Digital signage is a great and non-invasive way to reinforce important student recruitment messaging. Whether it’s in or around the school or commercial systems, leveraging compelling video presentations are a great way to convert prospective students.
Historically digital signage was most effective with consumers stuck somewhere or in need of something to pass the time. In Doctors offices, for instance it replaced magazines which patients would browse while waiting for an appointment. However crafting a smart, comprehensive content strategy that is thoughtful about how prospective student's make their college decisions can be a key component in your overall student recruitment strategy. Here are 7 Keys to effectively using digital signage in your student recruitment strategy.
Tell a Compelling Story
Digital signage is an extremely effective messaging tool for higher learning. One of the common pain points we hear from our university partners is how difficult it is to condense the college experience into a soundbite, a tagline or a tweet. Our response: dont.
I get it. College is a huge decision and a very big investment in one's future. The other day I was telling my wife that there are very few people in my life right now, outside of family, that I can't trace back to college. Looking back, my life would be very different if I chose somewhere other than West Virginia University.
However, I didn't make that decision on a whim, I was a lead that was nurtured through a story about the university. The first chapter was sports and then student life, academics, extracurricular affairs etc. You can't close a student in one impression, so don't try. Use your real estate on the digital signage strategically to continue the narrative, nurture your leads and advance the sale. In order to do that its important to know where your student is in the buyer's journey.
Respect Thy Buyer's Journey
You can craft the greatest digital signage campaign but if your prospective student isn't interacting with the correct conversion driving content at the appropriate place in the buyer's journey, you're wasting efforts.
Understanding where your prospect is in their college decision making journey is vital to developing great content. Top of funnel leads haven't yet considered one college vs. the next, they're still understanding college as an option or the next step in their education. Content that helps parents broach those conversations with their children is a great piece for digital signage that will help you convert more leads in the awareness stage.
Conversely, bottom-of-funnel leads already know the benefits of college, have narrowed down their choices and know the features of the schools they are considering. Developing content that speaks to the key distinguishing characteristics of your school is part of a winning strategy.
Know Your Dwell Times
Dwell times are a very key metric to monitor with any digital signage recruitment strategy. Is your sign in a waiting area? That’s a great opportunity for long-form content that highlights the features and benefits of your college. If it’s in a hallway with lots of traffic flow, make sure your messages are short and to the point. Always include a call to action; what do you want the prospect to do next? Make sure to measure the dwell times at different times of the day and days of the week, as it’s sure to vary.
Value the space and time, however limited that you may have with the prospective family to further engage. Consider which of your branding messages makes the most sense. If the answer is none, consider crafting new creative or tailoring existing content rather than the shoehorn approach.
It's Not A TV... It's Still a Sign
One of the common errors we see rookie digital signage marketers make is using it as a television with which, they can simply run commercials on loop. In fact, colleges that use their standard :30 and :60 spots on digital signage are doing themselves a disservice. It’s important to understand that the medium isn’t being consumed like television. Each sign is mutually exclusive of the next and when possible, engages prospective students using content tailored to them. The next few keys will help you better do this.
Target and Day-Part
On-campus digital signage can provide value in a number of ways. It’s great for way-finding, directing students and visitors where they need to go. It’s extremely useful for providing breaking news and emergency information. They are great for showcasing the cafeteria menu, sports game schedules or even highlighting student and faculty accomplishments.Just not all at once.
The more you understand who is seeing the signs and when, the easier it is to build out recruitment content when prospective students and families are most likely to exposed to it. It doesn’t have to just be open house. For instance at 3pm on Saturdays you always do campus tours, consider synchronizing each of the digital signs the tour will pass to engage prospects on a progressive campaign reinforcing information your guides will be highlighting at that point in the tour. Once the tour passes on it’s scheduled path resume enticing students with that double cheeseburger.
Never Rely On Audio
In digital signage, audio is the ultimate variable. It’s almost never reliable as sound conditions are always unpredictable. Your content must be able to deliver without the use of audio. Some content producers elect to close caption their creative but I advise against using them as a crutch. Subtitles should be used sparingly and creatively. Consider alternating fonts and sizes to reinforce your message when and where appropriate.
However Leverage Audio Where Appropriate
On the flip side audio can be a great tool. Again, we always need to assume that the visual content will need to stand up on its own. Audio however is always an effective attention grabber. Music beds, for instance, are great compliments to visual content especially if its trendy and speaks to a genre that resonates with targeted students. Even in the instance where the audio is low to inaudible, the faintest rhythms can subtly grab a prospects attention giving your content more quality impressions.
Consider staying away from too much conversational audio however. There's nothing more confusing to a prospect than seeing someone's mouth moving and not understanding what their saying.
These are just a few ideas that can help you convert and yeild more students using digital signage. We are always looking for your feedback on what works. Have ideas, comments or questions? Leave them below.
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