In 2018 and beyond, changes in fees have made it even more important for universities to use effective marketing techniques in order to attract students to their campuses. According to the latest statistics, studying for the majority of students stands at £9,250 for courses beginning in 2018. Although there are some exceptions — for students studying in Wales, for instance, as well as Scottish and Northern Irish students studying in their home countries — this large fee could cause young people to reconsider applying for a university spot.
However, there are simple and effective ways you can encourage prospective students to choose your university over others — one of which, is brochure marketing. Not sure how to go about designing a brochure for your uni? For advice on creating an effective brochure that will engage and attract the best students, simply follow this guide created specifically for universities!
The essentials of brochure designing
So, what are the basics of brochure marketing if you’re starting from scratch? To begin, each page’s headline, subheading and body copy must be clear in content and layout. For example, your headings must be attractive, your text must be descriptive and your subheadings should act as a bridge that leads the prospective student from the attention-grabbing header to the informative body copy.
Do you know about the ‘rule of thirds’? This design rule, which applies to paper both vertically and horizontally, will help you line-up text boxes and images to create a neater, more professional layout. Luckily, a tri-fold brochure automatically creates a vertical third — just don’t put important information on the folded parts.
When it comes to fonts, adopt a minimalistic approach — by which we mean keep it simple. Limit yourself to two font styles and three font sizes, maximum. Also, don’t embolden or over italicize too much text — this should only be done to emphasise a point. The more often you do it, the less power your words will have.
Now you know the bones of brochure design, you can start making yours stand out against your competitors.
Get noticed against other universities
Although universities fees have risen in recent years, so have grades. This means that young adults are more inclined to build on their success by going to university. According to a report in The Guardian, British sixth formers achieved some of the best A-level grades for several years at the end of the latest school term. So, how can you grab students’ attention when lined up next to hundreds of other tables representing other UK universities at fairs and exhibitions?
Speed and clarity are essential in brochure marketing — no student is going to waste time making sense of text that doesn’t tell them clearly and instantly why they should go to your uni. According to the most recent research, marketing material has a maximum of eight seconds to grab attention — so make it bold and attractive. If red or yellow are your university colours, be sure to use these to your advantage. Red is considered the most attention-grabbing colour to humans, while yellow is the most visible to the human eye.
Using emotions to entice readers can also encourage engagement and boost your chances of attracting a UCAS application. Think about Durham University’s ‘Let’s make things happen’ header and ‘Redefine your future’ used by the University of Stirling. These are inspirational and will get the reader imagining what their life could be like if they studied at your institution.
Create a design that stands out
Did you know that visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other content types? Images are an excellent and simple way to give personality to your university and make it more ‘user friendly’ — and photos that convey an emotion or display an action are best. Show students laughing, participating in sports, using hi-tech equipment, and collaborating on projects to highlight opportunities available at your establishment and hold the audience’s attention.
It’s essential that you grab and then retain your reader’s attention to make sure they digest as much of your brochure as possible. According to research published in the Journal of Chemical Education, the first spike in attention lapse occurs just 30 seconds after engaging in an activity (in this case, a lecture). If you’re handing your brochures out at colleges, sixth forms and schools, you need them to remain interesting if you want to retain their engagement.
Engage with your students’ enthusiasm
Nowadays, millions of students attend uni from all backgrounds. In the 2016-17 academic year, there were approximately 2.32 million students at higher education establishments in the UK, which means you have a wide spectrum of students to attract.
But how do encourage young adults to choose your university over others? One effective way is to pack your brochure with information that will interest them and language they’ll engage with. By using optimistic, inspiring and exciting content in your brochure, you can conjure up a positive image in your prospective students’ mind — phrases like modern city, award-winning courses and thriving student life are bound to pique interest! But, be sure to pay attention to the following sectors:
- Employability: students care about their chances of securing a job after graduation.
- Nightlife: socialising is a big part of university, so what lies around your campus counts towards it appeal.
- Funding: how easy is it to get a scholarship?
- Accommodation: good living standards and nice areas matter, but aren’t always available.
You won’t have a lot of space to write about each above topic in your brochure, but make sure you bear them in mind when creating your content. Also, don’t forget that out-of-class activities and studying abroad opportunities can really help you grab interest and push your university higher up in a student’s wish-list when it comes to UCAS applications.
Look at your university as a student
The more research you carry out prior to designing your brochure, the greater chance you’ll have on including the right information that will pull in plenty of new students. When trying to attract new students, the University of York carried out extensive research over three years into 71% of its departments to discover why a student might want to choose here for their higher education courses. Afterwards, the university created and distributed engaging brochures and online content that connected with prospective students and showed them exactly why they should choose the University of York.
The director of external relations at the university, John Concannon, said that the marketing material has been “positively received by prospective students and parents at open days”, and even lead to a “culture change in departments when it comes to undergraduate recruitment”. Each course is diverse, so learn as much as you can about each department. After all, each course will attract different characters with varying ambitions.
Get help from your current students
All around you, you have students that are learning to be the next big thing in their careers. So, why not use your students to your advantage during your marketing campaigns? Ask your design students to mock up a brochure that they reckon would work to promote your university, and get your marketing students involved by letting them project manage and make critical decisions on content.
Your students can also help you gauge what new students might be looking for, so you can tailor your brochure content more effectively. Send out surveys via the university emailing list or question students when they’re relaxing in their communal areas to gain an insight into what matters to them and why they chose to study at your institution.
Include plenty of key statistics
Packing your brochure with statistics about your university that leap out and make readers take notice could also help you attract new students. 90% of your university’s research recognised around the world? Invest more than £10 million in facilities last year? 98% satisfaction rating in the latest national Student Survey? As part of your research, collect important data that you believe will prove how beneficial your university will be for an undergraduate. You can either place these within your copy body, or create a graphic of the most impressive ones. Few students will spend time reading full bodies of text, so grab their attention by using key statistics to boost your university.
At this stage of their lives, you target audience is at its most motivated and ambitious — complement their excitement and show them how your university can help them fulfil those dreams!
Deliver exciting and easily digested content that doesn’t bombard readers with lifeless language, irrelevant statistics and condescending tones. Simply, consider colour, layout, copy, and imagery; and make sure you create a positive identity that a new student will want to engage with.
This article was created by Where The Trade Buys — a UK leader in printing services, including A5 booklet printing.
Sources: https://ag.tennessee.edu/cpa/Information%20Sheets/cpa179.pdf http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/facts-and-stats/Pages/higher-education-data.aspx https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/aug/17/a-level-results-show-first-rise-in-top-grades-in-six-years https://www.dreamgrow.com/21-social-media-marketing-statistics/ https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed100409p https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/30-tricks-for-capturing-students-attention/ https://groupgti.com/insights/7-strategies-universities-should-embrace-attract-postgraduate-students-0 http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/facts-and-stats/Pages/higher-education-data.aspx https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/feb/17/how-to-recruit-attract-university-students