Go Bold or Go Home

So UAD1 was supposed to be  “Your Website is a Window Not a Billboard” but it was renamed in final edits to be “Go Bold or Go Home #nofilter” The team from Beloit College (including Melissa Dix (@akamelissa), Jason Hughes (@jasonhugheshere) and Bill Mortimer) focused their presentation on a rebranding effort created to boost admission by 22% in one year.

After a series of years of declining applications and acceptances the team was excited to come together to reboot their enrollment tools with a new ….. viewbook. The viewbook wasn’t as hugely successful as they’d hoped, but the process of evaluating it did allow them to start to look at their whole communication outreach and involve students in their efforts. The harsh reality was that no one remembered their website because they all looked the same. Melissa noted that a large image carousel has replaced “girls under trees” as the landing page option of choice in highered. Beloit’s answer? Video on the homepage.

Video became an integral part of their web experience and their student work study team provided much of the content. Using their work study students, they began creating different kinds of videos – ones that will connect with prospective students. Next they tackled the student profile, and released the site noboringstudents.org. They expanded social media and had huge success with #askabeloiter. They answered 50 prospective student’s questions in 30 days with 40+ videos. Last year their applications increased by 30% and they accepted their largest freshmen class in nearly 40 years (392 in 2015 compared to 299 in 2014).

beloitstudent

Realizing that the future requires connecting with the “most savvy group of consumers” ever, the team is using more social media, and using it in innovative ways, to support traditional email marketing. Handing over the Snapchat reins to students, faculty and staff has proven very effective. Friends of the college stick with their content til the end, data shows that over 71% of Snapchat participants watch a video and 93% of them watch to the finish.

The most important lesson learned: people will remember people. But squirrel videos every now and then don’t hurt.