From education to employment

Why it is Time to Move to a Digital Prospectus

Deciding what school to choose for your child is difficult. And when that choice involves moving location, country, perhaps even continent, it becomes exponentially more complex. Parents will want to conduct as much research as possible to ensure that whatever school they select will be the perfect fit for their child.

How they conduct this research and how easy it is to find out as much as possible about each school can be tricky. Typically, schools offer open days and, of course, a printed brochure. However, the power and the potential of a digital prospectus are such that schools can no longer afford to ignore this platform. Covid-19 accelerated the switch to digital, but even before the pandemic swept the globe, schools worldwide were taking notice of the shift in both expectations and research habits of parents, students, and teachers.

While some schools remain firm believers in their print prospectus, most schools are taking steps to move towards a more digital approach using a mix of print and digital PDF versions. 

Aside from the obvious sustainability benefits of not printing a prospectus, digital offers huge scope to reconsider what content parents would best engage with and create an unforgettable experience of your school. There is always the temptation to replicate the generic print prospectus online in a digital PDF format. Yet, that feels like a missed opportunity when you consider the potential of digital. With digital, you can share all types of authentic content that will offer a real life view into your school and what it’s truly like to study there. Consider things like impactful videos, podcasts or student soundbites. This content reflects what your school is about in a way paper cannot do. 

Below I outline why schools that embrace a fully digital-first approach will be ahead of the game when it comes to offering a heightened customer experience and differentiating themselves from their competitors.

How a digital prospectus meets the needs of prospective families

Meeting the needs of parents in a digital world

For starters, we know that 68% of Gen Y, or millennials, expect that the buying journey, whether it’s for a fridge or a new car, provides the convenience of omnichannel accessibility. This expectation that as buyers we can experience the product or service in multiple formats, is now so de rigueur that schools put themselves at a considerable disadvantage without it. 

Only through digital can schools offer a more immersive experience of their school through high impact photos, videos and user generated content accessible across any device. Long gone are the days where parents spent their weekends and evenings flicking through a pile of generic print prospectuses. Prospective parents expect an experience of your school that is both accessible and convenient. Only with digital can parents and families decide where and how they want to consume the story of your school. 

Offers flexibility and adaptability 

A key differentiator between the digital and the traditional paper prospectus is that it can be shaped to fit each stage of the buying journey. It is not something that is only available when parents come to your open day, complete a school tour or request it from your website. It can also be easily adapted to truly reflect your school’s community. Because it is digital, you can provide prospective parents and students with the ability to watch targeted video content, listen to podcasts, fireside chats, soundbites from current pupils and staff. You can also optimise any user-generated content, which will always resonate well as it gives people that review experience we are so accustomed to in our personal buying life and habits. It can capture and reflect your school’s identity and culture in a way that a one-dimensional, generic, print brochure cannot. 

What is further unique about a digital prospectus is that it can be applied to every stage of the admissions journey. Whether the family is first learning about your school or has completed a tour, it can serve as additional content that reinforces why your school is the best choice.  We have already seen schools use digital as the first point of contact after an initial enquiry, while other schools have successfully used it as a follow-up after an open event, meeting the family at a school show, or after a school tour. 

Customised for each family

By its very nature, the traditional one-size-fits-all print prospectus does not address the needs of every family and can leave prospective parents feeling like the needs of their child don’t matter. However, the beauty of a digital brochure means that you can tailor it to speak to each family individually. For example, if you know that a student is interested in pursuing a career in engineering, is a keen rower, and will need boarding accommodation, you can highlight each of these areas and illustrate how your school will meet and deliver on these requests and interests. The ability to shape each prospectus for each student means that you can include the relevant content for your audience. You can even, if needed, offer the prospectus in the family’s preferred language. Or, if the prospective student is an international one, you can load information about visas and other helpful information for someone new to the country. By speaking to each individual family as if their needs matter the most, your school can provide a customer experience that sets your school apart from the rest. 

Generates key reporting metrics

Data is the equivalent of gold or oil in the current climate. The more you can mine, the better you are positioned to understand your audience and then make any necessary adjustments to your marketing programme to meet these needs.  Metrics are also a critical way to demonstrate the value of your services to your key stakeholders. With a digital prospectus, you can better monitor parent engagement and adapt content quickly. As we illustrate in our blog, Personal parent engagement and analytics, there are some essential metrics that you should be monitoring if you want to ensure that your campaigns are effective. For example, if you can identify who is viewing your content and for how long, and what content visitors are not viewing, you are better equipped to plan the content for your next marketing campaign.  

The traditional print prospectus simply doesn’t allow for school marketers to take actionable insights on their future marketing activity. Hundreds of prospectuses are printed and sent out without any knowledge of where they’ll end up or whether your school brand and message has landed well. Schools should move towards a digital prospectus to be able to better track the ROI of their prospectus and gain valuable insights into how prospects are engaging with their school content. 

Kampus24: Changing the way school marketers interact with prospective families

Kampus24 is changing the way school marketing and admissions teams communicate with prospective parents and their wider community online, helping to drive more enquiries through to application.

Kampus24 is an easy-to-use digital student recruitment tool, allowing a school to create tailored communications, such as prospectuses, that meet an individual family’s interests in minutes. With a fully trackable analytics dashboard, schools can get a quick access snapshot of how prospective families are engaging with your school content and how they are progressing through the admissions pipeline from enquiry through to application

Find out more here.

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