How Are You Using Your Campus Map on Your Website?
It’s one thing to have a great map illustration of your campus or a compelling interactive tour, but you still have to ask yourself “how are we leveraging this tool?” Is it a recruitment tool, is it helping a development fundraising campaign, or is your visitor center is using it to help people get around campus? Actually, maybe the answer is it should be doing all these things!
Recruitment Marketing and Calls to Action
We have written a lot about how important an interactive map done right can be to your recruitment efforts. If you are interested in going deeper on the subject a few of those articles well worth your time are:
- 5 Ways to Use Your Interactive Map for Recruitment Season
- 5 Ways a Virtual Tour Must Tie Into Your Recruitment Process
Really the most important lesson from either of these articles is you need to make sure people can take a next step from your interactive map. If you want a prospective student to view your map then make sure that it is linked prominently from parts of your website where prospective students would visit like your admission pages. Make sure you have banners and buttons to draw their attention to the page but that you also have call to action banners and buttons on the page to get them to take the next step after viewing the tour. If you want a student to ultimately schedule a visit to campus, request information or ultimately apply then make sure they can take these next steps on your interactive tour page. Make it instantly obvious and the likelihood of them doing it will go up.
Development Campaign and Updating Alumni
Almost every school that we talk to is going through some sort of building campaign. It seems like everyone has some part of campus where new construction is going on or existing buildings are being renovated. All of this building costs lots of money, and most schools pay for it through something like a building development campaign for fundraising.
One of the largest sources of this fund is alumni. Having alumni spread all over the place means many of them haven’t been to campus in years or maybe even decades. There is no better way to show this than through an interactive map. Not only will the alumni be able to see what is going on, but they can also see all the other areas of campus that have probably changed. This pulls on a strong nostalgia string and is a great way to help them relive that attachment to the past and want to financially be a part of the future.
As we mentioned earlier related to recruitment, make sure that your campaign pages or website drive traffic to the interactive map, but also make sure your map page has offers for people to take next steps like “donate now.”
Other Audiences Still Matter
Future and past students are the two most important segments of a school’s audience, but they aren’t everyone. Current students might not even know all the areas of campus, and don’t forget every new student has to figure out their way around that first time. Maybe there is a special event on campus like a speaker or major sporting event that pulls in a completely different audience, and those people need to find their way around campus. Having that beautifully compelling informational and marketing tool in place provides these individuals with the information they need but also makes them really look at your school in a positive and impressive manner.
Marketing Placement and Requesting Next Steps
We talked about the importance of calls to action earlier, but don’t forget this potentially extends to each audience and the ways you use the map to communicate with them. Also let’s not forget the old saying, “If a tree falls in a forest does anyone hear it?” You can have the greatest interactive map out there, but if it’s buried on your website and people can’t find it then it is like it doesn’t exist. Promotional graphic banner ads, links on prominent pages and even other marketing efforts can help get people looking at your proud website addition.
If you do email marketing maybe having a link to the tour will drive people to your website to engage in ways that other parts of the message might not. The same applies for promoting in social media or even in print pieces like a viewbook. If you’re proud of it then make sure that you share it and include it in marketing efforts so your audiences can enjoy it.
So what is the big takeaway from all of this? Ultimately you have to decide exactly how you want to use your map. The great thing is you don’t have to choose a single path because even if you make the content heavily recruitment purposed it will still be interesting and valuable to all of your other audiences. An important detail is to not pigeon hole yourself into thinking this valuable website feature is single purposed. It can be used by basically everyone who has an interest in your school and specifically those visiting campus, so make sure that they can all find it on sections of your website that they regularly visit.