Back to School: Tips for an Effective Higher Ed Website
Lesson 2: Show, Don't Tell
We're teaming up with digital marketing agency, Boston Interactive for a three-part blog series to help get your higher ed website in shape for the new school year. This series of posts will cover the importance of social integration, prominent calls to action, and faculty showcasing to provide you with insight and inspiration to improve the effectiveness of your .edu site.
There isn't a marketer in higher education that hasn't been told "show, don't tell." Despite the repetition of this lesson, however, the question of how to accomplish such still remains. How do you bring to life the true essence of the educational experience you provide?
Consider showing your story through one of you biggest assets—your faculty. Faculty embody academic experience, industry expertise, and thought leadership that not only boost your institution’s reputation, but attract prospective students. Yet, many college and university websites today don’t take the opportunity to truly showcase their faculty members, instead resorting to a directory listing of resume-like biographies that are often out of date.
Prospective and current students want to know who they will be learning from. Are they experts in their field? What research are they involved in? Are they thought leaders in their field? Answering these questions for your student audiences can help propel them forward in their decision-making process and encourage them to make stronger, lasting connections with their professors.
Enable faculty to build their personal brand within your .edu site by showcasing the work that they do both in and out of the classroom. Give them a forum to communicate the value they bring to your students' education and the impact that they are making in today’s world, no matter how big or small. Doing so will provide other key audiences including alumni and corporate donors a window into your institution’s academic strength and research involvement.
Let the uniqueness of your institution shine through your faculty’s online presence. Create flexible sub-sites for each faculty member that include relevant, compelling information that differentiates them, the education they provide, and the research they conduct, from others.
And don't forget to make it social! Let LinkedIn be the place for your faculty's professional biographies and aggregate other social activity, such as a blog, into the individual member's sub-site so that you present a dynamic, up-to-date and cohesive story.