Although more Americans are getting their high-school diplomas, fewer are enrolling in college. As a result, competition between universities trying to fill their classes has gotten tougher and more expensive. In fact, a 2016 study found that universities now spend on average $2,232 to recruit a single undergraduate student.
Landing a great first impression with visiting students is crucial to a successful recruiting strategy. Seeing how tech savvy new students are, it’s only natural to include technology tools in the recruiting experience. Digital signage is one such tool. Using it to personalize the student’s experience will influence their decision by enhancing the beauty of the campus and what it has to offer.
We’ve listed a few action items to include in your higher ed digital signage strategy in order to improve engagement with potential students and increase interest in your university:
To increase enrollment and retention, universities need to get students to see the campus as their new home. Using personalized welcome messages will have this impact on students. Making the effort to welcome students in this way shows that you have an interest in them and guarantees you making a great lasting impression.
When the screens are not being used as welcome displays, admissions counselors can share pictures of the campus, show a schedule of campus tours or display social media posts from the school, students, alumni or potential students. Weather and traffic updates can also be displayed to add value to the visitor’s experience by helping them plan their tours more accurately.
Most colleges have specialties within the campus e.g. a School of Business. To increase enrollment for these programs, universities can leverage strategically placed interactive kiosks with a wealth of information about the program. When potential students are interacting with technology and they get to control when and what they see, read, hear and retain, they engage better and retain more information.
Colleges can also incorporate contextual targeting in their digital signage strategy. Displaying visual aids such as images and short videos to potential students while they are on campus grounds will help them visualize the college experience you have to offer and influence their decision to select your institution.
Interactive displays can also be used for faculty directories, to encourage familiarity with students. Faculty listings can include brief professor bios, office hours and/or a description of the classes they teach. In addition to giving students a personalized view of their professors, interactive faculty directories make teachers more accessible and approachable.
Traditional lobby messaging can also be replaced with a video wall. Video walls have a bigger visual impact especially for high traffic areas and they offer a more immersive experience, inviting viewers to play. Add that to their large footprint and you get an engaging medium for telling the campus story, spotlighting campus achievements or even displaying the campus map.
Millennials have a great interest in sustainable technology and renewable resources. To connect with them, campuses can share their energy usage figures on digital signage displays. Showing students that you have the same concerns they have will differentiate you from other campuses and get you more enrollees.
Some campuses have successfully adopted this strategy and are even participating in “Green Challenges” where dorms compete to have minimal energy waste. Using the displays to measure progress towards sustainability is a great competitive advantage that will attract those with a similar cause.
Higher ed digital signage is an easy but effective strategy that will supplement your university’s admissions efforts. Implementing the strategies mentioned above improves the optics of your campus, making it appear tech-savvy and fresh in a way that many universities have not taken advantage of.