Budget-Minded Basics for Your Next Admissions Campaign

In today’s competitive environment, it’s a given that your institution's recruiting materials have to look polished and your message must be compelling. But, with budget resources tighter than ever, how can you accomplish this without breaking the bank?

An effective marketing campaign does not have to be complicated. Here are some simple tips to keep you on track:

1. Focus on your best prospects. If you’re buying mass-mailing lists with thousands of names, most of these “prospects” are not likely prospects at all. Apart from some connection or familiarity with your school, your promotional pieces will be meaningless to the average student and will end up with a load of other brochures—in the recycling bin. Instead, focus your efforts on finding the students who are most likely to respond. It’s just simple, tried-and-true targeted marketing.

  • Find students who already have an affinity for your school—like legacies, or members of closely-connected organizations.

  • Zero-in on high schools or churches where you’ve had success in recruiting students in recent years.

  • Look at your student body profile and develop specific approaches to appeal to those type students.

2. Avoid personalized marketing gimmicks (variable data printing) that puts the student's name on the front of postcard, brochure, bumper sticker, etc. Gen Z sees right through insincere attempts at relationship. And besides, you’re likely to find that “Fred” hasn’t used his real first name since kindergarten.

3. Keep copy concise and scannable. You don’t need to invest time in telling your university’s lengthy story in every marketing piece. Some of your materials can be simplified, just used to get attention or present major points.

4. You likely don’t need a Madison Avenue agency or a transformation of your identity. Some marketing firms will try to sell you on the idea of extensive scientific research. But the reality is that you know your school better than anyone else.  For communications professionals who understand your market, a day or two on campus may be all it takes to get to the heart of what makes your school the unique place it is.   

Embarking on a new marketing campaign might seem overwhelming and cost-prohibitive, but it's possible to achieve your goals by considering these suggestions. The 5° team would love to talk with you about how to make the most of your marketing budget.