Category Archives: College Recruitment/Campus Admission Incentives

Best Promotional Ideas For Recruitment at College Fairs

Tips for Choosing the RIght Promotional Products for Your College Fair Event

 best promotional ideas for college fairs
Austin, Texas: Colleges and universities usually exhibit at college fairs to try too woo new students.

 

Most give out promotional products of some kind.

 

Unfortunately most of these promotional products are lame and do not help the college to stand out from others.

 

If you exhibit at college fairs, you will see that the typical promotional products ranges from nothing, to a pencil or pen to a decal.

 

Really!?!?! For a $60,000-$100,000+ four year investment in tuition and additional fees, you are try to excite a student (aka potential client) with something as mundane as a pencil.

 

And, on top of that, what are you doing to entice that student to do a follow up–such as visiting your website to learn more or to set up an interview, fill out a form, etc.?

 

Usually the follow up is non-existent or puts the onus on the student to get back in touch with you.

 

I know 17 and 18 years olds–and they usually are lacking in follow up skills and most need more hand-holding than is usually offered.

 

Choosing the best college fair promotional products should include a 2-part program:

 

Part 1) Have an interesting promotional product that will get the student to talk to the recruiter at the fair.

 

Some of the most popular promotional items for high school seniors include customized music download cards that take the student to your custom landing page, earbuds with your logo, car chargers for smartphones and even nice water bottles with your logo with an card inserted with url’s and pictures.

 

Create excitement!

 

Are you worried that you might excite too many students in a line waiting to talk to you in order to get the promotional swag?!?  You should only be so lucky.

 

Use these promotional items to ask a few pertinent questions–which can help you to determine the student’s interest level–and can help you in determining how much follow up that student should be receiving after the college fair has ended.

 

Part 2) Reward the student for completing a questionnaire on-line after the college fair.

 

If the student takes the initiative and answers a set of questions on a survey you provided them a link to, they should be rewarded with a second tiered level of gift.

 

You can send them one type of gift if the questions take them closer to visiting or attending your college or university — and another type of promotional gift if the questionnaire leads them away from your school.  Either way, a gift was promised–and the goodwill may help to change their minds or to recommend your school to one of their friends or peers.

 

These promotional items should be nicer gifts–anything from imprinted headphones, logo portable speakers, power sticks to charge up cellphones and 10-25 song music download cards.

 

Part 3) Bonus Round: Gift With Campus Visit

 

Upon visiting your school, the amount spent on promotional swag should be increased dramatically–as this shows a great deal of promise and your closing ratio should be much higher with a campus visit.

 

Try to reward the student with some unique promotional item that is not available at your campus bookstore or gift shop. It should be available strictly for campus visit–and can be worded with FUTURE STUDENT or some other designations.

 

Gifts such as laptop power chargers and embroidered computer bag or backpacks make excellent campus visit gifts.

 

You will be pleasantly surprised at the strength of subtle messaging.

 

Try these proven ideas when exhibiting at your next college fairs and watch the return on your time and your investment increase.

 

Happy Recruiting!
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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including year-end Holiday gifts. Since 1981, Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations, to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power chargers and power sticks, imprinted Bluetooth speakers and promotional ear buds, custom printed tablet sleeves,  branded iPhone cases, imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens, promotional USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

What is Wrong With College Recruiting Promotions..and How to Fix It

Is Your School Making These Same Errors in Promoting Your Campus Recruiting Efforts?

How to improve your college recruiting effortsAustin, Texas: In the past four months my son and I have toured five college campuses and met with a few other college recruiters- and the results have been unremarkable.

Unremarkable, as Seth Godin refers to it, in terms of not being worthy of being remarked about.

As the schools we are looking to send my son to will cost between $13,000-$28,000 a year (before room and board, books and other “incidentals”)- for a $52,000-$$112,000 four-year investment, I expect to be dazzled, catered to, romanced and marketed to.

As a marketing professional, I am appalled at how poorly most college recruiting has become.

Sure, my son gets a few emails.

Very few, in fact – and none have asked him to follow up in any meaningful way.  Most seem like standard bulk e-mail spam.

No emails that have asked him to answer a few short questions to see how they can answer his questions or concerns.

No phone calls.

Lots of postcards and flyers.  Junk mail, basically.

No flyers, brochures or mail from the particular field of study that he wants to major in–just from the colleges themselves.  Too generic and not helpful in him choosing one over another.

Where is the personalization?

I’m a big proponent in immersing someone in a brand– so they see it in their car, in their room, at home, at play, etc.

All we received was a branded T-shirt, a decal and a pencil with the school logo and colors.

Where is the digital interaction?

Where is the email or postcard saying, fill this short form out and receive a music download card for 10 free songs?

Where is the free laptop or iPad skins that they can download with the school logo and colors?  That will get his classmates talking.

At the end of one campus tour my son received a T-shirt.  Big deal.  They should have told the students to put on the T-shirt and led them to the student union to get a free lunch or snack– as a way of getting them more involved in the campus experience.

The tours are generic.  I have trouble separating one campus tour from another sometimes.

