facebook, look at Pinterest – and as I said, with adult learners and higher ed you’re also going to be looking at Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s just a matter of making sure you have the right equipment and right tools, and then making sure you put the videos in the right spot.
I think it is important to get the point across that it doesn’t have to break the budget. We all know that super high quality produced video is quite expensive and that often times will scare the higher education marketer because the budget isn’t there. But I think the truth is there are a lot of affordable ways to use video marketing, and you just hopefully helped our audience with that.
Well, one thing to keep in mind too – what we have on our phones is so much better quality than 10 years ago – that you could get in a professional environment. And so, I mean, we’ve got 4k video capabilities in our pockets now. So, with a little bit of lighting and a little bit of discipline you can get some good quality video even on a phone.
Are there any drawbacks or any hurdles that you would want to tell our audience about or maybe even negative things that can happen using video marketing?
I think probably a couple of the drawbacks I would say is and I’ve experienced this week – I’ve produced six videos for LinkedIn – it’s really easy to keep trying to make it perfect. So ease yourself into it – I think is a really important thing to do.
And then I think also if you do the same types of things every time – if all you’re doing is talking heads – that might not appeal to your audience. And so mixing it up with different types of video – whether it’s some 360 videos on YouTube, whether it’s interviews and social proof with testimonials, it could be an infographic type of video – just a lot of ways to mix it up. So don’t feel like you have to do just one thing because if you do just one thing, that could be a detriment at the end of the day.
Excellent, thanks so much for your time today Bart!
Marry You?! I’m Just Here for the Speed-Dating Round!
Traditionally, higher education website lead gathering has gone something like this: “Susie Prospect, fill out my lengthy and detailed web form so that I can market to you.” It may not seem like you’re asking for that much of a commitment, but for today’s prospective traditional student, you might as well pop out the diamond ring and propose in the middle of the speed-dating round. They’re just “playing the field.” They want to remain in control, and that means remaining anonymous for as long as possible. Asking them for more than a name and email address can send them scurrying somewhere else. And they WILL find what they’re looking for somewhere else if you don’t provide it.
From Speed Dating to First Date: The Admissions Marketing Funnel
As good admissions counselors, enrollment professionals and higher education marketers, you’ve been taught that if you don’t know the demographic details of your prospect, you can’t market appropriately and effectively and that your admissions marketing efforts could be wasted. While having demographic details can certainly help focus your admissions marketing efforts, there are general principles that can be applied that will help move these undefined prospects from “speed dating” in general to considering a “date” with your institution specifically. Here are a few suggestions.
Most prospects will trade a name and email address for something they consider valuable. A downloadable e-book, guide or resource that will aid in the prospect’s college search is a great place to start. Note: Make sure it is truly useful information and not just a commercial for your institution.
Once you have a prospect’s email address, you have their permission to market to them. However, this is not the time to “go for the ask!” Continue to provide truly useful and helpful information that will aid them in their college search without asking for anything in return.
Just a Little More
Once you have delivered several pieces of truly useful and engaging content via email, you’ve earned the right to see if that prospect would like to learn more about YOU. This can be done with a higher-value deliverable that will be attractive enough for the prospective student to be willing to complete a more detailed contact form in exchange. Consider tailoring the deliverable based upon the information you receive. For example, high school freshmen and sophomores might receive a different deliverable than high school juniors or seniors.
The Successful Proposal
By delivering truly valuable material, you have earned your prospect’s trust and built rapport. In return, they’ve entrusted you with more detailed information, and you can now market more specifically to their demographic and eventually “propose” a “committed relationship” with your institution. And you’ll all live happily ever after.
I know you’re working hard before the end of the semester, but don’t get left out this holiday season! Here’s a list of must-have resources for your enrollment marketing gift list.
Planning to spend some time Christmas shopping for the ones you love? Well, don’t forget about buying a little something for yourself!
There are a ton of resources and tools out there for enrollment marketers that you could get to help you reach your enrollment marketing goals. But over the years, I’ve found some resources to be much better than others.
So I’ve compiled them for you to consider as an enrollment marketing gift list for you and your team.
Nothing influences buying decisions like word of mouth marketing. Talk Triggers is a practical step-by-step guide on how to ignite lively student conversations that spread like wildfire. It teaches you how to anchor these conversations on what makes you different.
This essential guide shows you how to do social media right. The authors show you how to optimize your social profiles, attract more followers, and effectively integrate social media and blogging. It’s full of tactics that have been proven to work in the real world.
In our content-driven world, whoever has the best content wins most of the business. Top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of stellar content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.
