5 Ways to Personalize Higher Education Marketing—and Get Results

Carnegie Higher Ed Aug 11, 2015 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

The more relevant and targeted your marketing is, the better your results will be. This is a simple, age-old fact. So how can you harness the power of one-to-one, personalized marketing for your prospects? Some of the most effective methods in your marketing arsenal include variable data printing (VDP) and dynamic content.

What is variable data printing?

Variable data printing is a digital printing technique that allows for certain elements—such as text, graphics, or photos—to be changed from piece to piece without interrupting or slowing down the printing process.

What is dynamic content?

Using dynamic content and/or dynamic landing pages is another method that allows marketers to customize and personalize their visitors’ online and/or e-mail experience. Much like VDP, dynamic information can be switched out based on each visitor’s academic interest, scholarship information, location, and more.

Here are five easy ways to use these two tactics—variable data printing and dynamic content—to customize your marketing.

1. Customized calls to action (CTA)

Everyone knows that a simple and direct call to action is a great way to boost your conversion. But how can you make a CTA even more effective? Personalize it! In the example below, you can see how the CTA was customized for the audience. Prospective juniors were given the option to request more info and submit their information, while seniors were prompted to start the application process.

 2. Imagery

A great photo will certainly catch a prospective student’s eye, but what if that photo reflected a major they were interested in? Or an extracurricular activity? Or the campus? Use dynamic elements or VDP to swap imagery in accordance to your student’s preferences like the example below:


3. Copy

Nobody wants to read a generic e-mail that they know was written to cater to a crowd. As higher education marketers, we know how hard it can be to write deliverables that appeal to a broad range of potential students. But VDP and dynamic copy eliminate that constraint. You can customize your body copy in e-mails, landing pages, and print pieces to engage and grab the attention of potential students. Here is a great example:

Copy written for a journalism student: Copy written for a fashion student:
The journalism industry may be changing, but a changing world needs smart, savvy journalists more than ever. [College’s] Journalism Department educates job-ready journalists for newspapers, magazines, television, radio, online, and social media. You’ll receive hands-on, multimedia experience in reporting, writing, editing, producing, and publishing in state-of-the-art newsrooms and on mobile devices . . . Fashion is as intimate as personal style and as global as the vast, multitrillion-dollar garment industry. [College’s] Fashion Studies Department gives you hands-on technical skills, an eye for artistry, and the business acumen necessary for launching a career in the modern fashion world. You can specialize in Fashion Business, Fashion Design, or a combination of the two . . .

4. Scholarships

If you really want to pique your potential students’ interest, let them know they’re eligible for a scholarship. Then use VDP or dynamic elements to show them a dollar amount! All you need on the backend is a matrix that matches their scholarship range with their name in the data.

5. Academic interest

If you know what academic programs your prospective students want to learn more about, you can target them and provide specific information about the majors and other academic offerings that might be of interest to them.


There are a thousand ways to use VDP and dynamic elements to make your marketing deliverables more relevant. Does your school use any of these tactics? We’d love to hear about them! Or if you need help implementing these strategies into your marketing campaigns, just let us know!


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