College recruiters should not be afraid to ask questions of the students in return for moving them forward or steering them elsewhere.

All prospective students are not alike.

Find out their interest level, financial situation, class rank up-front and get those more inclined to your college on a different follow up path.

Don’t ignore the others but pay special attention to those that are more likely to put your college in their Top 3 list.

Trade data for merchandise.  Fill out this form and get free logo merchandise.

And, most importantly, do something with this data.

Email the interested students.

Call them on their phone.

Meet with them at their convenience.

Get to know them.

Going to college is a four-year commitment that will cost a great deal of money and help shape a student’s life.

Don’t leave your college recruiting to bulk mail and junk mail.

Make your college recruiting efforts remarkable.

Your college deserves it.  And so do the students.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

New Study Shows Importance of Digital Rewards

Are you utilizing digital rewards in your incentive programs?Have You Considered Digital Rewards or Downloadable Incentives Yet?

Austin, Texas: Digital rewards are to marketing and sales what S&H Green Stamps were in the 60s and 70s.

A new study was just released showing that over 75% of Americans under the age of 43 use smartphones.

When you factor in tablet computers, e-book readers and other devices, the market penetration is even higher.

Yet, when I see marketing campaigns, promotional trade show items and other premiums, companies are still focused on non-digital rewards–which can be a huge mistake.

I went to a college recruiting trip at a major university with my son last week- and he was handed some great promotional swag– T-shirts, bumper stickers and a sports bottle. So far, so good.  These are the type of items any high school student would use and it helps to promote the school and give the student a sense of belonging and pride in the university.

But he was also given several styles of cheap pens and a ton of printed material.  Well, not a ton — but over 9 ounces of papers that are still lying in my trunk.

Don’t you think a cool custom USB flash drive in the shape of the mascot with the materials pre-loaded would have been more effective and useful?

Same goes for premiums and promotional items.

Instead of pens, coozies and other me-too promo swag, wouldn’t a prepaid music-download card or prepaid free pizza card or a plant-a-tree card been more memorable for many campaigns?

If you are running a wellness campaign, do you think a free squeezie stress reliever is as effective as a free prepaid downloadable exercise and fitness video?

Your customers’ method of communication is rapidly changing.

The way they watch, read and communicate is completely different than it was even a decade ago.

Don’t keep rewarding them with the same old, tried-and-true rewards.

Look into digital rewards for a change.

These can be viewed on tablets, on smartphones and on computers — and can even take recipients to custom landing pages, so you can gather some useful followup data.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Easy Fixes for Poor Campus Admission Letters

tips to get better results from colleeg admission drives and lettersAustin, Texas:  My son, who is starting his senior year in high school just tossed out a stack of over 80 campus admission form letters last night– each trying to entice him to consider going to their college. They were all unopened.

I asked his buddies if hey have opened all of their letters from school administrators and admission officers, and most have done the same thing — tossed the unopened letters in the trash.

When I was a high school senior in 1981, I received many campus recruiting letters and actually read many of them.

But why are colleges still recruiting is it were 1981?

I opened a few of the letters form the trash — and most were bar coded, auto sorted form letters — in 11-point font– some over 7 full paragraphs long.  You have got to be kidding!

I received two letters by DHL courier from the same school- one addressed to FNAME, LNAME and the other to LNAME, FNAME telling us that we were specially selected – that is why the letter came by DHL.  Really? They carefully selected my son, FNAME LNAME!?!? I am so proud of my little FNAME!

The best way to reach high school seniors would be a bold postcard – with the school emblem, a large url code and the words- Learn About Our Campus and Download 5 Free Tunes of Your Choice.

That’s it.

Let them go online, give you some pertinent information like their email address in exchange for a link to download their free tunes – and let them learn about your college at their leisure.

If they LIKE you on Facebook –give them additional song tracks.

It is that simple.

High school students will not sit and read dozens of letters from the Dean of Admissions from unsolicited universities and colleges. They will go to a website in exchange for free music downloads or free pizza or free movie tickets — and explore your campus online.

It is time you move your campus recruiting and college admission drives to the modern era and reach students the way they want to be reached–which is digitally.

A 2011 Nielsen poll showed that the average  17 year old texts over 3700 times per month.

Why are you still trying to reach students with boring form letters?

Isn’t it time you tried something else to avoid the recycle bin?

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

6 Steps for Better High School Campus Recruiting Programs

6 ideas to achieve better high school campus recruitment resultsAustin, Texas: We work with a number of universities and colleges to help them improve their college recruitment efforts, so I spend a great deal of time doing market research in this field.

Now, as my youngest child begins to explore his college options for himself, I see firsthand what is lacking the most in most campus recruitment programs: follow up and follow through.

A college selection is one of the most important decisions a student can make.  Not only are the financial costs incredibly high, but the decision may take the student out of town (or out of state) and it will have a tremendous influence on their future career plans, career options and career possibilities.

Choosing the right college is not a simple decision, both for the student and their parents. How can this decision be made in a three-minute presentation by a campus recruiter or at  college fair?