In this show-don’t-tell manifesto, the author shows it’s possible to work smarter not just harder. By approaching work with calmness, you can save yourself and your prospective students from the chaos, anxiety, and stress that plagues millions of workers every day.
Higher education is in for a major shift. This practical guide tells you what’s about to change and when it’ll change. It’s a must-read for higher education marketers and administrators and will help you plan strategically in order to successfully navigate the coming enrollment challenges.
In Contagious, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become popular. The book gives actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share.
In this helpful resource, James Emery White explains who Generation Z is, how it came to be, and the impact it is likely to have on the nation and the faith. Importantly, the book provides a model of how to connect with and reach this rapidly growing generation.
13 Budget-friendly Tools For Savvy Higher Education Marketers
Let’s move on to useful equipment that’ll improve your marketing.
The holidays are notoriously unproductive times, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Follow these productivity hacks I’ve used to stay in the game this holiday season.
It’s inevitable. The holidays always bring a rush of activities as you try to balance your home and work life.
But the tension of holiday traditions at home while getting everything done at work are just the beginning.
Many education marketers also find it hard to get things done this month because of final exams and graduation.
You might not have this problem if you’ve got more staff and resources at your school.
But if you serve at a smaller private, organization, your non-marketing co-workers might not be able to collaborate with you on marketing projects in a timely fashion as all their extra time is being used for end of semester responsibilities.
There’s also the hard-to-measure reality of people just “clocking out” mentally.
Decembers are to the year what Fridays are to the week. Everyone’s productivity wanes as they look forward to their holiday vacation activities.
One other pesky thing that can bog down productivity is that many of your colleagues might be working shorter hours as they prepare for holiday parties.
Getting the answers you need to move forward on projects is hard when you keep getting out-of-office replies.
But while you can’t fire on all cylinders at holiday time, you can still get a lot done if you use the right approaches.
Here are the 3 productivity strategies that I use to boost my productivity, even during the holidays.
Chaos is the number one enemy of productivity. GTD is all about ordering your workflow.
Here’s the essence of the GTD process in 5 simple steps:
1. Capture what has your attention.
Use a notepad or voice recorder to collect the personal or professional projects or to-do lists.
2. Clarify and prioritize.
Take everything you listed in step 1, and decide if it’s actionable or not. Something is actionable if it involves a visible, physical action. If not, discard it. If it takes two minutes or less, do it now. If more, set the time when you’ll do it or delegate it.
3. Organize your list.
Group tasks into related categories (e.g. emails to send, meetings to attend, errands to run, etc.) Have action reminders on the lists.
4. Review and reflect regularly.
Critique your list weekly. Decide what to do next. Update the list and refocus.
5. Do what’s required.
Take action using the system you’ve created.
At its core, the GTD theory is simple: you work better when you are relaxed. By getting rid of clutter and organizing your thoughts, you can be more productive.
Use the technique’s 4 Ds to zip through your to-do list:
Do it, if it’s actionable and takes less than 2 minutes.
Drop it, if it’s not actionable.
Delegate it, if it takes more than two minutes.
Defer it, if you can’t do it that very day.
Would you like to grow your email list, follow up on leads, and share great content to your audience on social media while enjoying the holiday at the same time?
Well, you can! By automating your marketing.
So much of marketing involves doing certain tasks again and again. Such jobs can be done on auto-pilot through automation software. Automate marketing tasks with tools like:
Buffer– schedule posts, analyze their performance, and manage all your social accounts in one place.
CoSchedule– communicate in one place, integrate tools you use regularly and have a unified calendar for your team.
HubSpot CRM– organize, track, and nurture your leads and customers with ease.
Sharpspring – powerful marketing automation that helps you increase the leads you send to the enrollment team
Salesforce– get a unified view of every interaction with prospects, students, alumni, donors, and affiliates.
Marketo– engage students based on their individual interests, and respond appropriately based on their stage in the student lifecycle.
Put these three principles into practice as you implement your automation strategy:
1.Tie everything to your goals.
Don’t just use the latest automation tactic without checking to see if it aligns with your goals first. Only do what makes sense for your enrollment marketing plan.
2.Avoid generic messages.
It’s easy to fall into the temptation of bombarding your list with general messages. This is the quickest way of losing audience interest and ending up in the spam folder. Segment your audience and send highly-targeted content to them.
3.Engage current students.
Your institution’s best evangelists are the current students and their parents. Have specific campaigns targeted at them so as to keep them engaged.
While it’s true holiday cheer might keep you super busy in the coming weeks, your productivity levels don’t have to take a nosedive.
Try out these three productivity strategies to stay on top of your game and still have a good time with friends and family.