Tag Archives: direct mail

Are Your E-mails to Prospective Students Too Long?

recruitment marketingTwitter has limited us to 140 characters. Google+ posts average 156 characters (according to Quintly Research). And while Facebook allows more than 60,000 characters per post, the ideal Facebook post length is less than 40 characters.

So why do many college and university marketers try to cram as much text possible into marketing e-mails?

As marketers try to reach current high school population (aka Generation Z, or digital natives) who are used to texting shorthand and character limits it may be time to rethink e-mail word-length strategy.

Here are five things to consider.

Keep it short and simple. This old adage I learned in journalism school still applies. Always aim to write succinct copy and avoid flowery (or overly academic) language in undergraduate recruitment materials. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Perhaps even implement a word-limit for your school’s e-mail blasts.

Cut, cut, and cut some more. Once you write a marketing e-mail, ask yourself: What words are unnecessary? Is there any passive voice you can remove? Is the word “that” overused? Can you say the same thing in fewer words? Revise as much as you can and remove as many unnecessary words as possible until only essential words remain.

Be creative. Recruitment e-mails from colleges and universities often can blend together and sound the same—ever see the terms “small class sizes” or “personal attention” used? I thought so. Try something different. Challenge yourself to get your point across in 140 characters. Create short videos that present your content in a visual format. Use only a single photo and a caption, along with a call to action.

Do a test. If you’re not sure what e-mail copy will work best for your audience, do a test. Send half of your pool one e-mail version, and the other half another version. See which one produces the best results.

Use bullets and bold. Just like online copy, break up chunks of copy in your e-mails by bolding key terms and using bulleted lists.

Not convinced that shorter is better? Check out this Marketing Experiments blog article on how a shorter e-mail increased their customer’s e-mail click-through rates by more than 16 percent.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. She frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative

 

5 Ways to Save Costs on University Marketing Mailings

Marketing BudgetCollege and university marketing budgets are tight. Budgets may not increase as paper, postage, and printing costs increase, but direct mail is still an important part of an integrated marketing campaign.

Over the years I spent working in higher education communications, I learned a few tricks to cut costs of direct mail pieces. Here are a few of those tricks that may help you cut costs, too.

Paper weight
Each printer usually has a standard sheet they use on most projects. Ask your printer what its standard sheet is. Is it an 80# gloss text? A 70# matte text? If you typically print your tri-fold marketing brochure on a 100# gloss text sheet, and the printer’s standard sheet is 80# gloss text, consider making a change.

In most cases, adjusting the paper weight won’t produce a noticeably different result. If you use the sheet the printer uses the most of, you may be able to get a price break.

Paper size
Find out from your printer what the largest sheet size is for the paper you’re using. The less paper sheets you use, the lower the cost. If you’re creating a postcard and the largest sheet for the postcard paper is 11×17, you can do the math to figure out what size to design your postcards in order to maximize the space on a single sheet. This way you might be able to get six postcards, rather than four, from a single sheet, thus reducing your costs.

You can do this on all projects—from marketing postcards and trifold brochures to alumni newsletters and magazines.

Folding
Folding came in handy to save money on an alumni newsletter I created several years ago. Having the printer fold our 12-page newsletter to mail saved us big bucks in postage. The reason was that by folding the newsletter in half, it could mail at letter prices rather than as a flat.

If you really need to save some cash to balance your budget, consider folding a newsletter-style piece. In addition to saving money, it also helped prevent it from being torn up in the mail.

Quality of your mailing list
This is important, especially on large mailings. For every mailing you do, you should get your mailing list NCOA (National Change of Address) certified. NCOA certification compares your mailing list with change of address information provided to the U.S. Postal Service in the last four years.

The printing and/or mailing house you use should be familiar with this. Running your list through NCOA certification may cost a small fee, but it will be well worth it if you don’t waste money sending to incorrect addresses. Plus, you may be able to reduce your print run (and your printing costs) if a large chunk of the addresses on your list end up being removed via the certification process.

Bundling printing and mailing projects
As you plan deadlines and mailing dates for marketing pieces, consider which items can be bundled for printing and mailing. For example, if you need to create three postcards, and all go to different audiences but can be dropped in the mail at the same time, bundle these together. If the postcards are all the same size, you can save money because you’ll be buying in bulk.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative

Importance of Packaging for College Recruitment Materials

College and university marketers can take a lesson from Newegg.com in how to package their recruitment and admissions materials.

Just look at the packaging on a recent item my husband received from Newegg.com:

creative packaging

In case you can’t read it, the package says: “May contain awesome. Take it from a geek.”

Newegg.com knows its customers—and the packaging shows it. Because of these eight words printed on the box, it creates even more excitement for the person receiving the package to open it.

How much excitement do the envelopes that enclose your recruitment marketing materials create? If your envelopes simply have your university’s logo and return address, I’m guessing not much. That level of excitement—or lack thereof—may impact the reach of your materials. We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do.

How does your packaging show you know your audience? As shown in the Newegg.com example, a little copy, plus a little design can go a long way. It can show (rather than tell) your prospects (and/or their parents) that you understand them. And it may set your materials apart from the piles of materials they’re getting from other colleges.

Distinguishing yourself from the others via your packaging can mean the difference between your piece being tossed in a recycling bin or being opened.

Does your university use a creative packaging to deliver your materials to prospective students? Please leave a comment or tweet @DanasCreative on Twitter. I’d love to see the creative ways you’re packaging recruitment marketing materials.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative