When I was still in school, we all had overalls—they were totally the cool thing to wear. Overalls were effective, looked good (any Kris Kross fans out there?), and respected as a part of fashion—but sadly, they slowly phased out. Then the opinion became, “Oh my, she’s wearing overalls? That’s so 1992.”
Let’s compare this to marketing. Consider print, and later e-mail, to be the overalls of marketing. Print was well-established, and we can all remember when it had its day as a marketing fashion must-have. Then e-mail became wildly popular in the early 2000s and was all the rage—the new overalls, if you will. Colleges were transitioning accordingly: if you were buying lists, you were likely buying both direct mail and e-mail. But as we approached 2010, the buzz was all about e-mail and print dying out. Now, many claim that kids are texting or only using social media: They don’t e-mail. They don’t look at magazines or brochures. Although not completely true, the feeling was “that’s so 2003.”
Fast forward to today. The key to your recruitment efforts is a good website, and I’m pretty sure this “fad” is going to stick around for quite some time. But why are students there? What brings them? Traffic is sourced in many ways, but the site continues to be a passive medium: you need to drive them there.
Based on our experience, client result feedback, and research, we’ve concluded that the most effective way to increase site traffic is to increase brand awareness. Tools like print ads, search pieces, display ads, PPC, and the classic in-person fairs are going to increase recognition and in turn, increase brand name searches online. With e-mail, we continue to see an over 50% open rate for timely, specific messages. Our print mailings cause dramatic spikes in site traffic as it is delivered, and display campaigns show a direct year-over-year impact on site traffic.
In 2012, Carnegie Communications connected over 460,000 students with schools using our integrated outreach efforts and have delivered over 4,000,000 leads. We do this through our traditional print and e-mail efforts. This, combined with a consistent message online with targeted display campaigns and PPC efforts, enables students to know you, head over to your website, and become a part of your community. Take the traditional and bring it forward: be responsive in your design, consistent in your message across all mediums, and be sure you’re covering all bases.
So, traditional efforts are back (not that they ever really left, just the stereotype about them is gone). Be sure you’re using them in your plan. Check your analytics—they’ll agree with me. Coupling these efforts with your new online plans will add up exponentially (a 1+1=5 model).
Although I haven’t jumped back on the overall-wearing bandwagon, don’t count me out just yet! I just read two articles about them being “back with a vengeance” and saw a really cute pair in a magazine. Comment below on other marketing or fashion trends you have seen fade in and out.