While working for a previous institution, our department conducted a marketing assessment with the student body aimed at understanding which forms of advertising were particularly effective. The answer? All and none. The results were varied; not one distinguished itself from the rest. All forms – emails, flyers, bulletin boards, chalking, word of mouth, social media, text messaging, newsletters – polled low, and the resounding message from the surveyed students: do it all. While this can look particularly intimidating to college offices, with the many forms of messaging available to students, each has their preference. If you want your message to be received, cover all bases.
#2. …But Simplify
While students say “do it all,” they’ll also be the first to tell you they rarely pay attention. Because there are many ways to advertise, it’s best to keep your message simple, clear, and clutter free. Work to have consistent, streamlined marketing across all mediums and look to your students to craft a relevant voice. They’ll be your best bet for understanding what is attractive and pertinent to the current population.
#3. Make it Pretty
Making your brand artistic, modern, and beautiful can help students take notice. Be the department known for the consistently eye-catching flyers and postings. Don’t have a graphic designer in the house? No sweat. Utilize student talent or take advantage of the many free online programs making crisp infographics and modern posters that can be easily formatted into Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest posts.
#4. Reach Across the Aisle
While last on the list, this is presumably most important. To reduce the amount of campus clutter, join forces. Program with other campus offices working for similar aims so as to encourage fewer programs but with greater depth and a wider audience. Keep a pulse on the current goals of other departments so as to support colleagues rather than run parallel programs and events targeted at the same learning outcomes.
September starts our Stakeholder Series where contributors reflect on best practices for serving one or more of our many audiences. Find inspiration and ideas all this month!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at email@example.com.
Image via highervisibility.com