As we end another school year of filming and prepare for the next one, we proudly present our research and thoughts on using video marketing from behind the scenes.
Private liberal arts colleges are struggling right now as parents question the value of an expensive school and incoming students say they are more concerned about finding a job.
However, small colleges have an advantage in several areas: sports, extra-curricular activities, small class sizes, and access to experiences that would be impossible for most students at a large university.
We think video marketing can be an effective way for colleges to connect with current and prospective students, as well as alumni.
Here are 7 reasons why:
1) Small colleges have amazing stories to tell
Small colleges and universities typically have a higher percentage of athletes, actors, musicians, artists, and other students achieving remarkable things on a weekly basis. This is great content for YouTube.
Sports highlight videos, musical performances, entertaining videos of student actors, new science experiments, and other campus activities are fun, interesting, and a perfect way to get your college’s name out there.
Great videos that feature only one activity (like the video below) don’t just promote one activity, they promote the college as a whole.
This video about Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin came out one month ago. It now has 1300 views.
2) Online videos are mobile and shareable (free publicity)
Online videos are easy to watch and share on mobile devices like iPads/smartphone or on social media sites. The video below got 65% of it’s initial 3500 views from outside blogs (D3Football.com, FootballScoop.com, AttentionEra.com, etc.) and 24% from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
That is free publicity!!
Any college is a network. A network of students, alumni, professors, parents, etc. When those networks are given amazing content, they will share it. This is the age of social media.
3) YouTube is where you find high school and college students
If you want to go fishing, go where the fish are. 54% of all teens are on YouTube. 83% of these teen users enjoy participating in sports or fitness activities (Nielsen), the type of activities that small colleges have as a major selling point. (See AP story at bottom)
Whether it’s music videos, “how-to” videos, video blogs, or sports highlights, young people love to surf and share videos from YouTube.
4) Video marketing is more emotional
Nothing tells a story like a powerful video. Young people often make big decisions based on emotions.
If you want them to pick your school, stop throwing numbers at them and make them feel something. Videos will do that.
5) Online videos last forever
Every single video in the sports highlight film series we produced last fall is in the top 10 most watched videos on their YouTube channel in the past month, 9 months later!
Once your video is uploaded online, it will be around forever. It will sit on people’s facebook timelines, be embedded on blog posts, and they will come up on searches. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. It is owned by the #1 search engine in the world, Google. It’s a big search engine marketing tool. When teenagers are searching for “College” and the name of an activity, your video could come up in the search. The same goes for alumni looking back at their college memories (good for alumni giving).
Unlike traditional media, these additional viewers don’t cost any money.
6) You can win this battle
Unlike traditional marketing channels like TV & radio, which are expensive and competitive, the world of online video is wide open for control. For-profit colleges and online universities like University of Phoenix, Kaplan College, and Strayer University might have more marketing dollars, but they don’t have the same stories to tell or networks to share their videos. They don’t have the history, activities, culture, or students that small traditional colleges have.
Yes, it costs money to produce great videos. However, it doesn’t cost as much as you think, and it isn’t nearly as expensive as traditional media. If you buy in bulk, you can get a great deal from video production houses like ours.
You can win this one, but not if you wait forever.
7) New times call for new marketing strategies
The time is now. The world has changed. The college landscaping is shifting. Education is everywhere, yet experiences are what this new generation craves.
I thought this AP story hit the nail on the head. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Today’s increasingly career-focused students mostly aren’t buying the idea that a liberal arts education is good value, and many small liberal arts colleges are struggling.
But schools like Adrian College, 75 miles southwest of Detroit and back from a recent near-death experience, offer something of a playbook.
First, get students in the door by offering what they do want, namely sports and extracurricular opportunities that might elude them at bigger schools.
“We’re liberal arts-aholics,” says Adrian President Jeffrey Docking, who has added seven sports and two pre-professional degree programs since arriving in 2005 — and nearly doubled enrollment to about 1,750.
But he’s also a realist.
“I say this with regret,” said Docking, an ethicist by training. But “you really take your life into your own hands thinking that a pure liberal arts degree is going to be attractive enough to enough 18-year-olds that you fill your freshman classes.”
Liberal arts colleges talk constantly — and perhaps with more urgency lately — about better pitching their case to the public. But until they do, they’ll have to respond to what that public wants.
“You need to be able to offer more than simply strong academics or you’re going to have difficulty attracting students,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition. You’d better have something to distinguish yourself.” (read the full article here)
As you plan your marketing strategy for the upcoming year, don’t forget to tell your story using video. If you have any questions or need help, don’t hesitate to ask. Questions are free.
Until next time…thanks for your attention!
– Aaron @Biebert and the Attention Era Media crew
PS. If you love video, social media, marketing, or business leadership, please subscribe to our blog for free.
Photo Credits: Attention Era Media/Aaron Biebert