Higher Ed Marketing – The Greatest Sin

College marketing doesn’t have a ‘sinful’ track record; Michael Fienen’s recommendations for successful recruitment, however, advocate a change of course.

  1. Pride: Does your school’s website showcase pride? Above mindless quick links or upcoming event listings should be information about student accomplishments and awards, businesses hiring your graduates, etc. Take time to properly position this information, as well – you might gain the most prospects by planting these details on a Student or Campus Life page.
  2. Gluttony: ‘Gluttonous’ schools market their main attributes in a number of different ways. Whether highlighting the free student Rec Center or the 24-hour campus café, “product features” should be clear to all prospects visiting your website.
  3. Sloth: Students (and Internet-users in general) are lazy, necessitating a short and sweet application process. The simpler it is to navigate around your website, request information or watch an embedded video of your mascot doing the Macarena, the better.
  4. Envy: Get students and alumni involved in “cool” things (i.e. things that ‘outsiders’ do not have access to). Don’t broadcast these events and promotions to students and alumni alone – let everyone know what you’re doing so they’ll envy your creative ‘insider’ perks.
  5. Lust: Interaction with your prospects needs to be rich if you want them lusting after you. Rather than writing copy (identical to all other college websites) about how great your dorm rooms are, prove it. Include pictures, student feedback, or virtual tours – just don’t forget to pick up the dirty gym socks in the corner first.
  6. Greed: What do you have to offer your students? College websites should clearly delineate financial aid numbers, job/career resources and even opportunities to get free food or t-shirts.
  7. Wrath: Wrath refers to the community’s opinion(s) about your school (namely, the negative). Public issues that arise should be handled professionally and unfavorable criticism should be acknowledged as “constructive feedback”. If you’ve built a reputable name for your school, fans and followers will come to your defense.
  8. Michael Flenen has more to say about college marketing in his article “Using the 7 Deadly Sins in Higher Ed Web Marketing”.

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