Successful Student Recruitment Strategy – Part 2 – Written Promotion

by smartamarketing


How to Recruit and Attract Students

The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

Questions to be answered

General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages


Always start with a great opening

How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE

Stimulate action

Present for easy reading

Things to avoid because they turn readers away


How to Recruit and Attract Students

How does one influence the mindset of prospective students to view the university as valuable?

How does one effectively highlight the unique features of a university, going beyond the act of plastering a generic message?

How can you win their trust and translate the marketing campaign into generating actual numbers?

What are the digital marketing must haves?

What is the expected impact of deregulation – what this means for student recruitment and how can you best respond?

Education is a very competitive marketplace, where standing out from the crowd can be hard. Here are some general guidelines, which can significantly improve your campaign to attract students.


Keep in mind that not all potential students are alike. To communicate effectively you need to (deeply) understand your target market(s) – see the first article in this series – Marketing and Education – Student Recruitment – Part 1


Virtually all candidates are used to on-line technologies, thus you must effectively use digital media (Websites, Social Media, Mobile – smartphones, pads etc) as well as conventional methods and media (TV, Print, Outdoors, Transit, Radio etc). Adapting to the new methods is crucial in any campaign these days.


The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

The key to a successful student recruitment strategy is thinking about “why, what you communicate, to whom, when and how,”


“Why” – your strategic and tactical objective(s)

“What are you offering?” If it is not immediately clear what you are offering, expressed as a benefit your marketing message will almost certainly fail

“Why” should they enrol?

“What” the message – based on broad strategic elements like Brand as well a situation specific tactical messages. For example, the content of the message should be dependent on the stage the person is at

“Whom” – the target audience (target segments)

“Where” will you find them?

“Where” are you speaking to them? – Media

“When” – timing of the message(s). This can be long-term messages, as may appear on a website as well as situationally specific messages in the general or social media.


Before you write a word or draw a picture…


– Compare your offer with your competitions. Are they basically the same?

– Isolate the areas where you win and lose

– Translate features/attributes into benefits

– Look for a unique benefit or combination of benefits.


Questions to be answered:


1.) To whom are you offering what benefit?

2) Is the offer unique/differentiated in the market?

3.) Why should they grasp it?

4.) How should you speak to them?


Basically, effective Marketing Communication is about communicating:


The RIGHT information

in the RIGHT way

to the RIGHT people

in the RIGHT place

at the RIGHT time


General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages

The key to effective Promotional Communication for Student Recruitment is: Successful messages come in only one language – BENEFITS!


Prospects want to know – “What’s in it for me?” (W.I.I.F.M.?)


A benefit is an advantage or satisfaction the prospect will gain – or the loss avoided – from the item, proposition or service you sell. Do not leave it to the prospect to discover the benefits he or she will gain from the offer. Spell it out, as simply as possible. Prospects cannot get more out of promotional message than what you put in it



Effective Marketing Communication must balance stated benefits with component realities (features). They provide the rational reason why the offer will work and help create conviction.   Benefits must be supportable.


Create interest and desire by stressing benefits of using your service or owning the resultant building.

Demonstrate the value of your particular product by detailing benefits and features.

Try to make it sell for you alone


Always start with a great opening

(1) Involve the reader. Address him/her directly.

(2) Put direct suggestion or question.

(3) Use words that stimulate

(4) Appeal to pride and self-interest

(5) Appeal to current or local issues.

(6) Beware overly clever language and technical terms.


Present your proposition quickly and clearly. Once you have gained the prospect’s attention with your opening, give your selling proposition quickly and clearly.


A “sale” is made at the moment the prospect decides he wants the benefits to be gained from your service more than the money they cost.


How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE:-

(1) Present the main idea at least three times during your message

(2) Tell of popularity (use testimonials, and quote authorities.)

(3) Convey value. Demonstrate the benefits are worth more than the cost.

(4) Give assurances and proof. Overcome objections. Guarantee satisfaction when you can.


Stimulate action:

(1) Give the reader good excuses and reasons for enrolment

(2) Make enrolment – tell how, when and where. Offer help


Present for easy reading

Content is more important than how you say it. Observing the basic rules, however, will help make your selling message easier to absorb.


(1) Start with enthusiasm and involve the reader.

(2) Use short words, sentences and paragraphs.

(3) Be direct, writing in second person, present tense.

(4) Be concrete, specific, honest – in the reader’s vernacular.

(5) Use visual words, lively words. Be informal, friendly, caring.

(6) Be complete, but concise. Give a message, not your life story.

(7) Ask for the desired action.


Things to avoid because they turn readers away:

(1) Puns, play on words, clichés, and foreign phrases

(2) Over-statement (that kills credibility)

(3) Long words (use short words)

(4) Formalism

(5) Banalities and platitudes

(6) Looking like everyone else. (Be distinctive.)


If you are interested in this subject, you may be interested in this forthcoming event in Sydney in early December

Marketing and Communicating for
Student Recruitment and the
Australian Higher Education Sector

One-day connected forum with two half day workshops
3-4 December 2014, Rydges Sydney Central

Listen, network and learn from your peers:
Macquarie University
Australian National University
Charles Sturt University
University of Technology, Sydney
University of Southern Queensland
University of Melbourne
International College of Management Sydney
University of New England


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