Too many recruiters are just going through the motions when it comes to these college fairs.  My son filled out twelve postcards for colleges that he was interested in last month at a college fair, and to date, we have received a total of one e-mail from just one college since then. And it was a generic email at that.

Where is the follow up?

No, a ballpoint pen or a window decal is not enough to sway any college student to make a $100,000 college decision.

College recruitment needs to be a multi-pronged approach.

1) First gather email address, phone number and find out what major the student is most interested in pursuing.

2) Offer an incenitve to visit–either online or in person.  We have done a large number of digital rewards for students, especially free music download cards or i-Skins for their phones or colleges in return for visiting a particular website.

3) Load them up with swag. That’s right, let them wear your school colors, with team caps, travel mugs, water bottles, T-shirts, lip balm, bumper decals, etc.  Welcome them with these items, either when they make a campus visit, or in a staggered approach, with one piece sent at a time, once they complete more information, go further in the interview process, etc.  I guarantee that the the investment in college promotional items that are worn (not thrown in a drawer) will yield a great deal of ROI,while getting the school mascot and logo advertised around high schools for a very low price.

4) Build school pride.  This goes along with the school swag mentioned above, but include facts about school rankings and why your college might be the best option for he student.

5) Send them email newsletters of interest to the particular student, not just generalized and generic emails.

6) Have alumni call the student to answer any questions or see what type of reservations the student may have.

Remember, most of these steps cannot be achieved if you do not constantly seek and gather information from the student. Don’t be afraid of asking questions.  It is a sales process, after all.

Find their interest level.  Know what they are thinking of majoring in.  Inquire about their funding and scholarship needs. See what other schools they are seriously considering and why.

Constantly strive to gaher pertinent information and share solutions with the student. If they are not a good match, then have a planned strategy for that, or at least for just keeping in some contact with the student.

If they are a good match, then continue the dialog until a college decision choice has been made.

Have a set formula for followups. Rank the students based on their likelihood of pursuing your college or not.

If you feel that your college is the best choice for a particular student, then Influence, Reach and Motivate.

Stay in touch.

High school students have a number of issues on their mind, and college is just one of them.

Don’t expect that these 17 or 18-year old students are great at follow up.

If your strategy is that the student will follow up with you if they are interested, then you are wasting your time.  Do you know how hard it is to get a high school student to send a thank you note to a relative for a birthday gift?  It’s not much different for college applications.

Make it easy for the student to participate.  

Offer them incentives, like I had mentioned, with music downloads, free movie tickets, free pizza and other items that a student will want to receive-all which can be delivered to the students as digital rewards through their email account.  If you do not think it is worth $5 to you for a student to register online at your site and answer a few questions, then you are not serious about your campus recruiting.

If you do, then you will be light years ahead of your competition.

Happy Recruiting!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Tips for Better Recruiting at College Fairs

promotional items for college fairs and campus recruitingIt’s a Young Person’s World-Give Them What They Want

I have visited over a dozen campus recruiting events for my children–and I find it funny how a $80,00-$120,000 four-year investment still merits an imprinted ballpoint pen.

At the last one I visited with my daughter, I was given seven pens, two decals, a mini calendar and a plastic mini 6-inch football. What a catch!

Come on! Is a plastic pen with a college logo on it really going to make anyone think twice about the university?

Is that free gift really going to set your university/college/technical school out from the crowd?

Does the gift make your college website worth a visit?

Will it encourage a call to the admission’s counselor?

Will the gift get you the required information from the student–or get him the information he/she needs?

Really!?!?

A successful college recruitment program should capture a potential applicant’s attention — and bring them closer to a decision.

There are many questions going through the mind of these applicants–and a short two minute conversation at a college fair will not answer all of them.

Also, spending too much with one person may let better qualified suitors pass by. Many of the booths are manned by a single person, where they must juggle multiple people at one time.

So what can you do?

best gifts for college fairs and campus recruiting

Branded Music Download Cards Are One Of The Top Gifts For Campus Recruiting or College Fairs

This is not an immediate give-and-go.  A college choice is not usually a spur of the moment decision.

Both the students and the parents are gathering facts, and the more information you can gather about their individual needs, the better you can help them in making their choice.

In this example, Northwestern decided to offer every visitor to their booth a Digital Reward Card redeemable for one FREE Ringtone.

When students accessed the site printed on the back of the card to redeem their Ringtone, they were asked to provide some information related to their future education and career interests. The university was able to gain future contacts while also promoting the educational opportunities their school provided. This information was then passed on to the correct person for follow up. It’s that simple…and you can click on the link for more information on the campus recruiting incentive program.

We have done many other digital rewards and incentives with both colleges and the military, including Free iPhone skins, free movie tickets, free branded “free return & reward service” for lost luggage and laptops, free pizza and even 30 minutes of free personal assistant.

The gift could only be redeemed after the student answered the questionnaire. These are the type of gifts that students are interested in..and will be glad to trade personal information to receive–as they have value to them.

For $1-$5 per branded card, the opportunity to get qualified people to visit your website and leave personal information is much more valuable than a ballpoint pen.

Be creative.. and recruit those students that are out of the box thinkers. It will be more fruitful to both parties.

Happy recruiting!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.