It’s always great to see colleges doing great online marketing. Whether you have followed Emerson’s acceptance hashtag (#ec2016) to welcome admitted students on Twitter, or the University of Iowa’s “I got accepted into IU” Facebook celebratory post, it’s always inspiring to see fellow marketers “walking the talk” and engaging with students in interesting ways.
The other day I was looking for examples of great admissions marketing websites for a presentation I was working on. I remembered speaking with Seth Meranda at High Ed Web, where he explained they had just completed redesign.
Interactive and Eye Catching
When I got to the site I was impressed with the design layout, premier video display and clear call-to-actions that parallel what they want students to accomplish. I also liked how they allowed students to provide feedback on the bottom left of the site.
I also had heard from Seth’s presentation how they had rearranged the layout of their calls to action after analyzing traffic patterns to place the highest sought content in the most accessible place.
Although the phrase “listening, learning and engaging your users” is a commonly associated with social media best practices, it’s also critical to utilize in a “static” medium like your website.
Dan Kohler was kind enough to share some more insights into the project. He believed that “without a solid web foundation, other digital initatives (social, online advertising, remarketing etc.) would fail to reach their full potential.
Coming Back for More
Like many of your prospective students, I eventually got distracted and began browsing through a few other admissions sites. I actually had forgotten about my experience with the University of Nebraska until the other week, I was putting a video of our apartment on YouTube and saw an advertisement asking me to “Apply for Admission.”
For those of you not familiar with the term “remarketing” involves placing a cookie in a visitors web browser that says “hey I’ve been to your site before.”
After leaving the website I was now eligible to receive targetted banner advertisements throughout various ad-networks online which reflected my browser history.
Although some may call this tactic “creepy” I believe these messages are more worthwhile than random ads about products or services that have nothing to do with me.
Is Remarketing Successful?
I’m not sure how many new applications this tactic brings, but I could see it being extremely beneficial for today’s student, who is browsing with so many tabs and sites sometimes they can forget where they’ve been, or even where they were going in the first place.
According to Dan, “Along with a boost in web traffic from returning visitors, one thing I might add about remarketing is the added benefit of securing top placements around the web that might typically cost more with a traditional CPC campaign. Granted a traditional CPC campaign yields new visitors, but marketing to returning visitors is equally as important.”
While we’ve experimented with remarketing on our own website, the results didn’t pan out for us as a top advertising channel. Have you utilized remarketing in your admissions marketing efforts? Whether you think it’s creepy or a must-have share your thoughts below.