Sound Smarter at Your Next Meeting

November 23, 2022

In every single one of CCA’s newsletters, we include a few “Sound Smarter” nuggets that feature stats, facts, survey results, advice, and insights all higher education marketers should know.

Our motivation? Just to help!

We know you’re busy—preparing for a board meeting, buttoning up a yield strategy, comparing app numbers YoY, and everything in between.

Here are a few Sound Smarters from recent newsletters.

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The nurture process doesn’t begin with that first auto-response email: Nurturing starts the moment someone reaches your thank you page—the page that should pop up after they fill out a form. Take a look at yours and ask: Is it welcoming? Does it offer options for what to do next? On one recent thank you page, we discovered that 49 percent of leads were already clicking on the Apply button. On another, we were able to measure which of three ebooks was most interesting to our new leads. (Want us to host a nurture workshop for your team? Let us know.)

A tip about the carousel ad format: The carousel ad format on Meta is almost always included in our media creative at the start. Looking at the results of our latest 60+ media campaigns, we learned that, yup, Meta’s own recommendation is spot-on: carousels work best when you allow them to optimize the order and show the best performing cards first. In other words, don’t design them as a sequential story.

Speak print: Text stocks have more flexibility, whereas cover stocks are more rigid and structured (great for the cover of a viewbook). Coated stocks have a finish on them which tends to make them smoother and give brighter color reproduction. Uncoated stocks tend to have really nice texture but can mute printed colors a bit. Luckily at CCA, we work with printers who know how to minimize this and really make your uncoated images pop.

For when someone asks you for more copy, and more copy, and more: Compared to Millennials at 12 seconds, the attention span of the average Gen Zer is approximately 8 seconds. That’s why you’ll hear us say “snackable content” is key. Whether it’s for your viewbook, emails, or Instagram Stories, it’s important to make the case that your content needs to be quickly consumed.

A super-easy way to spot earned media opportunities: Sign up for Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is an email subscription service that connects journalists and bloggers to you and your brand through a straightforward pitching process. When joining their mailing list, you can customize the specific queries HARO distributes by choosing the categories relevant to you. (So for example, if you work at a specialty school, you can sign up for a related category.) Btw, did we mention it’s FREE?

Content is no longer king. Distribution is! You could have the most amazing blog posts and ebooks and videos in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t put in the effort to promote and distribute your content. Some quick ideas: Share on your own social channels more than once (one piece of content can be shared at least 20 times in different ways); ask relevant faculty to share on their channels; include the content in your nurture streams and newsletters; promote wherever it makes sense and allowed on forums like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups. Is it application advice? Email it to superintendents and school counselors—in case they’d like to share in their own spaces.

Start early: According to Niche’s 2022 Survey of Juniors Searching for College, 72% of juniors started actively researching colleges as a freshman or sophomore, up from 56% last year.

Communication is key: Nearly 60% of students say that they don’t trust their school leaders because of a lack of consistent communication. In this period of rapid change, it’s impossible to over-communicate with students. Even if the message isn’t yet perfectly polished, students like having clear, open, and genuine direction from their school. A note saying “We’re still working on fine-tuning that plan, but we’ll have more information to share by Friday” is better than no communication at all.

Don’t sleep on retention marketing: A recent report from Salesforce showed that nearly 30% of college students indicated that the way their chosen college communicated with them after enrollment did not make them feel as valued as the communication they’d received during recruitment. Huddle your team and ask yourselves: What can we do to make our current students happier?

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