University student recruitment is in the toilet – where’s your website?

I was talking about the process of student recruitment in universities yesterday, and this was one of my slides:

IT in the Toilet - where are your future students surfing your website from?

It’s a small bit of data from the “IT in the Toilet” survey from the US, and the point is that 4 out of 10 people from Gen Y (ie your next customer) has used a phone in the toilet to surf the web. The context for university student recruitment is that prospective students could literally be anywhere, at any time, when they are making the choice of their next education institution.

In the future, student recruitment marketing and methodology has to be a lot more agile, to respond to changes in the way that prospective students are interacting with institutions in making their choices. As I work with universities that are re-designing their systems and processes to reflect the changing student recruitment landscape there are recurring themes. One big theme that keeps coming out is agility, to respond to the constant changes in the recruitment landscape and the prospective student mindset.

What is often overlooked in institutions (not just in universities, but across any large institution) is the web content that’s published on your own website. What I’ve found is that the recruitment team generally ‘own’ a part of the site, and optimise that part for the recruitment cycle.

But what happens if the prospective student ends up somewhere else on your site? What experience will they have? I’ve just finished reading ‘Why Higher Ed Sucks at Content Strategy’ on the .eduGuru blog, and it’s a comprehensive article that just might help you influence your colleagues’ thinking. For example:

  I’ve talked to more than one DI level school that has, and I kid you not, millions of web pages. Millions. Millions. Think about that for a second. If you checked 100 pages a day, every day for a year, you wouldn’t even manage to check the quality of 50,000 pages. If you had only one million pages, that wouldn’t even cover 5% of your site. One of the first steps in starting a content strategy is a content audit. How much of your site are you prepared to commit to that when you’re so huge? Yes, a lot of that is automatically generated or archival. Yes, not all of it is meant for normal human consumption. Yet the fact remains that when a problem is so big and you can’t even pinpoint where to start, many will choose to do nothing. Since many university sites lack any comprehensive business or marketing strategy when it comes to the creation and maintenance of content, literally every piece of information gets put out there, and it’s put out there by hoards of individuals that are ultimately not qualified to edit web sites. So we grow. And grow. And grow.  

Learn MoreRead the full .eduGuru article on content management on university websites