Universities and Student Unions – yes, timing IS everything with Direct Mail
…if not everything, it’s certainly a hugely important factor if you want your campaign to be successful and cost-effective, alongside targeting the right people with the right material.
Ignore lead-in times at your peril. We all know that, in the retail sector, preparing for next Christmas begins almost as soon as the decorations are packed away in the store cupboard in early January. In the world of academia, reaching out to students so that they receive communications at the optimum time is no different and requires careful planning.
Why use direct mail for students?
Students, young people – surely they’ll be far more engaged with digital media or emails? Certainly it’s a fact that they are swamped with electronic communications 24 hours a day. Therein lies the advantage of direct mailing.
It could mean having a well-designed card to hold in your hands, with your name on it, which doesn’t disappear in a flash, deleted with one click of a button, replaced in a minute by the next post on social media. It has a shelf life, it gives a sense of ownership and also has a proven record for generating responses.
Direct mailing can also be used, when a student is enrolled, to send a comprehensive pack about the university or college, with booklets and multiple leaflets.
This sort of interaction must not be dismissed as old school. How much easier it is to make a printed communication reflect the brand and image you’d like to convey. How much more memorable than an email. That’s not to say that it’s an either/or decision – either direct or digital – but choosing the right combination of the two to best reach your target audience.
As an educational establishment, how can you use direct mail?
The possibilities are many:
- Introduce the place of learning to prospective students
- Inspire curiosity and a desire for more information
- Send out a full prospectus to those who have expressed an interest
- Invite people to open days and campus tours
- Build your brand and keep your name at the forefront of people’s minds
- Making sure new students know where to go and what’s on for Freshers’ week
It’s a meaningful and powerful way to interact. And of course, it can also be used to keep in contact with past students, for notification of events and to build networks for fundraising.
And what about timing for universities?
Student mailings have to be timed carefully as there is only a small window between receiving the data in August from UCAS, it going through clearing and then getting material sent out before the student is due to leave home for university in September.
There are other elements which must be factored in which will also have a bearing on your mailing. How much time is needed between you submitting your order to allow companies like Mailing Expert to design, print and distribute? Not to mention stock deliveries from sponsors which may be required for inclusion.
Most student mailings are planned roughly 4-6 months in advance, but some information is not confirmed until a week before, so all of us really need to be on our toes, even if it is the middle of the summer when holidays are on our minds.
Success is the result of a solid process underpinning every mailing. We are called Mailing Expert for a very good reason. If you have academic mailing to carry out, please call us.