In a time when the vast majority of incoming freshmen are in the “Gen Z” age range, colleges are faced with an interesting challenge: to capture the attention of the first generation that has never seen a world without the Internet.
So how do you stand out to a generation that relies almost exclusively on digital information? Oddly enough, it has a lot to do with paper.
Direct mail has been around since the advent of written language. To Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and older millennials, it’s often associated with bills and junk mail. In the last couple decades, there has been a general trend away from printed mail as a primary vehicle for marketing efforts because of these types of negative experiences and the rise of digital communication.
However, Gen Zers don’t have the same associations with printed mail, and that provides some interesting opportunities. Here’s why direct mail is an effective strategy for boosting college applicants:
It makes students feel special.
Gen Zers aren’t used to getting physical mail. Their whole lives, they’ve been bombarded by all manner of digital junk mail, but they haven’t typically received much mail addressed to them personally. Which brings us to the next point…
Direct mail can be highly personalized.
These mail campaigns don’t have to be one-size-fits-all. We can change names, photos, and even the tone of the message based on demographics like location, age, and so much more. These types of personalization keep direct mail pieces out of the recycling bin and on prospective students’ desks.
Mail can be digital.
We’re not talking about email here. To complement a direct mail campaign, we can create an accompanying digital experience using Personalized URLs (PURLs) to create multiple channels for students to get in contact. Their PURL can look something like yourschool.edu/JaneDoe. This sort of personalization improves engagement, encourages communication, and allows you to gather more data on how students are interacting with your marketing campaigns.
Want to see a direct mail campaign in action? Check out this case study.