Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pimping Your Campus

Yesterday, I asked our provost how budget cuts would affect recruitment and recruitment strategies (see this post).

As Provosts are wont, she gave a very long and detailed answer that appeared to be mostly in a foreign language. However, I did catch a few key phrases.

One thing in particular stuck with me. She said that they've done research that shows that we have much higher conversion rates (is that the term you recruitment folks use?) if they can just get the people to visit the campus. She said that a lot of people come, see the campus and want to immediately enroll.

And it's true. Chico state has a beautiful campus located at the edge of a lively small town downtown area. Chico, our Provost said, is seen as an appealing destination, particularly once people see it.

That made me think that that is one the main messages our Web site should be communicating. At every turn, it should be saying, "This is a beautiful place. This is a great place to live."

bottom line: we need to pimp our campus (as in more effectively advertise it's beauty and desirability).

As you may know, in my other life, I'm a professional photographer, and I enjoy shooting our campus. A while back I was playing with an idea for a small photo book showcasing the campus as a beautiful natural environment through the seasons. I uploaded a mock up to the Web... and pretty much left it there.

As it is, I don't think this is much of a tool for promoting our campus, but I do think that it could be turned into something that could be very effective in at least communicating to people that this is a special, beautiful place, and you should come visit.

I'd be happy to hear your impressions and thoughts.

Y'all come visit, y'hear!


drew said...

those are lovely images. You're quite the photographer

jeremywilburn said...

We have a similar effect on my campus as well. Once people get here, they like it. I like the flip book idea. I had to learn it for our Electronic Viewbok. I'm curious, what does your admissions lobby look like?

Tony Dunn said...


The only thing I don't like about the electronic viewbook is the zoom view. It's awkward to use, and makes me feel like an geezer with a magnifying glass.

I don't feel that it's an effective way to present textual information. The viewbook could have easily been converted to HTML with images.

Did you ever do any usability testing or even focus groups on the electronic viewbook?

As to our "admissions lobby", I'm not even sure we have one. Admissions kind of lives in their own world, and they don't talk much to us.

paige said...

Hi Tony,

I can relate in many ways to the sentiments you express in several of your blogs. Regarding this post on the viewbook, I think the concept (showing photographs) is great. I wonder a bit, too, about the technology. Here's where my comments may seem like those of your "characters" (I don't remember what you call them).

Would Adobe (PDF) have been able to accomplish both the image and text components? Somehow I've been getting links to Adobe Magazine (quite nice, I think). If you'd like a link, let me know and I'll post it for you and your readers. I work with content; however, you're right -- images draw one to the content (and perhaps your campus).

Many thanks for all your blogs and posting.