TWG Plus Wins Best of Show!

Today, we learned that TWG Plus brought home 17 awards from the Education Marketing Awards. This year, we competed against over 2,250 other entries and were one of only 16 agencies to win “Best of Show.” That award went to Marshall University’s integrated marketing campaign, “Sons and Daughters of Marshall.”

Adding to the long list, we received five gold medals for Averett University GPS, Louisburg College, St. Mary’s University and two for University of Mount Olive. Silver awards went to the Ave Maria University integrated marketing campaign and Belmont Abbey College’s travel piece.  Rounding out the list were nine merit awards.

Here’s a sampling!

Marshall University – Best of Show, Gold, Integrated Marketing

Marshall University Best in Show

 

Averett University GPS – Gold, Total Recruitment

Averett GPS Best in Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisburg College, Gold, Integrated Marketing

TWG Plus, Gold

St. Mary’s University, Gold Integrated Marketing, Search Piece

TWG Plus, Gold, Travel Piece

University of Mount Olive, Gold, Department Brochure

TWG Plus, Gold, Department brochure

University of Mount Olive, Gold, Direct Mail

TWG Plus, Gold, Postcard Series

 

Introducing Jennifer Fisher!

Jennifer Fisher, TWG PlusWe are excited to welcome Jennifer Fisher, our new vice president of business development.

Jennifer brings more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing to TWG Plus. Moreover, she spent the last decade at Pearson Education, where she developed a passion for technology and life-long learning.

Jennifer’s barely been here a week and she’s already been on the road with our Enrollment Guy, Nathan Alexander. Her drive to share TWG Plus’ consistency and expertise in higher education marketing is already helping her to build strong relationships. We think that she perfectly represents the TWG Plus commitment to providing customer-focused solutions that help our clients achieve more with less.

We can’t wait to see what she does next!

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/twg-plus-appoints-vice-president-of-business-development-to-lead-strategic-growth-of-collaborative-client-partnerships-300403609.html?tc=eml_cleartime

Five Digital Design Trends to look forward to in 2017

With a new year come new trends. TWG Plus is looking to the future as we break down five trend worthy topics!

1. GET GIFFY WITH IT

“…done correctly, GIFs can take your engagement and click-through rates to the next level.”

GIFs, really? I know what you’re thinking. GIFs are everywhere, and you’re right. So what’s so great about them? The GIF is nothing new, but their usage is becoming more popular than ever. Let’s be honest, abusing GIFs can kill your UX (user experience), but done correctly, GIFs can take your engagement and click-through rates to the next level.

According to The New York Times, 23 million GIFs are posted on Tumblr every day. Facebook gets more than 5 million daily. Slack sees more than 5 million GIFs each month.

GIF or JIF? Let’s Settle It.
I can’t tell you how many debates I’ve engaged in regarding the pronunciation of the word GIF — it’s sad really. The “G” in GIF stands for the word “graphic,” so many people believe that it should be pronounced with a hard G. But according to its creator, Steve Wilhite, the correct pronunciation is “JIF,” like the brand of peanut butter. I’ve been saying it wrong for all these years — who knew.

SO WHY GIFs?

They’re easy to digest.

They’re mobile friendly.

They draw attention to important information.

They help tell a story. 

 

They bring emails to life.

2. BIG, BOLD TYPOGRAPHY

As we focus more and more attention on content, designers will pay closer attention to headline size. In a world of constant distraction, visual hierarchy and headlines that draw attention are key. It’s important to dedicate plenty of screen real estate to the simple statement defining your company’s product or services. Start playing with space and mixing different fonts…the possibilities are endless.

3. GOOGLE FONTS

Google Fonts first launched in 2010 as a way to move the web forward and make it faster and more expressive by creating a simple way to add type variety to websites. It offers an intuitive and robust directory of open source designer web fonts. Google allows you to share and integrate typography, into any design project seamlessly; no matter where you are in the world. It’s Googles world now anyway — we just live in it.

Expect more designers to explore Google Fonts in 2017. Check it out!

Google Fonts

 

4. DUOTONES AND GRADIENTS

“Duotones can spice up an overused image, add a fun element when once is lacking and just help engage users visually.”

As minimalism came to the forefront in 2016, designers sought out ways to inject personality into their design work. [Insert big, bright colors here]. Duotones can spice up an overused image, add a fun element when once is lacking and just help engage users visually. Expect to see more duotone imagery used to bring consistency when several images are displayed. Check out these color soaked websites that really draw your attention!

