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      Will digital personalisation mark the end of the line for traditional prospectuses?

      From the moment a family or pupil views a new school, they begin to form a very personal connection with it. Schools already know this and recognise the importance of a personal approach when marketing to new pupils and families.

      Personalised marketing is now the norm

      As general consumers, we are used to personalised marketing in the digital world: our online accounts and the websites we visit and revisit deliver individualised messages and product offerings to us all the time. As consumers, we are used to websites learning our likes and dislikes and suggesting new things to us. Amazon has been doing this for years and we are going to see a lot more of this as websites evolve. However, that doesn’t always transfer very easily in the traditional print medium.

      Online and offline need to be connected

      Every school website is packed full of detailed information for the prospective parent and pupil. The website is seen on a screen or mobile device and needs to be connected to the internet; there is no offline version. This is why a printed prospectus will always be part of the marketing mix and comes into its own when done in the most impactful way.

      But a website and prospectus are still only parts of a wider marketing journey that schools want families to embark on when deciding what is the right school for them. The goal is to use as many methods as possible to get a family and pupil into the school so that schools can really showcase all the benefits. In an ideal world, admissions departments would always like to know more about their prospective pupils in order to tailor any marketing to their requirements.

      Still, the website and prospectus are the first touchpoints and it can be a challenge to convey the school’s best attributes with just these elements. The website helps navigate the user to what interests them.

      First impressions count

      Once they have found out more information on the website, the next step is either request a prospectus or arrange a visit and get a feel for the school. This is when the school has its first opportunity to respond with a personal response that will give that all-important unique first impression. Traditional prospectuses printed in bulk don’t deliver a personal touch or give a tailored approach. Most are out-of-date as soon as the ink has dried, take up storage or in some cases are years old. Beyond these considerations, there is a big internal change within the school, often hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds-worth of print have to be thrown away.

      The answer is to produce a bespoke prospectus every time using Unify. This can be tailored to the pupil and personalised to give that all-important first impression. If you are finding this hard to imagine, think about cutting up your existing prospectus into single pages, then organising them into sections, such as introduction to the school, nursery, prep, senior, sixth form. Then think of other useful information, such as travel arrangements, boarding, food, after-school activities, pastoral care etc. Then start thinking outside the box – what else would you add if you could? Head boy or girl introduction, introductions for each year of entry, a day in the life at the school per year of entry? The opportunities are endless.

      Once you know who you are sending it out to, you can build any combination of pages of a prospectus from a store of different types of content. You will soon develop an amazing library of pages to choose from. The cherry on top is the personalisation aspect: having the pupil’s name on the cover or within the prospectus itself. You can even choose different cover images or images on specific pages to reflect pupils’ individual interests.

      Creative marketing

      One school that has used this approach was changing to co-ed from an all-girls school. They liked the idea of the option to change the images to be 80% girls or 80% boys with the click of a button, helping them with their transition period. Another school that has just changed its uniforms found that it could change all its photography without wasting a single printed copy.

      The speed and ease of sending out a tailored personalised prospectus is the key to a busy admissions office. Once Unify is set up, it takes just minutes to create and send a copy out. With print runs available every day, your prospectus can be delivered the next working day to really impress a new family.

      There is also a PDF page-turn function that can be emailed out if a digital copy is required, also saving on printing costs. This is clearly an advantage for international agents who can create and send digital copies via the same system. This can also be linked up to a contact form on a website that automatically creates and sends a personalised prospectus.

      Eco-friendly

      A final bonus is that everything is printed on FSC-credited paper, making sure Unify’s environmental impact is sustainable, and we also plant trees to help restore the Caledonian Forest with Trees for Life by planting a tree or grove in the Scottish highlands for each school that joins us.

      If you are about to reprint your prospectus, or are thinking of updating it, then now is the perfect time to contact us and find out how we can help you be more personal with your marketing.

      Contact us today for more advice and to find out how we can help your school 01279 732436