How can print keep the attention of a group of people who never knew life without smart phones, texting, and social media?
Let’s be honest. Appealing to this Generation Z requires more time and effort than any generation before. You need multiple mediums through which to reach them, and you have to be active on all your online channels. Time is of the essence to these young adults. If they reach out to you, you best reply within 12 hours. You have to be posting regularly to keep their attention, and you need to give them a reason to interact with you. So does such a mobile-hungry population even respond to viewbooks, or are these marketing efforts to be left by the wayside amidst the tumbleweeds and rotary phones?
It turns out print is still a medium that works, even for a generation whose bookshelf is primarily digital. However, catering to Gen Z requires a different strategy than generations past, even the tech-savvy Millennials. Here are some factors to consider when creating your viewbook.
They are extremely visual. When a student opens your viewbook, it should feel like a hand reaches out and pulls them in like an A-ha video. (Sadly, a reference no Gen Z-er will get.) Gen Z uses imagery to share more emotions, humor, opinions, and information. They relate to memes. They absorb infographics. They can’t stare at page full of text interrupted by a mere image and text box quote. Your viewbook needs to take them on a visual journey that makes the prospective student feel like he or she wants to be there.
Content must be quality and short. This generation is used to quickly identifying what information is relevant, and what is useless. Many platforms they use to share information limits their character count, so they are experts at condensing their thoughts. Again, images (and video) convey a lot of words in a small package, so utilize those when necessary. Omit any superfluous text. Let your images and social media fill in the rest.
Utilize all the right social media. By now you (hopefully) know that these students are not on Facebook. For all the work it takes to maintain these social pages, it is a complete waste of time to use a platform your students don’t follow. This generation uses a lot of social media, so it is essential to engage them in multiple places. As for the viewbook, make it as easy as possible to connect to your profiles from here. QR codes are probably most convenient. Apps are phenomenal ways to connect to prospects.
Your current students are your best marketers. Gen Z doesn’t want to hear you talk about how great you are. Gen Z wants to see how great you are through your actions and through other student experiences. Testimonials are one thing, but a smarter approach is to have students blog or contribute stories to your viewbook, newsletter, and social media channels. Let the students talk about the things that aren’t sunshine and unicorns. College life can be lonely, and it is always challenging. Incoming students want to know they are not alone in their fears, and that they can find support.
Ultimately, your viewbook should go hand-in-hand with your online marketing efforts. It should have content that is compelling enough to stand alone, but also make it very easy to cross the digital threshold. You’re not just drawing students to your school with your viewbook; you’re drawing them to your brand.
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