As you can see, it’s not only about bright color, but gradients are also making a comeback. Yes, I said gradients, but let’s not get crazy here. There’s not always a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Use gradients thoughtfully and with purpose.

 

5. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE UX

“88% of online users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.”

So what is UX exactly? Short for user experience, UX brings user’s problems top of mind, and all design decisions should be centered around them. It’s important to focus on understanding your target audience, not who you think your target audience should be. Get to know your users through research and solve their problems (spoiler alert: actually talk to them!). Research is that genuine friend that tells you not what you want to hear, but the actual truth that makes you think twice. Use the information to your advantage to better impact your decision-making.

Still not convinced? Here are some powerful stats on UX:
• 88% of online users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
• Judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics.
• First impressions are 94% design-related.
• 85% of users think that a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website.

[Free Download] Publications Asset Checkclist

In November, we had a conversation with our Creative Director, December Lambeth. During the webinar, she outlined how to get the most out of your creative team – whether they are in house or an outside vendor. In order to add something extra to the event, our team put together a free publications checklist that admissions teams can use to get ready for the pubs season. This is based on the same checklist that we use here in the office and includes:

  • Account information
  • General assets
  • Design assets
  • Content assets
  • Photo shoot guideline

This cheatsheet should help you get prepared and focus your conversations with your design team.

TWGPlus Publication Asset Toolkit

Want to download the entire presentation about designing award winning publications campaigns down load it here http://twgplus.com/lp/page/higher-education-marketing-lp-how-develop-a-winning-publication-strategy.

Trials of an Enrollment Guy, Part 7

This post is my seventh installment in the continuing story about my 20 year-old son.

I have spent most of my working life in higher education enrollment, with a brief hiatus into the corporate world. Now, my life consists of visiting and consulting with colleges and universities across the south. In between, I get to sit behind the computer screen and try to keep up with what is happening with this younger generation.

That Aha Moment

Thought I would share a funny, yet enlightening thought my 20 year-old college junior had last night at the dinner table. We were discussing that my 13 year-old got his first piece of college mail from Hampden-Sydney College and he proceeded to say “Wait till you go on a college visit with Dad, it will be like taking your chemistry professor to the fireworks show. He will tell you why the fireworks explode and why they don’t and then you don’t get to enjoy the show!”

Now how many times have you been on a campus visit and thought about how the school could improve the experience for the prospective student and family? I am sorry. I am guilty of this, too!

There’s Nothing Wrong with Starting Early

In the last few days, I have been talking with some of my clients about how they are reaching out to their prospects. When that first piece of mail arrived for my younger son, I knew exactly what company had produced it as soon as I pulled it out of the mailbox. I want to share a couple insights that I think everyone should consider when doing a search campaign.

Being First to the Prospect

Even in the digital age, being first to the mailbox is a big deal.

It was definitely a big deal for my son the other day. He had never received a piece of college mail addressed to him. I give HSC kudos for buying the Duke Tip Names and reaching out to a kid in upstate SC. You never know if he will apply or even go visit but he did ask “Where is that?” and promptly went off to Google it.

What was the first result? Wikipedia.

Keeping your online properties up to date and properly maintained for SEO so that you will be found online is imperative for just these moments.

Now, what if you found students in your primary market that were connected to you via a niche major, sibling match, alumni, child or something you are known for? And then you were the school that first showed an interest in them?

There’s an old saying that “nearest is dearest.” It also works for marketing. Making the first move with students who are already near you physically or psychologically greatly increase your chances of receiving an inquiry from them—before your competitors.

We always remember who was first and not who was second or third. Don’t forget this for your next buy; focus your precious dollars on the students who are most likely to respond to you. If you are “nearest” by niche, major or family, you’ll stack the deck in your favor and minimize the workload on your staff.

Buying the Right Name from the Start

Selecting the right students is a science, but using a little prudence can take you a long way. Here are a few suggestions for finding the perfect match.

  1. Buy names using feeder schools without recruited athletes
  2. Overlay your alumni and sibling databases over your recruitment travel plan to make sure you are targeting the best areas.
  3. Consider using geo demographic information to find the best high schools and zip codes
  4. Buy names early, and often, that match your specific criteria to always be fresh
  5. Measure your responses, test and adjust
  6. Don’t give into “this is the way we have always done it”. Times are changing quickly.

In my younger son’s case, I am not sure how HSC chose his name.

Finding the correct names for your school is a science. Don’t just send to everyone in the market. Be a wise shopper and do your homework. Cut and dice the names to best fit your budget and recruitment plan.

So, the next time you’re first, you’ll be ahead of the game.