Brochures that showcase your campus, programs, and student support services should be an important part of your school’s marketing strategy. They support education lead generation by converting tentative viewers into active inquirers (like any good CTA should), and ultimately into enrolled students.
But paper copies are a thing of the past – and so are static PDF conversions that fail to leverage all of the interactive, dynamic possibilities out there.
Truly effective e-brochures, on the other hand, draw students in with a multimedia tour of your school and its culture. They’re simple to edit, can be tailored to suit a range of audiences, and are easily disseminated via email and across social media.
Think of it this way: sending out an e-brochure is like extending that first handshake to a prospective student. Its job is to convince them that your school is the one worth talking to. A lead who is immersed and intrigued at the first point of contact is far more likely to reach out to your admissions office, follow you on Twitter, or schedule a campus visit.
Here are four ways next generation e-brochures make a compelling first contact:
1. Pop-Ups and Quick-Links: The Interactive Advantage
Not only are students unimpressed by typical static brochure formats, they’re increasingly impatient with lengthy documents – or worse, multiple brochures from a single school. The average student has an attention span of around three minutes, and their biggest distractor is technology – so it makes sense to create e-brochures that incorporate technological engagement with creative content. Take a look at these contrasting examples from San Francisco State University and Humber College. Which brochure experience do you think leads are more likely to enjoy?
San Francisco State has simply converted its paper brochures into static downloadable versions – and there are four of them for students to read through! On the other hand, Humber College uses pop-ups and quick-links to incorporate several brochures into one interactive screen. There are three links that reveal pop-ups of information on their facilities, academic programs, and international student support services. The e-brochure also contains an interactive map, and at the top, links to the school’s website and social media sharing.
It’s actually fun to explore this e-brochure. It’s short and sweet, and sure to encourage leads to click through for more info.
2. Multiple Lead Persona-Targeting
More and more college recruitment teams are recognizing the value of developing student personas and behavior-targeted content. Because when schools truly understand their target lead groups, they’re able to create marketing materials that connect with and engage them authentically, which in turn boosts conversion. Thompson Rivers University: School of Trades and Technology certainly had this principle in mind when they crafted their e-brochure. They’ve identified and targeted three lead personas on a single page:
Each persona description is clickable, which opens an additional box containing more information about the program, job market, and college support systems. They have anticipated leads’ interests and concerns while consolidating content onto one page – easy to find, digest, and likely to spur further clicks.
This kind of targeted content marketing is an essential element of next generation student recruitment. And what better place to start than your school’s e-brochure?
3. Enriched International Student Recruitment
In January, the Canadian government announced a plan to double its international student body by 2022. It will invest $5 million a year to brand Canada as a world-class education destination. According to the 2014 ICEF report, international recruitment is also on the rise in the U.S, with a dramatic influx of Chinese, Indian, and South Korean students flooding higher ed institutions across the country.
How does your school’s social media marketing and content strategy target this growing market of international leads?
One way to do it effectively is by creating multilingual versions of your e-brochure – like St. Lawrence College does:
Again, you’ll consider your main international lead personas and focus on the translations that make the most sense for your school. It may not be necessary to generate brochures in five or six languages if your target audience is overwhelmingly Chinese. This was certainly the case for Spokane Community College, who used the clever “Our Students” motif on each page of their e-brochure to connect with Chinese international students:
When leads click on the image, a bio/testimonial pops up – each one featuring a different Chinese international student. It’s a smart content marketing technique because it creates brand consistency across each brochure page. And that branding tells international students that Spokane is ready to support their transition to the US with relevant programs and inclusive support services.
4. Stronger CTAs with Social Proof
Once upon a time, paper brochures contained a standard CTA – perhaps an email and phone number for more information, or an invitation to visit the college website.
By contrast, next generation e-brochures contain multiple CTAs that provide immediate access to admissions pages, campus resources, and social media platforms. Capilano University’s e-brochure includes all of the above, plus a link for more information about tours and local community events:
But e-brochure CTAs can be much more than links to additional resources or “Request info” pages. They should take the form of user-generated “social proof” – student-curated content, like videos, photos, and testimonials that resonate with viewers because they’re made by their peers and provide “proof” that your school is a great place to study. And these can be easily woven throughout your school’s e-brochure like Flinders University does here:
Their embedded video content shows students telling their own stories of life on campus, and what they like most about the university. And that’s much more effective than typical PR messaging. Just having social media buttons displayed prominently on your e-brochure can generate valuable social proof when leads share certain pages – or the entire document – with their friends online. Here’s how Carnegie-Mellon Australia makes sharing simple:
And when your school’s new and improved e-brochure scores an impressive number of shares or mentions online, you can promote those stats across your social media platforms and web pages, making that social proof visible to all your leads and current students.
And that’s how a strong first handshake becomes a conversation, and ultimately – a conversion.
For a step-by-step guide to generating and leveraging social proof, see this Hubspot blogpost.