The accelerated shift to digital-first within the HE sector has brought mixed feelings. Whilst some have seen it as necessary for survival during chaotic times, others have viewed the shift as an inevitable modernisation that has been long overdue. In particular, there has been debate around the printed prospectus, and whether it’s demise may be permanent. But we know that prospectuses are important to many students, with the NCS finding that 40% of students on institution websites looking for courses, downloaded a prospectus. So what are the benefits of swapping print for digital? And will the digital prospectus ever manage to live up to it’s much beloved physical self?
Putting personal preference aside, one of the key things to consider when ditching hard-copy and going digital with your marketing solutions is sustainability. With a 2030 deadline for delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, the clock is ticking for businesses to take affirmative action in order to meet targets. Gone are the days where thinking sustainably is enough. And especially when your business is propped up by the hyper-attuned student community, who want actions not words.
For many sectors, the pandemic has dampened sustainability efforts, with costs being directed elsewhere. And yet, for the HE sector, the pandemic has done the opposite. By embracing digital, institutions have made vital steps towards a more eco-friendly system. Print and freight are both notoriously bad for the environment, as well as costly. Which brings us onto another reason for going digital. Budget.
All HE marketing strategies are of course focused on attracting students to their institution, at the best possible ROI. The average prospectus costs an average of £3.20 to bring to publication and £4.40 to distribute (including freight and import). When printed in their thousands, if not millions, this is an incredibly expensive endeavour to say the least. Especially when up to 28% are discarded without ever even being read. Yikes. So ultimately, going digital is one of the most cost effective solutions for any HE marketing department. You can even think about using that budget elsewhere all together: on digital marketing that is creative, easily trackable and scalable.
But back to ROI and measurement. By using a digital, personalised prospectus that is sustainable and accessible, all behind a gated form and dedicated landing page; you can track every student, parent and contact that has a nosey, and capture that important 1st party data you need to turbocharge your advertising and increase conversion rates through the entire funnel. There’s no more hoping your prospectus will be read in a common room, instead, you can use Akero’s form and landing page builders to ensure every touchpoint is traced and attributed to your spend. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
And yet, there are still valid concerns around eliminating the printed prospectus. Some feel they are of particular value for parents and families that want something to take home with them after meeting with a provider or education agent. They have also been valuable for non-English speaking students to help them absorb the information, for example in China and Latin America. But what if you had the option to make each prospectus highly personalised? If you had the option to tailor your marketing messages to who was listening, would that not keep your audience even more engaged?
And the wonderful thing is that this is now fully achievable. With companies like eduKUDU, who offer bespoke digital marketing materials including publications and prospectuses, you can achieve relevant, up to date and highly reflective material that won’t merely be country or even region-specific but can be specific to a city, an institution, a subject or even a course. It’s a budget-friendly solution for ultra adaptable material that is also accessible for those with disabilities. One size definitely does not fit all in this day and age and companies like eduKUDU are recognising this and offering a service that provides almost limitless flexibility.
The HE sector now find themselves in an enviable position of being able to embrace digital knowing that in doing so they can achieve numerous goals, including hitting sustainability targets, being on side with the demographic they are representing, cutting down on lofty budget spends, all whilst making marketing materials ultra relevant and accessible. It’s a win-win-win.
To find out more about how you can adapt your marketing strategy towards digital and make the most of your comms through personalisation, get in touch with us today.