Is the College Viewbook Dead?
I read an article in the Chronicle last week entitled, “For Courting Students, Glossy Viewbooks Lose Luster.” There is a lot of wisdom in this statement as many progressive enrollment professionals have thought and said the same thing.
The college viewbook has needed an overhaul for years, but I’m not convinced that it needs be scrapped all together – just tweaked. Department heads and other administrators always want their program(s) to be featured, or at least mentioned, in the viewbook. This situation has created some monstrous publications that are expensive to create, print and mail. There is a better way.
The viewbook can be scaled back to the bare bones. An institution can use the money devoted to the former publication in a much more economical and efficient manner. By creating a small general viewbook, targeted publications based on program interest, and companion email messages; an institution can spread out its message. If the enrollment office goes through the whole budget on one publication, there is only one shot to impress the potential student. If the message is spread out over several months with more economical pieces, there is a better chance to cut through the clutter of competing schools. Repetition will breed familiarity and familiarity will lead to…viola’…. more applications.
Don’t forget the electronic component when designing your strategy! It costs very little to publish content on the school website and the mailing cost is removed. Use the tools you already have in place to further your message.