Universities aren’t businesses in the traditional sense. Yet, they do need customers, but those customers are students looking for an education. In that sense, universities are service-oriented business. At the same time, they need branding, because their primary offering is a long-term educational process. It’s not something that’s immediately tangible.
That’s why many universities turn to branding and implementing a university marketing strategy. If you work in the admissions office, you know how important this is – here’s how to take your marketing to the next level.
Create A Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition is something that no other school offers. Regardless of the school, every one needs something that sets them apart from everyone else. Why would someone want to go to your school? Don’t think you’re above this kind of thing.
Often, marketing departments and PR teams for colleges believe that if they put their name out there, students will sign up under the prestige of a university. This simply isn’t true. Students want a reason why they should spend their hard-earned future paycheck on a loan to attend your school.
Highlight The Benefits, Not Features, You Offer Students
Students don’t care about features of your college. In other words, they don’t care that you have a lacrosse team or expansive classrooms or the largest campus. What they do care about (more) is what benefits they get from all these things.
So, for example, an expansive classroom, with a favorable student to professor ratio means that students may get a better education, they will receive more individualised attention, and they’ll get better instruction and a pace that’s more accommodating for them – those are benefits. Do you see the difference?
Another example would be the feature of having a lacrosse team. What benefits does this give to the student? For the sports-minded ones, it means an opportunity to compete for a national league. It means fun away from the stresses of classes, but it also means a chance to make new friends and forge important relationships with classmates in a unique setting.
Highlighting benefits doesn’t have to be a major undertaking either. Some colleges use simple sell sheets as handouts. These handouts can be printed up using a standard printer. Sure, it takes a lot of ink for a job like this, but certain print companies sell discounted refills, and most paper mills sell affordable paper as reams to retail outlets. You could even look into wholesale paper pricing for your university.
Have A Point
You may not be able to offer a discount to students – that’s what many businesses do to entice people to buy. However, you may be able to offer better value. Sell a better education, more opportunities, and a better overall college experience.
Compel Students To Join
Don’t forget to ask for the order. In sales, a “call to action” is what you use to get people to buy from you. For a university, the call to action is asking students to sign up. It’s an often overlooked step, because it’s assumed that students will know to sign up after they hear or read about how great you are.
But, never assume anything. People are often comforted, and need prompting, to take action.
This post was contributed by John Sollars. Whenever he has the time, he enjoys sharing what he has learned with others online. You can read his helpful posts on many websites and blog sites today.