Student Ambassadors as Marketers

Every college possesses enthusiastic student ambassadors. These ambassadors are typically comprised of the most engaged students with the most outgoing personalities – i.e. the “faces” of the institution. So, why not use them for marketing purposes? In this reality show generation, prospective students want to see and hear from current students about authentic campus life at colleges and universities.

Our research has shown that when we add the name of a current student to an outreach communication (print, email etc.), response rates tend to increase. If these students truly are “ambassadors” of your institution, find ways to integrate them into your communication flow.

Here are some ideas that we recommend to schools:

1. Create twitter feeds from the students such as @auengineeringjoe or @auhistorystacey.  Let prospects know that these students will be tweeting about happenings on campus and other news as it relates to their majors.

2. Send an email from the ambassadors highlighting their experiences on campus

3. Create an “outcomes” brochure that profiles not only alums, but also current students

4. Set up skype meetings for students to be able to talk to your ambassadors online

5. Include the ambassadors in college fairs

6. Set up a blog with the ambassadors that details their time on campus. (This also GREATLY improves your SEO!)

Utilizing real students to deliver real messages greatly improves your visibility and also adds another dimension that can be instrumental in terms of connecting with prospective students.

Good luck!

Take the Wicked Witch out of your travel season

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was an admissions counselor named Viewbook-A-Lot. Viewbook-A-Lot traveled in his gallant rental car to college fairs. Viewbook-A-Lot would lug suitcases full of Viewbooks to his bountiful table, cheerfully passing them out to all passersby in a quest to collect as many inquiry cards as possible. Feeling successful about Viewbook-A-Lot’s travel voyage, he proudly placed his bounty of inquiry cards at the feet of the Queen (Admissions Director) at the castle (Admissions Office) with an overwhelming sense of a job well done. This is where the Wicked Witch comes into the story… rather than channeling the new leads into a strategic communication mail flow, the Wicked Witch sent all of Viewbook-A-Lot’s new inquires another… Viewbook.

Unfortunately this is not a fairy tale. No Wicked Witch is involved, nor malice at all. This is a true story of a college’s unplanned communication to prospective students. In order create a better ending to this fairy tale, many colleges preform enrollment communication audits. These audits range from classic print communication to social and interactive media and branch as far as an analysis of the student’s enrollment experience.

Whether you go at it internally or reach out to a consultant for assistance, make sure to engage in your effort with an unbiased approach. Here are a few things your audit should strive to uncover—

+ Audits reveal duplication and detect information gaps

Sometimes this is not as obvious as sending a Viewbook twice. This can crop-up especially in the search and inquiry processes when cultivating multiple enrollment classes.

+Save money and increase yields

An audit can help reveal areas of redundancy and unveil areas where strategic communication is better than frequent mail drops at the post office. Creating a tactical approach for every student, at every level of their interest, is a major key in effective communication.

+Brand integrity

When colleges use multiple vendors, utilize print and social mediums, and produce marketing materials both in-house and outsourced, identity can begin to fade and blur.

+Data driven results in the form of a Strategic Communication Plan

Creating a strategic communication plan can provide a deliverable framework for which an enrollment office can build and sustain communication.

Take the Wicked Witch out of your travel season… consider an enrollment communication audit.

TWG Plus adds Brand Specialist

Hi, this is Beatrice Szalas, Vice President at TWG Plus.

Beatrice Szalas

As one of the newest additions to the TWG Plus team, I am very excited to share with you our vision for the company as we continue to expand our innovative and cost-effective solutions to achieving your marketing and enrollment goals.

I came to TWG Plus because I was impressed by the meaningful and measureable results we’ve been able to deliver to our clients year after year.  And I imagined how these could be boosted, even further, by offering strategic counsel and guidance to all our clients in the area of brand marketing.

Higher education branding is my passion.  And in my role of as Vice President, I will be working directly with clients, like you, to ensure you have the knowledge and the tools you need to enhance your reputation and build a strong brand identity for your institution.

I believe, successful college brands are fortified in promises that are relevant, distinctive and authentic in people’s hearts and minds.  In the coming months, I will be sharing with you foundational principles of branding that anyone working within the higher education sphere will want to consider as they work to develop, communicate and strengthen their brand position.  These principals are the result of my experience working with a variety colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada and my understanding what really works.  Branding a college is not like branding a running shoe, a premium cup of coffee or the latest touch technology.  Branding a college is different for so many reasons. Those of us working in higher education appreciate that.   Stay tuned as I share tips and ideas that will help you improve your competitive position, build a stronger brand, and achieve your enrollment goals.